The State of Not-for-Profit Publishing Today – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Today’s piece synthesizes several probes that we have conducted in recent months. The first examined university presses, looking at how they have been navigating current challenges and also how they are looking ahead to a very different future. Subsequently, we examined scholarly societies, looking across an array of fields not only at their publishing but also membership and meetings. For these probes, we conducted candid interviews with an array of executives. Today’s piece draws from the findings of these projects. …

While our interviews and analysis above cover some of the most important participants in not-for-profit publishing, there are other players as well. For instance, we did not interview international publishers. And we did not look beyond societies and university presses. One example is Annual Reviews, which has been a leader in the subscribe-to-open movement. Another is the open access publisher PLOS, which recently announced a new business model based on institutional memberships for several of its journals. A third is eLife. Several of our interviewees pointed out with some wistfulness that not-for-profit startups such as eLife do not have very much legacy business and therefore can innovate more quickly. Perhaps also because these organizations have simpler governance models than many STEM societies, they have been better positioned for community-based experimentation. In addition, given the movement of major commercial publishers into the repository and workflow spaces, it would not be unreasonable to consider not-for-profit organizations like Lyrasis and the Center for Open Science under this heading, at least in some components of their work.”