PubTech Radar Scan: Issue 9

It’s been ages since my last newsletter. I took a break over the May Bank Holiday and then struggled to get going again. Like many others I’m tired. Fairly sure I’ve not had COVID but it could be a mild case of ‘Covid-19 Brain’  😃.

New products & services


  • Surprisingly the merger of CPA Global and Clarivate to “…form a true end-to-end solution that covers the entire innovation and IP lifecycle – from scientific and academic research to IP portfolio management and protection” seems to have passed without much comment.

  • HighWire Press have been sold to MPS. As Clarke & Esposito comment it does feel like the end of an era. The staff seem positive about the sale and it should bring some desperately needed investment. Highwire are well positioned to build a really strong and innovative infrastructure around preprints.

    HighWire’s problems were many but even if their technology offering had been the best the market for platform services is shrinking. A quick browse through the archives of HighWire’s customer list highlights the problem. Over the years many society journals left for greener pastures, but many more ceased being independent publishers. Most [?] of the smaller publishers have been bought by the larger players.  Plan S is going to drive further consolidation as society publishers seek income guarantees that only the biggest commercial publishers can provide.  In ten years time the market for publishing infrastructure services is going to be considerably smaller and likely to be dominated by very large commercial players.  I’m a fan of Amy Webb and I think her comments about the US big tech congressional hearings (badly condensed below) could equally apply to academic research. 

    “America's free market economy facilitates consolidation… And so, we have the G-MAFIA: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, IBM and Apple… The bottom line is that Amazon and Google are now invisible infrastructure powering not just our economy, but our daily lives. We need a more sophisticated approach. ”

    I am not feeling optimistic that this is a battle the open science community will win.


  • The switch from subscription access to OA means new and interesting opportunities, the IOP [I think] are looking for an Article Revenue Product Owner

  • Digital Science is running their first Global Showcase event from 28 Sept to 2 Oct. “We’ll be discussing the biggest challenges facing research and sharing stories about the many ways our digital tools are helping the research community.” Tickets here.

  • The Wellcome are running a virtual conference on Reproducibility, Replicability and Trust in Science in September.

Quick links

Final thought

Just wanted to say a quick thank you to all the people who have contacted me asking when the next newsletter is coming out and checking to see if I’m still alive 😉. It has meant a lot to me and it is lovely to be part of a community that cares ❤️.