Sustainability strategies for nonprofit publishers
"eLife is a new open access initiative supported by three of the world's leading biomedical funding agencies – The Wellcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Max Planck Society. We engaged Raym Crow to provide some initial business analysis and planning perspectives. Working to a tight schedule, Raym provided a thorough and highly insightful analysis, always on time and to the highest standards. One of the most valuable aspects of working with Raym was his critical thinking, which was then transferred into a very clear and comprehensive report. Given the speed with which he gets to the heart of the issues along with the quality of the outputs he produced, I can unreservedly recommend Raym's consultancy services."
Mark Patterson Managing Executive Editor, eLife
"One of CAA’s strategic goals was to bring two scholarly print journals online. We were aware of Raym Crow’s consultancies with other learned societies and his position papers and guides regarding transitioning to online and open access. Over a two-year period CAA engaged Raym to carry out a thorough financial analysis of the costs and revenue of the print journals and the online review journal. This was the first time that CAA had considered all of the elements of the publications program and it was an invaluable process for increasing the staff and board’s understanding all of the resources required. Once we had this baseline information Raym developed possible scenarios for bringing two of the three journals online. After reviewing all of the options CAA decided to seek a co-publisher. Raym assisted in developing the RFP that was sent to a group of non-profit and commercial scholarly presses. Since the criteria had been worked out so clearly in the RFP Raym was able to develop a comprehensive comparison chart for all aspects of publishing. Once the selection was made Raym assisted with the contract negotiations. After this publications project was completed Raym consulted on the restructuring of membership. The goal in restructuring was to offer the online journals to all members, and accommodate part-time faculty and independent artists and art historians with lower membership levels without radically reducing the revenue. Raym was able to develop various scenarios and to indicate the risks associated with each. We have found the Chain Bridge Group to be an invaluable resource."
Linda Downs Executive Director, College Art Association
"When Cornell began exploring sustainability issues associated with arXiv, Raym Crow was the first person who came to mind to add to our small team as an external consultant. We needed an advisor who could add a fresh perspective to our planning activities based on solid experience and knowledge of the key stakeholders. Raym's contributions to the business planning process were instrumental in creating operating and support principles for arXiv. His expertise in crafting financial plans increased our confidence in our business model. He provided an excellent framework for creating bylaws for arXiv's advisory boards. Raym is extremely reliable and responsible. He was consistently sensitive to our timeline and gracefully accommodated our tight schedule. Raym expanded our horizons and encouraged us to look at different options. Another attribute that I appreciated about Raym was his flexibility. Depending on our consultancy needs, he was able to provide detailed input or was comfortable in engaging in a very high-level discussion to help us brainstorm. Raym is well-networked and has years of experience in exploring business aspects of publishing projects. We are grateful for his contributions to the arXiv sustainability initiative. Highly recommended!"
Oya Y. Rieger Associate University Librarian, Digital Scholarship & Preservation Services arXiv Program Director Cornell University Library
"The new Open Researcher and Contributor ID (ORCID) registry has stakeholders from across the research enterprise, including universities, publishers, government agencies, and others. Our business analysis needs were equally complex, especially given our nonprofit status, and critical to establishing the viability of ORCID. Raym Crow was the consultant on a project organized by MIT, Harvard, and Cornell for a business feasibility analysis, and he did an excellent job. He called on his deep and varied experience to develop a financial framework for ORCID that will not only help this effort, but can serve as a model for other initiatives to build the shared infrastructure necessary for digital research and scholarship. His findings have already helped us fund the launch of the service next year. I highly recommend working with Raym for initiatives like ours."
MacKenzie Smith Research Director, MIT Libraries, and ORCID Board member
"Raym Crow was selected as our lead consultant on the Mellon-supported University Press Ebook Consortium, and his performance was outstanding in every way. He pressed the grant managers to explore new alternatives and to consider new models, and provided us with everything detailed in his proposal and always on very aggressive deadlines too. More importantly, he was consistently deeply engaged with the complicated elements and goals of the project, and his research, written reports and supporting documentation, and feedback (sometimes challenging feedback) to the managers of the grant was consistently nothing less than exceptional. Our grant project was successful due in very large part to Raym’s brilliant work throughout the project. I enthusiastically recommend Raym to any academic book publisher."
Steve Maikowski Director NYU Press and co-lead, The University Press Ebook Consortium
"When the contract with our publisher for ten scholarly journals was coming to an end, we turned to Raym Crow of the Chain Bridge Group for expert advice based on referrals from a number of other scholarly societies. Raym first guided us through an analysis of the landscape to determine whether it would be sensible to issue an RFP or try to negotiate a new contract with our current publisher. Our hope was to take the latter path, but we did not want to do that without feeling certain that we could receive competitive terms. Without the contextual data and interpretive insight Raym provided, I don’t think we could have had such certainty. We made an educated decision to renegotiate with our current publisher, and we then engaged Raym’s services to guide us through that process. Raym helped us to identify the topics that should be addressed in the contract, and he provided us with expert advice about the possible implications of different options with respect to each of those topics. He offered detailed financial analysis as well as knowledge about issues that were not directly or immediately financial in nature. The publishing environment had changed quite a bit since our last contract discussions, and Raym provided counsel that allowed us to bring our agreement into alignment with the realities of the current business climate. If you are looking for expert guidance about scholarly publishing, I highly recommend calling Raym Crow. I have absolute confidence that he will be able to provide the analysis and guidance necessary to facilitate good organizational decision-making. He certainly did for us."
