Sunday, May 19, 2019

Media Week: The Week In Publishing - Vanity Fair Archive, LA Bookstores, Big Deal Subscriptions

Bondi Digital a NY based digital publishing company announced the launch of the full Vanity Fair magazine archive:
We are thrilled to share that Vanity Fair launched its Bondi-powered and collaboratively designed digital archive yesterday. For the first time, every photo, article, and issue is accessible on computers, tablets, and phones from 1913 to the present on
Other Bondi deployments include Aviation Week, Playboy, Maclean's, This Old House and others.

The Hollywood Reporter takes a look at the LA independent bookstore market and asks "why are so many longtim LA bookstores closing?"
Despite the recent shuttering of Circus of Books, Caravan Book Store and Samuel French, bookstore experts say the end for the city's brick-and-mortar stores isn't nigh: "There is a sea change happening, and it is noteworthy."
A recent report by the European University Association (EUA) estimates that European libraries spend more than E1B per year on "big deal" subscription agreements wiht the largest scientific publishers (ScienceBusiness):
European universities are paying more than one billion euros per year for access to journals run by the leading science publishers, according to a new survey from the European University Association (EUA) of ‘big deal’ contracts for access to large bundles of journals.  The survey, published this week, looks at 167 contracts made by groups of universities with Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis, Wiley, and the American Chemical Society, finding that the cost for universities is already high and rising by an average 3.6 per cent a year.  The annual outlay, “Is fully paid by public funds and the bulk of these costs fall on Europe’s universities,” said Jean-Pierre Finance, former president of Henri Poincar√© University, who led the study.

The magic of notebooks (mine excepted) from The Economist citing an exhibit at the British Library
NPR's Book Concierge on the best books of 2018 

Read more articles on my Flipboard magazine:


Are you considering an investment in new technology?  Check out my report on software and services providers.  (PubTech Report)
Michael Cairns is a business strategy consultant and executive.  He can be reached at or (908) 938 4889 for project work or executive roles.

Monday, May 13, 2019

MediaWeek: The Week in Publishing - UVA Open Access Aperio, University Press, Danielle Steel

From the FT Why novelist Mark Haddon has lost faith in twitter. 

It's academic to some but The Atlantic suggests that university presses shouldn't have to make money joining the discussion that has been prompted by the off again/on again decision of Stanford to pull financial support from their university press.

In Science magazine, academic Alan Chambers describes how early in his career he became "easy prey for a predatory journal.  "The email appeared legitimate. It spelled my name correctly, referenced some of my previous work, and used correct grammar. The journal wasn’t on Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers. I thought I had done my due diligence."

How did Danielle Steel write more than 170 books?  A guide to efficiency from a profile in Glamour magazine. " There's a sign in Danielle Steel's office that reads, 'There are no miracles. There is only discipline.' It's a dutiful message, and yet the sheer amount that Steel has accomplished in her five-decade career does seem like the stuff of dreams." announced a partnership with Warner Brothers which creates a joint venture named and will combine the existing content of  From their press release:  "Wizarding World is the magical universe that encompasses Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts and an expanding range of characters, stories, experiences and products derived from them, as well as new projects inspired by this magical universe."

A curious experiment in micro metadata tagging:  "In the 21st century, digital publishing has led to the rise of ever-more niche microgenres in books – from Amish romance to NASCAR passion – and it’s changing our literary landscape." Pursuit

The University of Virginia recently launched its own open source publishing platform (Aperio) and David Ghamandi, UVa’s open publishing librarian and managing editor of Aperio, speaks to the UVA newspaper:  “To be successful over time, universities need to invest heavily in their own OA presses (where they exist) and support each other’s presses. Universities need to be more serious taking responsibility for the dissemination and preservation of the knowledge produced on their own campuses. There also needs to be a culture shift where more faculty recognize the benefits of OA and are supported by their departments and schools to move the journals they lead to open access presses.”

Read more articles on my Flipboard magazine:


Are you considering an investment in new technology?  Check out my report on software and services providers.  (PubTech Report)
Michael Cairns is a business strategy consultant and executive.  He can be reached at or (908) 938 4889 for project work or executive roles.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

MediaWeek: The Week in Publishing - Baker&Taylor, Wiley, Comics, Translations

In a blow to competition, although not without cause, Baker&Taylor announced they were calling it quits on the retail distribution market.  Independent booksellers in particular will feel the hit from this action which appears to have been in the works for a while but implemented by B&T without contingency planning.  Many independent retailers have been left scrambling to find alternatives not named Ingram.   (ABA)

Springtime for Hitler at the Turin Bookfair where anger is growing (surely it's reached full gestation) against the publisher (Altaforte) of neo-facist content.  As the photo shows, these white lovers are brazen.  From the Guardian.

