Open Access Strategies

Renew Consultants have been working with societies for many years helping them to develop their OA strategies. We can offer a range of options from supporting first tentative steps to becoming hybrid publishers, to developing innovative subscription/APC packages, right through to launching ambitious new OAjournals.

We work with our clients to understand the landscape of their subject area, subscription patterns, business requirements, organizational objectives, and the needs of their authors and readers, to help them map out or refresh an OA strategy that works for them.

Recent projects have seen us working with several societies which have asked us specifically to help them understand the impact Plan S and offsetting deals could have on their publishing programme in the short term, while also helping them to develop their longer-term strategy by thinking through new ideas and modelling potential options for an all-OA future.

We can offer advice and support on thinking through the issues, from engaging in creative and problem solving, through to resolving practical challenges such as how to take payments and manage member-based APC discounts.

Journals Tenders

We help not-for-profit organizations seeking to tender their journals publishing programme. Our comprehensive service includes:

  • Defining key publishing goals from which a comprehensive RfP (request for proposal) can be created
  • Researching and establishing a list of potential publishing partners
  • Managing the complete tender process including liaison with society officers, editors, staff and publishers
  • Helping to ascertain priorities, scoring proposals and advising on final shortlist
  • Financial analysis of proposals
  • Overseeing publisher presentations
  • Negotiating contractual arrangements

In consultation with all of the key stakeholders, we can manage the tender process from start to finish, including publisher communications, attendance at meetings, final selection and contract negotiation.

Ideally, you should start this process 18 months prior to the contract renewal, subject to limitations on transfer of your existing agreement. We are happy to review your current arrangements with you as a first step. Alternatively, we can provide support throughout the full contract renewal process, ensuring that you get the best value for money and maximum return from your publishing agreement.

Contract Reviews and Contract Renewals

We offer a full contract review service to help you to assess your current journals publishing arrangements. We will liaise with staff and trustees to produce an assessment of the current situation, and use this to renegotiate your contract. Our services cover a range of issues, including:

  • Independent review of current agreements
  • Performance against current contract and industry norms
  • Renegotiation of contracts

Our expert advice is often particularly valuable at contract renewal time and we can include a full assessment of any proposal put forward by your current publisher; what might be expected if you were to retender your journals business; as well as guidance on the more intangible benefits which are key elements of any renegotiation.

High-level Strategy Reviews

Working with us can help define and articulate – or just refresh – a high-level organisational strategy.  The scholarly communications industry is subject to rapid change and a solid strategic vision can help keep societies steady in the years ahead.

We help our clients think about the problems they are trying to solve for the community they serve, and assist them in reevaluating their goals alongside a longer-term strategy. We have extensive experience in this area and see this as one of our core strengths. We have successfully helped many publishers and societies in the UK, Europe and the United States to evaluate and redefine their high-level strategies. Our strategic reviews can include:

  • Financial analysis
  • Business model considerations including Open Access publishing
  • Sales and marketing
  • Community engagement
  • Scenario modelling
  • Editorial Board function and interaction with Society governance structure

Business Scenario Modelling

Sometimes our clients do not need an organisation-wide review, but they do need help in assessing the impact of following a certain path.

We can assist by working through a series of scenarios which include financial impact, and the risks and benefits of each scenario, which allow our clients to assess the fit of each scenario for their organisation. To build these scenarios, we use information provided by our clients alongside our own knowledge of the market. The scenarios will include assumptions and give likely indicators of outcomes. Scenario modelling is a very versatile tool as it provides decision makers with succinct information. Such modelling is also helpful for presenting options to boards and governing bodies.

Specialist Competitor Analysis and Market Research

We frequently undertake competitor analyses and market research for our clients, particularly to explore how publishers and societies serve their customer groups compared with their competitors. We can benchmark and research how well you serve the following customer groups:

  • Researchers
  • Authors
  • Members
  • Society clients
  • Libraries
  • Funders
  • Editors
  • Students

These studies can help prioritise product development choices, refocus content discoverability work, and help the producers of sales and marketing materials to focus on the key differentiators. As part of these studies we will also look at reputation and customer service satisfaction.

Platform Selection and Migration

Most journal and book publishers review their primary electronic delivery platforms on a regular basis. We have years of experience in helping publishers through this process, avoiding all major pitfalls.

On the face of it, the major platform providers provide very similar services, but behind the scenes their offerings are differentiated in ways that can impact on any projects success. Some providers have a ready-made toolkit from which publishers choose their functionality, while others can build an entirely bespoke platform, but require a high degree of detail to avoid disappointment later. We spend time with our clients working through their requirements in detail to understand and articulate their specific goals and objectives.

We can manage the whole process of RFP generation, vendor selection, and provide implementation support for you, particularly around the common challenges of migration. Alternatively we can provide services in just one or more of those areas.

Discoverability Audit

Renew has a wealth of understanding about how readers discover content, having conducted research in this area since 2004. The key contributing factor influencing usage is the effective optimisation of discoverability of content through all discovery resources – Google, Google Scholar, A&Is (e.g. PubMed Scopus and Web of Science), new discovery products (e.g. Dimensions), and library discovery products (e.g. Summon and Primo). We can help check you have all your discovery channels fully optimised and that your internal processes are working as they should. We will report back any problems that need to be fixed in order to improve your content discoverability.

Product Development Strategies

Our consultants have strong backgrounds in product development, and have worked with clients to explore how to meet the new and changing demands of the market by either amending the products already in existence, or creating new ones, to help clients both protect the business they have, and to expand their offering.

Our approach to these projects is always to consider the broad picture and how to assess how products sit within a business, and we will work with a wide range of stakeholders to help shape the future product and marketing strategies.

Industry Landscape Reviews

The landscape for scholarly communication is changing all the time. While some traditional markets are in decline, other markets are still strongly growing and Open Access is creating both opportunities and threats. Publishers looking to develop new products will want to measure their current offering against the industry landscape and Renew can help with providing a thorough review of the landscape utilising desk research skills and our own knowledge.

Improving Community Engagement

As academic content is increasingly published OA, finding the right authors becomes more important. This means that societies (and publishers) need to find more effective ways of reaching their research communities. We work with our clients to identify how they could improve communication with their communities and work with them to create strategies to help them move towards their goals

Publications Governance

Given the rapid landscape changes in scholarly publishing, good governance is a critical factor in optimising decision making and ensuring the long-term success of your publications program. Our consultants can work with you to help you identify the areas where governance is not optimised and offer suggestions for change. We are especially well versed in the challenges of making publishing decisions within a society, both for societies that outsource their publishing as well as those which retain control of their publishing operations.