The publisher is committed to financial sustainability. How it achieves it is an open question.
After several high surplus years, a relatively small 2016 deficit will not sink PLOS. However, the trend over the past five years does not look encouraging, and 2017 looks no better.
Annual reports from publishing organizations always have a marketing slant, even when they are required filings with governmental bodies. But some are more marketing-oriented than others, and should not be mistaken for transparency, but rather tend toward rationalization. eLife’s recent report, challenging others to be as transparent, is itself opaque and purposeful.
Article reprints can be a considerable source of income for some medical journals and there is some worry that this source of income presents a conflict of interest for publishers.
Campaign financing, corporations, unions, the Supreme Court, political action committees, large corporate interests, and technology companies with deep pockets and a hunger for data — what more could you ask for?