Woody Allen may have to consider self-publishing (Vox) but it Angelica Houston he may have one buyer at least (NYMag)

John Wiley has acquired the assets of Knewton which was at one time a high flying web-based education start-up which also apparently took in over $180mm in investor capital.  The purchase price was a lot less than that (Chronicle)

An interesting article on comic book publishing.  It's not all Marvel and DC Comics.  There's some adaptation and consolidation going on here as well.  The NYTimes takes a look and shows some of the smaller players are taking the lead of those larger companies by setting up studio deals and other distribution methods.

Vulture challenges the way publishers approach the translation market and suggests at a minimum the English language market is missing out on at least 1000 titles per year from around the world.   It suggests cultural isolationism.

At the recent BISG annual meeting during a q/a on the international rights market one of the speakers lamented the state of the Brazilian book market.  Here from the Brazilian report a review of what they describe as a bleak market.  Since 2009, sales have been downward with 2018 being the worst in 30 years despite significant growth in religious books.

Read more articles on my flipboard magazine:


Are you considering an investment in new technology?  Check out my report on software and services providers.  (PubTech Report)
Michael Cairns is a business strategy consultant and executive.  He can be reached at or (908) 938 4889 for project work or executive roles.

Monday, May 06, 2019

The New McGraw-Hill: Where is Education Textbook Publishing Headed?

Last week McGraw-Hill and Cengage announced a merger which would combine the two businesses into a $3.1Billion provider of education textbooks and materials.  Assuming this merger proceeds through competitive review, as is likely, then McGraw Hill – as the new company will be known, will be second only to Pearson, plc ($5.5Billion) in size and reach.  The new McGraw-Hill will be run by current Cengage CEO Michael Hansen.  While broad trends in education indicate a widening of the education and training marketplace as employers and employees see the need for full career based training, traditional education companies such as Cengage, Pearson, Macmillan, John Wiley and McGraw Hill have struggled to protect their legacy print businesses and address new market and product opportunities. 

Financial reporting across the industry suggests that publishers are losing the battle of the textbook which is one reason this merger was inevitable.  The question is how the remaining textbook publishers such as Macmillan, John Wiley, Wolters Kluwer and others will react: I expect some additional M&A activity and partnerships in this space.   With revenues declining at a steady rate, unless alternative sources of revenues – whether new products or substitutions – are found then all publishers face an inevitable decline in scale benefits.  Having faced steady declines in revenue over the past ten years, some of these publishers have infrastructures which can support larger businesses and thus combining with one or two other publishers can ‘top-up’ this scale gap.   It is no surprise that new McGraw-Hill anticipates $300MM in efficiency savings and I would not be surprised if they have privately targeted a much larger number.

But what about revenue growth?  This is a very dull story if it is only about cost and scale improvements and CEO Michael Hansen hinted at a more appealing story line.  He disagreed with a question about market concentration: Rather than the combined company having 45% market share he suggested that both companies have a market share in the teens.  His perspective is that students have many options when they visit a bookstore and a variety of business models to chose from (including buy, borrow and steal).  Additionally, the target student is being redefined to include ‘professionals’ and career focused students.  If you agree to both these points then, in effect, the market in which the new McGraw-Hill competes is larger than that presented by the legacy textbook market.  Cengage’s aggressive move to address this new market has been their all access subscription pricing model which in less than twelve months has grown to over 1MM subscribers and over $60MM in revenue.  (See the PND articles below on these points).

It is my expectation that this deal will proceed without significant deliberation and McGraw-Hill will argue successfully that the education market is now much bigger than the legacy textbook market.  Other publishers may find themselves a step behind McGraw-Hill and Pearson which will result in further market consolidation and/or combinations.  We are now on the cusp of changes like those the journals business went through over twenty years ago.  What is interesting to contemplate is whether what is happening today in journal publishing vis-√†-vis open access content is in some way a predictor of what may happen to textbook content.   Journal publishers have moved to services and analytics and we may see a similar move in education.  Just not in twenty years.

