Joseph Esposito

I am a management consultant working primarily in the world of digital media, software, and publishing. My clients include both for-profits and not-for-profits. A good deal of my activity concerns research publishing, especially when the matter at issue has to do with the migration to digital services from a print background. Prior to setting up my consulting business, I served as CEO of three companies (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Tribal Voice, and SRI Consulting), all of which I led to successful exits. Typically I work on strategy issues, advising CEOs and Boards of Directors on direction; I also have managed a number of sticky turnarounds. Among other things, I have been the recipient of grants from the Mellon, MacArthur, and Hewlett Foundations, all concerning research into new aspects of publishing.
Joseph Esposito has written 269 posts for The Scholarly Kitchen

Old Media, New Media, Data Media: Evolving Publishing Paradigms

We typically classify publishers as Old Media and New Media, but now we have companies that are part of a new paradigm, the Dat Media company. Such companies sit above both Old and New, studying patterns in usage and in the databases of information aggregated by publishers. Continue reading

How Much Does Publishing Cost?

There have been several recent studies of what it costs to publish academic monographs, but they all mistake the cost of production with the cost of publication. This post summarizes the issues and suggests a very simple way to calculate the cost of publication. Continue reading

Hollywood Takes on Peer Review

This summer’s blockbuster movie “Ghostbusters” is, amazingly, about academic peer review and the quality of scholarly publishing. Is it possible that the specialized world of scholarly communications now has mass appeal? Continue reading

The Future(s) (plural) of Publishing

A presentation to the ISMTE conference. The argument is that strategy is an integral part of business operations and must be used to measure all activity within an organization. A three-step process for strategic planning is included. Continue reading

For Scholarly Communications, Double-dipping is Double the Fun

The much-maligned practice of “double-dipping,” in which a publisher received revenue from both subscriptions and APCs, is likely to remain with us for some time, as publishers learn to turn APCs into larger and more varied revenue streams, even as they create the impression that the APCs offset subscription costs. Continue reading

Textbooks in Academic Libraries: The Publisher’s Case

This post presents a case for why publishers would want to participate in a program to sell textbooks to academic libraries. The plan would include a means for publishers to retain their profitability, albeit on a lower sales volume, by taking advantage of digital technology and by “repairing” some broken elements in the current marketplace, e.g., the market for used and pirated books. Continue reading

Libraries May Have Gotten the Privacy Thing All Wrong

What can academic libraries learn from Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn? The aim of this merger is to collect end-user data from corporate accounts. Libraries are facing a similar situation when publishers develop end-user strategies that compromise the privacy of library patrons. Continue reading

The Publishing Industry is Mature, but Publishing Companies are Not

While it certainly is the case that scholarly publishing is a mature business, some of the companies operating in this industry have found new avenues for growth by expanding beyond the publication of content into data science. This is an opportunity that is only available to the larger companies with enlightened management. Continue reading

Update on a Library Research Project

Preliminary results on a research project on library acquisitions are now in. They suggest some interesting patterns in collection-building; the data from this project will be useful for other researchers. It is hoped that the full roll-out of this project will take place later this year. Continue reading

The Society Publisher at the STM Conference

A special day was set aside at the recent International STM Association conference in Washington to discuss society publishing. One panel included the head of three society publishing operations, all of which are different and all of them successful. The panelists shared their strategies with the audience. The presentations are linked to from within the post. Continue reading

The Open Access Monograph

There are many programs now to create open access monographs, but the business models surrounding these efforts do not appear to be sufficiently robust to make the OA monograph sustainable. The problem is that the monograph is something that many people want, but few are willing to pay for. Continue reading

What the Heck is Amazon up to Now?

Although Amazon is a central player in many areas of publishing and media, it is hard to predict where it will head next. This makes it hard to plan to compete with it. On the other hand, Amazon has some typical ways that it behaves when it enters a market and strategic planners can learn from them. Continue reading

Postscript on Sci-Hub: The University Press Edition

Not only is Sci-Hub pirating STM articles; it also has built a large collection of unauthorized university press monographs. This undermines the argument that Sci-Hub is an activist site fighting against corporate greed, as the university press community typically operates at a deficit. But university presses have many other challenges, and the threat posed by Sci-Hub is not the largest among them. Continue reading

A Multiplicity of University Publishing

There continue to be calls to consolidate all publishing activity in a single organization or unit. The various participants in scholarly communications often are hostile to the very idea of competition. But the evidence is otherwise: a diversity of publishing venues, all operated independently, yield better and more innovative results. Continue reading

To Kill an Argument: Politicizing Comments on the Internet

A recent blog post by ARL that was ostensibly about “To Kill a Mockingbird” was actually a set piece on the term of copyright. This rhetorical strategy of using news simply as a jumping-off point for a political statement undermines the credibility of public discourse, which hurts us all. Continue reading

Winning Strategies for Journal Publishers

Although we in scholarly publishing typically focus on the problems we face, there is a small group of highly successful journal publishers. These publishers fall into three broad categories. To a great extent, these publishers are resistant to challenge. Continue reading

Sci-Hub and the Four Horsemen of the Internet

Sci-Hub sets a reprehensible example, but publishers cannot be content simply to stamp out such services. In order to evolve the industry into the future, publishers have to provide services that make Sci-Hub and its ilk seem old-fashioned and inconvenient to use. Continue reading

The Illicit Love Affair between Open Access and Traditional Publishing

At the recent PSP conference there was a panel on the cost of complying with the many new open access mandates from funding bodies. The panel explored the cost of compliance and how to reduce those costs. The current regulatory regime is complicated and administratively expensive, but the mandates will continue to be promulgated because the people calling for them are not the ones that have to implement them. Continue reading

Revisiting: When Is a Feature a Product, and a Product a Business?

Revisiting Joe Esposito’s post on distinguishing between features, products, and businesses. Not all features can become full-fledged businesses. Sometimes the best business case for a feature is to link it to an established business, where it adds value to assets that are already in place. Continue reading

An Interview with Jeffrey Beall

An interview with librarian and open access skeptic Jeffrey Beall. He discusses his work, the criteria for declaring an organization a “predatory publisher,” and how he would fix the scholarly communications system. Continue reading

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The mission of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is "[t]o advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking." SSP established The Scholarly Kitchen blog in February 2008 to keep SSP members and interested parties aware of new developments in publishing.
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The Scholarly Kitchen is a moderated and independent blog. Opinions on The Scholarly Kitchen are those of the authors. They are not necessarily those held by the Society for Scholarly Publishing nor by their respective employers.