“PLoS is a not for profit, and one of the first Open Access publishers. It is run by Alison Mudditt, a distinguished scholarly publisher with a proven track record of success in commercial academic publishing. In the last two years she has brought PLoS out of serious losses and back into balance again. She has created a strong management team and they have produced a new way of engaging with research institutions that moves beyond the bundling and discounting of “transformative agreements” and into an era of much longer term partnership agreements, where margins are predictable, where issues of volume and cost can be transparent and where institutional buyers can be certain that if they overspend in one year they will be compensated in another. This calls for levels of transparency in partnership that would make many commercial players expire in anguish.
This is new. It is not complex. It is innovative in its rebalancing of the institution-publisher relationship. It is highly relevant to an industry largely created out of public money. It speaks of the sort of social capitalism that is reflected in Europe by developments like Plan S. Surely our first reactions should be to praise its authors, recognise their intelligent innovation and celebrate their attempt to provide a better solution? Criticism can then follow, and undoubtedly the scheme will change as it rolls out. Meanwhile, congratulations PLoS, welcome back to financial health and thanks for showing us that there is always something new we can do with business models. …”