(Company) and (Investor Call Recording)


Are you considering an investment in new technology?  Check out my report on software and services providers.  (PubTech Report)
Michael Cairns is a business strategy consultant and executive.  He can be reached at or (908) 938 4889 for project work or executive roles.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

MediaWeek: The Week in Publishing - Cengage, McGrawHill, Jet

On Wednesday, Cengage and McGrawHill announced what may be the last mega merger in the educational publishing market place.  Valued at just over $5B this is an all stock deal and the combined  company will have just over $3B in revenue.  Once completed in early 2020, the company will be named McGrawHill and be led by current Cengage CEO Michael Hansen. (Company) and (Recording)

A first time young adult author pulls her title amid a 'racist' backlash and then reconsiders.  The NYTimes takes a look at the 'close-knit children’s publishing community' and the recent history of bullying and controversy and finds (not surprisingly) that "While there are often controversies simmering in the young adult literary world, the magnitude and speed at which the backlash builds seems to have accelerated, often amplified by social media."

Connecting the anticipated raft of data produced by all the electronic touch points which students of all ages generate may become as easy as a walk-up withdrawal at Fort Knox if publishers have their way. At least that is the conclusion of a recent report by Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) which commented that "its (data about students, faculty, research outputs, institutional productivity, and more) capture and use could significantly reduce institutions’ and scholars’ rights to their data and related intellectual property"  There's more where that came from.

The demise of Jet and Ebony magazine and Johnson Publishing is a real shame but at least all the iconic images in their image library may end up in a museum should 'power couple' George Lucas and Mellody Hobson prevail at the bankruptcy auction (CB).  Although it may not go smoothly.  Lucas is owed $13MM for a loan collateralized by the image library and estimates of the library's value extend to $40MM.

Old line publishers seem in a race to sign open access publishing deals as a means to 'pivot' their business models.  Wiley in Germany and now Elsevier in Norway is the latest announcement and some say Elsevier's deal is akin to that last penguin to jumping off the ice.  But not so fast: This deal is still lucrative for Elsevier and the Norwegians appear willing to pay something for the cost of open access publishing. (FT)

Oh my Wiener!  Suggestions that Anthony Weiner is shopping a picture book are completely incorrect although he is looking for a book deal according to the NY Post.  As a bell weather, "Every Simon & Schuster imprint has passed,” although that really sells S&S short.

The assault (my word) on University Presses generated new news this week with notice that Standford University finds itself short of cash and will withdraw financial support from their University Press.  According to IHEd, the press relies on about $1.6mm in financial support from the university which is 'reliant' on the payout from the University's $26Billion endowment.  According to Provost Drell (who also happens to be a scholarly expert herself) next year's payout is expected to be smaller than usual and that the presses output is "second rate".  (Late word: Drell has announced a funding continuation due to the outcry. IHEd)


Are you considering an investment in new technology?  Check out my report on software and services providers.  (PubTech Report)

Michael Cairns is a business strategy consultant and executive.  He can be reached at or (908) 938 4889 for project work or executive roles.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Global Publishing Software & Services Report - Over 100 Companies


My company, Information Media Partners recently published an updated version of our Publishing Technology Report which identifies over 100 software and services companies supporting global publishers and content owners. We asked some of the recent buyers of this report for some feedback:
 “…the report helped us avoid what may have become a very expensive mistake when we were looking to replace an important set of back office applications which run our business.” – Mike S. IT Director (Scholarly Publisher)
This report sets out some parameters for evaluating which providers you will want to look at as you make your decision to invest in new technology. Technology investment is a significant undertaking for any company regardless of your size or sophistication and our report provides a framework for identifying the best options for your business. We have conducted more than 30 in-depth interviews with the leading providers to help you understand each company's product offering and capabilities.
“Michael’s report helped us save a considerable amount of time in the selection of applicable vendors for our technology project and his concurrent consulting advice helped guide our process. We enjoyed working with him on this project.” Shelly B. Operations Director (Education Publisher)
With resources tight and frequently, expertise in short supply, this report and our consulting knowledge can help you ask the right questions and shorten your evaluation process. Time is money and no one wants to waste time and effort evaluating vendors which are not right for your business.
“In our view the most comprehensive report for software vendors supporting publishing and information companies” – Partner, Private Equity
This software and services market place is under researched and our market map is unique in the way it identifies the primary providers to publishers and content owners. Several private equity firms have purchased this report to support their knowledge and understanding of this vibrant market place.

