News: Academic Publishing Weekly

A delay on the Clarivate-ProQuest acquisition, OER's contributions to tenure, and the history of summer reading

By Sabrina Cofer, digital media assistant, Choice
Academic Publishing Weekly: the latest curated news from around the industry. Purple background, white lettering.

Clarivate and ProQuest Pump the Brakes

This week, publisher-library intermediary Clarivate announced a delay in its acquisition of ProQuest, the information and technology provider for libraries. Originally scheduled to close on November 8th of this year, the acquisition date moved to December 31st, 2021—with the “option to further extend the closing date to April 29, 2022.” The Federal Trade Commission’s antitrust review of the $5.3 billion purchase led to the delay due to requests for further materials. Clarivate’s announcement (“Another Acquisition?”) of the acquisition back in May caused quite the stir in the academic publishing and librarianship worlds—I believe the term “corporatized landscape” was thrown around. [Publishers Weekly]

An Alliance for OA Monographs

The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) and the University of Michigan Press (UMP) announced a three-year deal in support of Fund to Mission, UMP’s open access monograph model. The Press hopes Fund to Mission will “convert at least 75% of its front list monographs to open access by the end of 2023, without any author ever having to pay.” UMP aims to build a sustainable model with “stable funding” from the library community, the University of Michigan, and others. Associate Director of Library Initiatives for the BTAA Rob Van Rennes announced, “The Fund to Mission model advances the goals of the Big Ten Academic Alliance by supporting not only open content but open infrastructure.” [Charleston Advisor]

In spite of the media coverage of growth in the audiobook market it turns out that only a very few audio titles really perform well and even then the financial return after the digital retail distributors have taken their cut is disappointingly small. 

Richard Charkin

The Perils of Indie Publishing

Three years after creating (and funding) Mensch Publishing, Richard Charkin looks back and shares his findings on editorial specialization, author contracts, marketing, and whether or not maintaining a small publishing house is worth it. Charkin digs into the frustration of endless email threads, the benefits (and drawbacks) of print-on-demand technology, and the uphill battle of publicity. Though he laments the costs (literally) of managing the finance side of publishing, the unique ability of an independent publisher to promote backlist titles and “[live] in the hope of big commercial success” has its charms. [Publishing Perspectives]

What’s OER’s Role in the Tenure Track?

Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) logo

The narrative around open educational resources (OER) tends to focus on the student; how can it help provide access, lower costs, or improve academic performance? However, Andrew McKinney and Amanda Coolidge highlight faculty’s work in developing OER, arguing that it should contribute to their bid for tenure. They map out how tenure evaluation at first failed to consider the impact of digital resources on higher education, and why evaluators should embrace OER-related materials. Their solution includes a tool created by the Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) collaborative, which “[helps] tenure-track faculty include OER work in their tenure and promotion portfolios.” [Inside Higher Ed]

Why Summer Reading?

Jennifer Harlan looks at the history and phenomenon of summer reading. Why has it become such a staple in our culture, with swarms of listicles covering the best (beach, abroad, bestseller) summer books? Harlan explains that the expansion of the middle class, increased ubiquity of paid vacation time, and growing popularity of the novel combined to make a perfect storm of demand during the hot, sun-filled months. Harlan also charts how the genre and characteristics of summer reading shifted over time, the importance of the mass market paperback, and what summer reading looks like today. Above all, “they entice the reader with the possibility of long sunlit days spent unmoored from everyday restraints and immersed in a literary world, whatever shape it may take.” Allow this to motivate you to tackle that stack of titles on your nightstand. [New York Times]