Nancy Kidd Executive Director National Communication Association
“AAA hired Raym Crow to help us model some alternative scenarios with our program. It is not a straightforward situation, as our publishing partner is responsible for only certain costs, AAA is responsible for some costs, and we have shared decision-making with a score of components who are responsible for other costs. But Raym produced a very comprehensive picture and offered trenchant analysis about the program, which will help our volunteer leadership make the most informed decisions possible.”
Oona Schmid Director of Publishing American Anthropological Association
"I can't recommend the services of Raym Crow at Chain Bridge Group enough. Crow can provide the high level perspective that you need to get a feel for all the moving parts of your business program, but he's also not afraid to roll up his shirt sleeves and dive into the details. That ability to see the big picture with a corresponding attention to those devilish details is critical. He will challenge your assumptions, force you think through what it is you are attempting, and, as a result, you will build something more sustainable in the end."
Darrin Pratt Director University Press of Colorado
"The consulting services that the Chain Bridge Group provided to the Society of Architectural Historians were invaluable. They managed the RFP process for identifying a publishing partner for our journal with great skill and insight. The cost analysis they developed for producing our journal in print and online gave our board the information and comfort level they needed to approve such a major financial undertaking. We could not have managed this important transition without the good counsel of the Chain Bridge Group."
Pauline Saliga Director Society of Architectural Historians
"The American Sociological Association hired Raym Crow and the Chain Bridge Group in part due to a recommendation from another association which had recently completed its own selection process for a new journal publisher. ASA is pleased to "pay it forward" with our own recommendation. ASA issued a complex request for proposals for eight scholarly journals (six of which were self-published). Raym and the Chain Bridge Group were a vital partner in the development of the RFP, the review of the responses, the selection of the finalists, the scheduling of presentations, and the negotiations with the selected publisher for a final detailed agreement that met all of our needs--from revenue to marketing to implementation procedures. As experienced and knowledgeable as our own staff are, Raym's broader experience with publishing agreements was vital to making sure that our RFP and our final contract addressed the full spectrum of issues necessary to ensure a partnership that would serve ASA well during the transition and far into the future."
Karen Gray Edwards Director of Publications and Membership American Sociological Association
"Raym Crow's expert analysis of the complex arrangements that produce the Année Philologique, the international bibliography of record for the field of classical studies, is essential to our planning for its future. With both a print volume and an online database, independent offices in five countries, and a history going back eighty years it was not an easy situation to unpack, but Crow quickly grasped all the key elements and produced a study that addresses every important issue, even the uncomfortable ones. His report offers a variety of practical solutions and projections for the future that we will rely on for some years to come."
Dee L. Clayman Professor of Classics Graduate Center, City University of New York Director, Database of Classical Bibliography
"Raym Crow's comprehensive assessment of AAA's current print publishing program and his recommendations for improving the operational efficiency, financial basis, and organization of our publication program have been the critical keys to launching a web-based portal for anthropological research and reference resource.
One of the most daunting tasks facing many associations today is the migration of their print-based journals to digital publication and web-based dissemination. Raym's expert business modeling and financial planning strategies have given us a solid foundation to guide this all-important migration.
Raym worked very closely with our staff to understand the Association?s business and key objectives. His extensive publishing expertise enabled him to clearly address the issues we brought to him, as well as provide recommendations on a wide range of operational and strategic concerns we had not previously considered."
William E. Davis III Executive Director American Anthropological Association
"Chain Bridge Group's analysis of UC Press's journal portfolio reflected a deep understanding of the operating and market environments nonprofit academic publishers work within. The final report provided not only strategic perspective but detailed practical advice. A good value for the Press's investment!"
Rebecca Simon Associate Director, University of California Press and Director, Journals & Digital Publishing Division
"The Biological Bulletin is one of the oldest peer-reviewed scientific journals in the United States. We hired the Chain Bridge Group to leverage the expertise of Raym Crow as we seek to adapt the business model of the journal to the changed realities of the 21st Century.
Crow's expertise in such areas as online pricing, cost analysis and subscription modeling has been crucial to our ambitious plans for the Journal. As a thought leader in the area of academic scholarly publishing, Crow's advice is both timely and extraordinarily useful. We highly recommend the Chain Bridge Group."
James L. Olds Ph.D. Editor-in-Chief, The Biological Bulletin, Director, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and Shelley Krasnow University Professor of Computational Neuroscience, George Mason University
"Because of his wealth of experience with scholarly publishing issues, Raym Crow of the Chain Bridge Group was the first to come to mind when we were looking for assistance with our open access scholarly publishing project. His survey of the state of the art in the paradigm changing environment is publicly available at http://dspace.library.cornell.edu/handle/1813/178"
Professor J. Robert Cooke Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering Cornell University
"Raym Crow's effective application of empirical analysis together with a clear understanding of the mission of libraries, of museums and of science makes him an exceptionally valuable consultant."
Tom Moritz Boeschenstein Director, Library Services American Museum of Natural History
"The Chain Bridge Group provided Pike & Fischer with the expertise, focus and discipline we needed to successfully restructure our multiple lines of business and legal information products and services. They collaborated with us to both conduct in-depth market research and develop a cutting edge corporate product and market strategy. That winning strategy is now driving incremental revenue and improving our bottom line."
Meg Hargreaves President & Publisher Pike & Fischer, A BNA Company
"Raym Crow of the Chain Bridge Group recently was facilitator for The Medici Archive Project Strategic Plan. We appreciated how well prepared Mr. Crow was before he began his interviewing; he learns about his subject before he begins evaluative work. He interviews skillfully, listens well, and has keen insight. He works efficiently and effectively, using his strong analytical skills to address core issues in reasoned and readable terms.
We are very pleased with the five year draft plan he has presented to us. It is realistic; it offers us the chance to move ahead stronger than we are today."
Sarah Weiner Keidan Board Chair, The Medici Archive Project