This year we ranked Fadel (rights/royalties), Klopotek (Title, Editorial, Production) and Silverchair (Content Management) as the best positioned vendors in their segment having conducted over 30 interviews.

The 2019 report is 90 pages and includes a market overview, functional and technical descriptions of the primary software applications and vendors for enterprise resource planning (ERP), title, editorial and production (TEP), contracts, rights and royalties (CRR) and content management (CMS).

We advise that you should purchase this report if you are considering any investment in technology in the coming year and/or if you want to understand the competitive environment for these products.

As an added bonus, if you engage my company (Information Media Partners) for a consulting project in the coming year (not necessarily connected to this report) I will credit back the cost of this report.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Fare Well the Editor? Springer Publishes Machine Generated Book

From the Springer press release:
In close collaboration between Springer Nature and researchers from Goethe University Frankfurt/Main, a state-of-the-art algorithm, the so-called Beta Writer, was developed to select, consume and process relevant publications in this field from Springer Nature’s content platform SpringerLink. Based on this peer-reviewed and published content, the Beta Writer uses a similarity-based clustering routine to arrange the source documents into coherent chapters and sections. It then creates succinct summaries of the articles. The extracted quotes are referenced by hyperlinks which allow readers to further explore the original source documents. Automatically created introductions, table of contents and references facilitate the orientation within the book.

Tuesday, April 02, 2019

BISG Webinar: Technology Spending in the Publishing Industry

I did a webinar today for the BISG and below are the slides from that presentation.

BISG Webinar: Technology Spending in Publishing from Michael Cairns

Make sure you use the discount code in the deck
Also, I did a q/a recently and this is an edited transcript of that conversation:

Q: Tell us a little bit about your report: What made you decide you wanted to do this and what was your objective?

A: Last year I completed a similar report (although the 2019 version is more detailed and comprehensive) and received more positive feedback than I expected.  As a result, I decided to expand it and devote more time to interviewing as many of the companies profiled as I could.   Initially, for the 2018 report, I was motivated partly by my experience raising capital as CEO of Ingenta.  I needed comparative data on market competitors but there was no market research to be found.  There is also no research available on levels of technology spending in publishing which was (and remains) a point of frustration for me.

My objective was partially personal and professional-- I want to be seen as an expert in this area.  A lot of money is being spent on technology by publishers and I felt, given my background, that I had something to offer companies looking to invest in new technology solutions.  I had also never undertaken a market research project on my own before and tried to sell it.  So that part was an experiment, and it turned out well.  As I said, more industry insiders reacted favorably than I expected.  As part of this report, I created a market map of all the software players and I think many were excited to see all these companies – over 100 – depicted graphically in my diagram.

Q: What do you think are the biggest issues currently facing the companies you have profiled?

A: Well, they’re probably different for each-- of course, every company has its own view. But I think there are universal challenges facing most—if not all—of the companies serving this market.
The first is that technology has been undergoing significant change over the last 5-10 years or so: Locally-installed software is giving way to hosted and subscription-based business models. Code is now built on the basis of open architecture so that applications can be woven together and data and services exchanged from machine to machine.   Publishing and media are generally conservative businesses and-- generally speaking--companies serving this segment are by no means leaders in addressing these changes.  So most, if not all, of the vendors in my report are going through some type of technology rearchitecting, and this can be perilous if not managed well.  The happy thing is that, because the pace of change in publishing is slow, these companies can be fairly methodical about their approach.  For example, I see companies like Fadel, Klopotek and Silverchair executing well through this transition.

In my report, I tried to depict this technology evolution in what II call my ‘velocity chart’--look at it and you will see most companies at an inflection point at the small end of a funnel.  As they invest in new architectures, they begin to quickly move out of this funnel and put greater distance between themselves and companies that have not invested.   Thus, companies investing in technology achieve a better competitive position against their rivals who do not invest.   Some of the laggards will get left behind, I believe.  (I’m not naming names here but I do in the report).

