Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke is the Managing Partner at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Prior to his working in consulting, he was Executive Vice President for Product and Market Development at Silverchair Information Systems. Additionally, Michael has held positions at the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the University of Chicago Press. He currently serves on the board of directors for Silverchair Information Systems and is a past board member of the Society for Scholarly Publishing and the Council of Science Editors. Michael is a graduate the University of Colorado and the University of Chicago.

Articles by Michael Clarke

Navigating the Big Deal: A Guide for Societies

Shifts in how publishers market and sell journal packages have significant implications for society journal valuations over the long term. These same shifts may also be setting some societies up for publisher “lock-in” — making it difficult to change publishers in the future.

The Scholarly Kitchen Podcast Episode 23: Jeffrey Mervis on the State of Science in the Trump Administration

The change of administrations in the United States was only 6 months ago but seems like much longer. Many things have changed in Washington with regard to science policy and the new administration’s orientation to science. Jeffrey Mervis, senior correspondent at Science magazine, talks with podcast host Michael Clarke about what has changed, what has not changed, and the implications of it all for science.

Working Effectively with Consultants

Why and how do organizations hire consultants? What are some of some the of the traps and limitations to using RFPs? What are some alternatives? Based on a panel discussion at this year’s AAUP meeting, this post explores these and other topics related how to work effectively with consultants.

Revisiting: Peak Subscription

Revisiting Michael Clarke’s 2014 post on the two drivers of growth in STM and scholarly publishing: site licensing and global expansion. As successful as these activities have been, however, we appear to be nearing, if not a peak, at least a plateau. Institutional library budgets have not kept pace with the growth in global research output. At the same time, institutional market penetration is nearing saturation for many publishers.

So the question is, where is the growth going to come from?

Neither Fish Nor Fowl: Journal Publishing and the University Press

University presses are not well positioned to thrive in journal publishing because they have not adopted any of the (relatively few and common) business strategies that are necessary, given market dynamics, for success. I do not put forth this thesis lightly. I have great affection and admiration for university presses, their value — craftsmanship, attention to detail, “getting it right”— and their mission. This is not admiration from afar: I served, in the formative years of my career, at the University of Chicago Press (Chicago), where I learned the tools of the trade and many of the practices and protocols of scholarly publishing still in use today. But after nearly two decades of observing university presses, from within and without, this thesis seems to be inescapable.

The Changing Nature of Scale in STM and Scholarly Publishing

Smaller independent and society publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the economies of scale around production, technology, and (most important) institutional sales that can be brought to bear by a large publisher. If you are a society that has been self-publishing for many decades, such effects may appear as only a recent headwind in a long publishing tradition. This headwind, however, is most likely not a temporary zephyr but rather a permanent fixture of the STM and scholarly publishing landscape, and one that will only increase in intensity. To understand why, it is helpful to look at the two vectors on which scale operates in STM and scholarly publishing: horizontal and vertical. While horizontal scale has long been the province of commercial publishers, society publishers are typically organized to take advantage of vertical scale. The headwinds are presently blowing along the horizontal plane, from the perspective of the society publisher.

Peak Subscription

Since the late 1990s there have been two drivers of growth in STM and scholarly publishing: site licensing and global expansion. As successful as these activities have been, however, we appear to be nearing, if not a peak, at least a plateau. Institutional library budgets have not kept pace with the growth in global research output. At the same time, institutional market penetration is nearing saturation for many publishers.

So the question is, where is the growth going to come from?