Monday, June 04, 2012

AGU to outsource journals to commercial publishers??

Does anyone know about the decision by AGU to outsource the publication of its journals to a commercial publisher?  Do any folks actually in America and active in AGUing know what is going on? This is all I know :
(exerpt from AGU spam)
“There continue to be major changes in AGU. For the last few years, publications have been discussed extensively by Council and the transformation of AGU’s publications was identified as a high priority objective in the Strategic Plan. Recently, the AGU board reached a decision to evaluate partnering with a third party publisher for production, sales and marketing aspects of AGU’s publications. This decision followed a third party external review by Rising Tide of AGU’s publications, which involved widespread consultation with Council, editors and the Publications Committee. The decision is based on both scientific and organizational considerations. In order to ensure that the scientific criteria for evaluating potential partners is well developed, the leadership of all sections and focus groups have been invited to share their input and to provide comment on initial criteria as developed by the Board and Publications Committee.”
This decision will herald a new era of progress in AGU publications, as well as bring considerable benefits to AGU in terms of finances and reduction of risk at a time when there are major changes and uncertainties about the future of scientific publishing. AGU will retain ownership of copyrights and content, responsibility for all editorial control and oversight through its journal editors and Publications Committee. The decision also brings many opportunities for innovation. The outsourcing organization will be the platform for production, distribution and marketing, so will only handle the more mechanistic aspects of publication. There will be joint decision-making for journal strategies, including pricing and the business model. AGU and its members will benefit from advanced technologies, worldwide sales and distribution, mitigation of risks in an uncertain publishing environment, reduced capital investments by AGU and improved financial performance of journals through economies of scale.
AGU expects to make a decision on outsourcing and identify the commercial organization in July. Over the next few weeks AGU seeks views of members through Council on the key criteria that should inform the contractual arrangement with an outsourcing organization.


Anonymous said...

that's all anyone knows: a "rationale" document that posits unsupported assertions as truths and which is nearly totally lacking in actual content.

I have serious reservations about a number of things: the complete lack of transparency (how and why is this huge shift being decided in only 3 weeks!!), the impact on quality ( since Elsivier has outsourced it's work the quality of copy-editing is abysmal, and the curious statement that the AGU "is not a publisher". I am asking the paid leadership to explain this poor decision.

Anonymous said...

AGU announced to staff last week that they decided to outsource publishing, although a few staff may be retained. The company they chose has not been announced yet. AGU has jumped on the bandwagon, and this decision will (1) lay off a lot of staff, some who have been at AGU 20+ years, and (2) sacrifice quality for quantity. This is definitely a poor decision made by overpaid leadership.