On the revenue side, the move to subscription models must be managed carefully since, historically, software companies would receive large cash payments upfront for perpetual licenses and this cash helped fund the software implementation process.  Those days are gone, replaced by smaller monthly subscription fees. In the short term this negatively impacts cash flow but, over time, can represent a significant revenue improvement.   The hosting model is also important here because customers are no longer obliged to manage their own local environments:  This will not only save money but deliver better technical and more flexible environments

The last issue is universal in this space and that is the relatively small size of the companies.  Most are less than $15MM in revenue, though there are one or two closer to $20MM    (CMS/hosting companies Atypon and Highwire are considered larger.)  These industry providers retain the benefits of delivering very tailored products to publishers which precisely fit their needs.  On this basis, the companies can compete very well against far larger software companies such as SAP.   Where size is a limitation as in the provision of ‘on-call’ expert resources and project teams for large-scale implementations, especially if the company has been lucky enough to win multiple contracts at the same time.  These smaller companies don’t have the financial strength of the medium- and larger- sized companies.  One other thing related to this point: Most of these players do not work with integrators (third parties which can implement their software) so the only implementation option for customers is the software developer.  In my opinion that is a problem that hampers business growth.

Q: Who are the buyers of your report?

A: It has been a mix.  I anticipated when I began the project that most buyers would be companies  anticipating an investment in new technology but I’d say those have been a small sub-set of buyers.  And that really surprised me because reading my report could save them a lot of upfront time in deciding which companies to speak to and consider in the evaluation process.  I’ve seen the vendors themselves and some investment companies buy the report--for them, it’s a good way to get to know more about the competitive market.  There’s a lot of information in the report (it's over 90 pages!) but 
I think prospective buyers get “sticker shock” at the $1,500 price tag--though I do offer some free consulting time with a report purchase.  I do have a discount code: THANKS2019 which is available now.

Q: Presumably you have clients who make use of the report and do want advice on the process of selecting a technology provider. What advice do you give them?

A: Naturally, all situations are different. But first off, it's important to understand the circumstances in which the company finds itself.  For example, what is driving the business to take the decision to replace their ERP or CMS?  One company which recently declared bankruptcy had, only a few years ago, replaced all of their financial systems with a very expensive Oracle solution.  Their motivation was that the older solution couldn’t support the new business models and strategy the company wanted to execute.  But, hindsight being 20/20, it was poor judgement to engage this costly project before there was any indication the new strategies would work.  Now, with the business in bankruptcy, the expensive system supports much less revenue than the resilient legacy solution would have had no problem supporting.   Proceed with caution: These projects are expensive, disruptive and rarely go smoothly. Your business has to be tough and well managed to execute effectively.  That is especially true if your business is less than $50MM in annual revenue.

Another thing I would point out is that it is not necessary to do a full RFI/RFP process.  Compiling a set of high-level requirements and bringing in three or four vendors can save time and money-- and you will learn a lot in the process.   Additionally, if you have someone like me to help navigate this process (generally without a vote on final selection) it will go a lot more smoothly.
The last thing I’d mention is that you should have a good idea of your current technical environment, architecture and costs.  These new systems will likely need to interface with other existing systems (some of which will also be replaced) and mapping out all these intersections in advance is an important requirement.  Data conversion and interface work is likely to be one of your project's biggest time and cost demands--starting early to understand the scope of these activities is time well spent.

Q: What else would you like publishers to know?

A: I think my bias is that I’d rather see publishers spend technology dollars on product development and ‘front office’ applications which directly support revenue generation or growth.  Minimize spending on supporting applications for accounting, quote/order to cash, rights and royalties and title management and editorial solutions. Matching cost effectiveness with process efficiencies should be a primary consideration when looking at these solutions.  If you have $100 to spend on technology, don’t spend $95 on business applications—give yourself the flexibility to spend more on supporting revenue growth, new products and customer development.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Blockchain for Publishers: Workflow, Content Management, Copyright

Last year I pulled together a post discussing how I thought blockchain could (and was) be used within the publishing industry.  (Publishing in the Age of Blockchain).
Lost in the often exuberant hyperbole surrounding the potential of blockchain is the fact that blockchain is a ‘foundational’ technology similar to the internet protocol (TCP/IP) which governs all our web activities today.  Thus, blockchain is still in its infancy with respect to the applications which will eventually be built on top of it.  Setting your bitcoins aside, it is useful to think of block chain today as TCP/IP, circa 1980, and to moderate expectations accordingly.   And while bitcoin gets much of the attention, there is more to the story.
There is definitely still excitement about blockchain but my impression is less about the hype and more about actually doing stuff that works.  There are many examples similar to the following initiative undertaken in Germany by the Content Blockchain Project.  These guys just won a prestigious award for innovation from the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and describe themselves as follows:

