STAMFORD, Conn., May 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In scholarly publishing there are mega deals that impact the competitive landscape—like last year's pair up of Springer Science+Business Media and Nature Publishing Group—and then there are smaller deals that portray the underlying shifts that are changing the industry.
Elsevier's (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) acquisition May 17 of Social Science Research Network (Rochester, N.Y.) fits squarely into the latter type. The industry's leading publisher and target of criticism for its pay wall business model has bought itself a startup that facilitates free posting and sharing of research materials such as conference papers, preprints, non-peer-reviewed papers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Elsevier is hedging its bet," said Dan Strempel, senior analyst at Simba Information's business and professional group. "Elsevier is saying, 'What if closed access content is not the future? What if owning this vast trove of copyrighted material will not insulate us when open access Armageddon comes to pass?'"
Elsevier first waded into the freemium world when it purchased Mendeley, an open source researcher workflow tool that helps researchers organize, discover and share their research, in April 2013. The current plan is to merge SSRN with Mendeley.
So why hone in on these networks built around free sharing? This is after all the company that regularly sends its lawyers after websites that post its journal articles without permission. Well, SSRN has more than 2 million members and 671,000 paper abstracts from over 300,000 authors. At its heart, SSRN is a network of people who represent Elsevier's target audience. Mendeley has more than 5 million registered users, with 817 million full-text articles in its libraries.
Gregory J. Gordon, president and CEO of SSRN, blogged that SSRN will benefit from access to Scopus citation data and an ability to link working papers to their published versions with direct forwarding links. "We'll also have access to Elsevier's broader collection of metrics and data analytics, which we can share with SSRN authors, readers and users," said Gordon.
In turn, Elsevier will benefit from users finding its content.
Simba Information is widely recognized as the leading authority for market intelligence in the media and publishing industry. Simba Information provides market sizing, forecasts and trend analysis in its recently published reports Global Social Science and Humanities Publishing 2016-2020 and Global Legal Publishing 2016-2020. For more information, please visit www.simbainformation.com or call 888-29-SIMBA.
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SOURCE Simba Information