Elsevier, the European academic publishing giant has acquired bepress, a 73 person academic publishing service based in Berkeley, California for an undisclosed amount as it expands its publishing, analytics and metadata services for leading US universities.
Elsevier acquires a business with more than 500 academic institutions as customers and about $20m in annual revenues based on an annual subscription model averaging about $37,000. This compares favorably with the cost of a full-time IT person to run the publishing services using open source software which is the alternative choice.
Three University of California professors founded bepress in 1999 to make it easier for academics and their institutions to showcase their work in many different formats from academic papers, to books and more. And bepress also tracks downloads and engagement with the content.
I spoke with Jean-Gabriel Bankier, CEO of bepress since 2009.
"We have millions of papers that are available for free because each university is in competition for students and faculty and funding -- they want to show the world what they have."
Bankier said that in addition to its cloud-based content management system Elsevier also gets a sophisticated analytics technology that provides data on who has accessed the information -- important for evaluating faculty and research.
There are significant benefits from the Elsevier acquisition says Bankier.
"Elsevier's databases have collected significant amounts of metadata around our articles and content which will add considerable value to our users -- we are very excited."
He added that this removes some doubts among potential customers that the company will survive.
Elsevier has been making several similar acquisitions over the past five years: Mendeley, Plum Analytics, and SSRN.
Additional information from the press release:
Bepress allows institutions to collect, organize, preserve and disseminate their intellectual output, including pre-prints, working papers, journals or specific articles, dissertations, theses, conference proceedings and a wide variety of other data.
By joining Elsevier, bepress can better address institutional promotional needs, such as compete for students, faculty and grants and preserve research data and outputs. Elsevier's suite of products such as Scopus, Pure, SSRN and SciVal suite will enhance the breadth and quality of the reach, promotion and impact services that bepress delivers to its customers.
Bepress' "digital commons" platform supports institutional platforms by providing cross-repository aggregation and referencing by type of content or author into 'Commons' or 'Networks'. Bepress currently has content containing over 2 million articles and 100 million annual downloads.