The Content Blockchain Project is initiating an open and decentralized blockchain ecosystem dedicated to media content that is operated and owned by the industry itself.
It is the goal of the initiative to create a decentralized, global, digital infrastructure for the creative community to discover, register, navigate, offer, sell and license digital media content and otherwise exchange value over the network.  The project addresses authors, photographers, journalists, musicians, artists, bloggers, publishers, content distributors, and all kinds of media companies, startups and creatives around the globe.  
In the notice of the award, the jury commented,
The Content Blockchain is an open and decentralized ecosystem to manage, identify, and interact with digital content and user licenses. A core element is the International Standard Content Code, which is comparable to traditional identifiers from the media world such as ISBN, ISSN or ISRC is. The ISCC can be generated from the digital content such as images, text or videos free of charge and by anyone with the help of easy-to-use applications. The identifiers and related machine-readable license terms can be registered on a publicly accessible blockchain network.
This is a very interesting initiative and as I said last year the use of blockchain with the identification and management of intellectual works looks like a very viable business case.   After my post last year, I was approached by several organizations in the news and image management area seeking more discussion about how some of these initiatives could help support their business objectives.  By way of example, the Associated Press announced they were working with Civil to help protect their content from misuse.

Here are some companies which I either missed in my list last year (or are new):

Workflow Management, Collaboration:

Orvium:  The first decentralized social platform for scientific collaboration, funding and publications management based on Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence.  (Video).  Orvium is the vision of a team of engineers, scientists and blockchain experts drawn from CERN, NASA, Amazon, Oracle, Bitcoin Suisse, and others renowned institutions
  • Open and Collaborative Science via:
    • Social and Collaborative Platform:
    • Science has no borders: share results and data, communicate and collaborate with scientists all over the planet
  • Transparent Manuscript Tracking System:
    • A new generation of Manuscript Tracking System fully transparent using Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence
  • Decentralized Funding Ecosystem
    • Cost effective and decentralized platform to manage science funding, journals and theirs life-cycles
Blockchain for Peer Review:

Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis Group, Cambridge University Press, Welcome Trust and Karger have joined a pilot project to test blockchain technologies applications to peer review.

This initiative aims to open up the blackbox of the peer review process. They see the following problems:
  • Increasing difficulty in finding and identifying suitable and available reviewers due to the growth in research outputs, including rapid growth from emerging economies
  • Lack of reviewer recognition
  • Fraud and manipulation
  • Lack of portability of review
  • Lack of transparency and decreasing trust in this process
Artifacts.Ai provides a platform enabling all transactions and linkages across all research artifacts.  Published or pre-published.  In any form, not just articles.  Through its unique blockchain engine, designed specifically for academic and scientific research, it leverages the power of the community, while providing the authority, rigor, and validity that community sites and standard archives can’t provide.  It is unconstrained while delivering a ledger of record.

The Knowbella Platform is a researcher community for open source IP projects. The Scientists can start with existing IP and develop it into new directions and applications. The Platform will provide researchers IP, access to grant funding and lab equipment, manuscript development tools, preprint server, career and gig opportunities, and AnthroTokens rewards for collaborating. In turn, researchers can drive new discoveries, innovations, and their careers.
The IP remains open under a Creative Commons (CC) 4.0 licensing model and may be developed further. Further developed IP under the CC requires all developments to be freely provided to all researchers on the Platform. Anyone is free to commercialize the advancements.

Makeelevator is a blockchain-based protocol for communicating computational workflows and helps increase the speed, reproducibility, and accessibility of computational workflows.  (Early - no link).

Pluto Networks utilizes the properties of blockchain to manage a transparent system to record research activities and facilitate fair transactions between academics. While keeping the transparency and fairness of the whole system, privacy and copyrights are ensured when necessary. Blockchain also enables a reasonable compensating mechanism for academic activities, either in economic values or in academic reputation, or both (Video).

Decentralized Science:  Through disruptive distributed technologies such as Blockchain, we both enable decentralization and relieve the pains of traditional publication processes. This is accomplished by providing a reputation system of peer reviewers that will improve quality and ensure faster reviews and distribution, helping editors, reviewers and authors.

Eureka is a scientific review and rating platform fueled by the Eureka token from Eureka Blockchain Solutions GmbH. Blockchain has the capacity to open science and make research findings immutable, transparent and decentralized. Eureka revolutionizes the scientific publishing and reviewing process by making it more efficient and fair using the Eureka token to compensate all parties involved.

The products are process tools aimed specifically at researchers in the early phase of a new project. They are especially suitable for interdisciplinary projects where the combination of knowledge from across a range of research fields will be vital to the project’s success.  The team is undertaking a new project (Project Aiur) to combine blockchain and artificial intelligence in support of scholarly workflow.


    EINSTEINIUM will enable the global community to efficiently and securely support scientific research, charitable and political causes, as well as education and IT.

    Scienceroot:  will create an ecosystem where anyone in the scientific community around the globe has the ability to gather funding, interact, discuss research ideas, collaborate and in the end, publish their work through a more efficient, intuitive and transparent platform.  Scienceroot will create their own cryptocurrency, Science Token, which can be exchanged instantly, regardless of the user’s location. The founders expect this will make it easier for both the global scientific and non-scientific community to get directly involved in promoting science by investing their money in a worthy cause. 

    DEIP provides a common infrastructure that enables automate decision-making, reduce costs and achieves best use of funds by extracting valuable insights from grant-related data.  DEIP is not just blockchain, it is a comprehensive infrastructure that includes off-chain data cluster, user interface framework – everything needed for the fast and efficient implementation of our solutions into any enterprise.

    Intellectual & Content Management:

    Lumina Datamatics is launching a blockchain based solution to manage intellectual property rights and transactions named RPRightsChain (RPRC).  According to the company using RRPC, authors, editors, and designers can now quickly and easily approve their image, send their rights request with one click and receive their licensing grant all without leaving the RRC platform.

    Scenarex is a Montreal-based start-up founded in 2015, born out of a passion for literature and technology. Using blockchain technology, our goal is to create flexible, user-friendly, non-restrictive solutions that will benefit the evolution and development of the publishing industry.
    Once users have created their account on our Bookchain® web platform, they can start uploading their digital files and fill out the parameters of the smart contract, which contains all the settings for the publishing and distribution of the ebook, including royalty distribution, price, etc. Each smart contract is powered by the blockchain and can be assigned to several files.  Once the ebook is attached to a smart contract, it’s ready to be published on the Bookchain® catalogue

    Publica (The Book ICO)

    A Book ICO allows authors to pre-sell copies of their upcoming works as readable tokens.  By doing so, authors are able to activate and reward their early supporters, receive the funds needed to finish their works, and tap into the power of the blockchain.

    Decent is designed as an open source platform that is powered by blockchain technology. Since it is decentralized, users can buy, sell, and share content without any manipulation or pay fees to middlemen.  (Youtube)

    Katalysis is on a mission to democratize the value of online content - with blockchain technology and have deployed 'feather' which is a Workpress plugin to support the correct payment and attribution of content owners.
    • Katalysis develops software based on smart contract blockchain technology aimed to help the publishing industry with the transition from off- to online. Katalysis’ product, Katalysis DecPub (Katalysis Decentralized Publishing), is the first blockchain based implementation used in the publishing industry in the Netherlands.
    Mediachain is a blockchain data solution for connecting applications to media and information about it. Mediachain is building an open, universal media library.

    Verisart enables the creation of secure digital certificates for art and collectibles and helps bind them to detailed provenance records.

    Archangel is a UK based initiative to ensure the long-term sustainability of digital archives though the design, development and trialing of transformational new distributed ledger technology to promote accessibility and ensure integrity of content, whilst maximizing its impact through novel business models for commodification and open access.  Archangel is a 18 month socio-technical feasibility study co-creating and evaluating a novel prototype DLT service with end-users to determine how archival practices, sustainable models and public attitudes could evolve in the presence of a trusted decentralized technology to prove content integrity and ensure open access to digital public archives

    Tangentially related, Woolf University aims to be the first blockchain based university.  Woolf will make it possible for any qualified academic to launch an accredited degree course and teach it. Woolf was started by academic colleagues seeking to provide students anywhere in the world with a one-to-one education in the Oxford tradition of personal tutorials.

    Read last years post for additional companies and initiatives.

    Michael Cairns is a business strategy and digital transformation consultant.  His executive roles include positions with brand name publishing companies such as Reed Elsevier, Wolters Kluwer, RR Bowker, PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Berlitz International.  Michael is open to consulting and full time c-level opportunities.  He can be reached at