De Gruyter acquires 67 journals from bepress – details from De Gruyter’s Sven Fund

Today, De Gruyter and The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) announced that they have reached an agreement for De Gruyter to acquire bepress’s journal portfolio. The agreement covers a total of 67 journals in the areas of Law, Business/Economics, Humanities, and Natural Sciences.  Sven Fund, CEO of De Gruyter, answered some questions about the acquisition for NSR.  View the Press Release

NSR: What was the impetus for acquiring the BePress journal collection?
SF: One of the key pillars of De Gruyter’s strategic plan is the internationalization of our publishing operations. With the acquisition, De Gruyter establishes relationships with very prominent editors in chief, who maintain highly attractive journals. We want to maximize our opportunities within this prestigious academic community and further expand our activities.

Moreover, we increase our exposure to a number of consortia that have been working with Berkeley Academic Press, but did not yet work with De Gruyter. We are thrilled about the opportunity to liaise with them and cooperate in the future.

Third, we very much support Berkeley Electronic Press’ founding philosophy that journal prices should be a reliable component of a library’s budget. BEPress journals are priced low compared to many large publishers’ products, but are aligned with De Gruyter’s existing 170 journals. We are committed to keeping this pricing policy for the future.

NSR: What are the greatest challenges with acquiring such a large collection of established journals?
SF: We have thoroughly prepared all aspects of the integration into De Gruyter’s editorial structure and sales processes, and we feel very comfortable about giving these journals a new home. Editors in Chief, customers and vendors have already been informed about the changing publishing house behind these 67 journals, and we are confident that we will integrate them without friction.

To avoid any disruptions, BE Press has been very helpful in managing the transition on the editorial side, e.g. when submission systems are involved. For our customers, there will be no price increases or other changes for 2012.

NSR: How will you integrate these new journals with existing DeGruyter content?
SF: The journals will become an integral part of our program. Starting in 2012, they will be hosted with our other journals, books and database content on our platform, and I am sure this will further boost usability for researchers and decrease  back end handling for libraries.

NSR: Will you expand the indexing and abstracting of the journals?
SF: Yes, De Gruyter has dedicated significant resources to abstracting & indexing and to working with aggregators of all kinds and with great success, resulting in wider usage and increasing impact factors. This policy will be applied for the BE Press journals as well.

NSR: What plans do you have to develop additional content supporting these new journals?
SF: Since De Gruyter is known as a book and database publisher the first thing we will do is talk to editors in chief about their ideas for growing the product range in a field covered by a given journal. And of course we are also happy to add new journals to the portfolio, as BE Press successfully did in the past.

NSR: BePress was committed to sustainable policies, supporting sustainable access business models.  Will DeGruyter continue this tradition?
SF: Yes, no doubt this is a very important aspect of the acquisition, as mentioned before. There are different ways to grant access to research results, and we believe that BE Press’ pricing policy and access to content without high pay walls is a viable way that we will continue, be it via sustainable pricing, by offering Open Access for journals and books, or by functionalities our new online platform will offer from 2012 on. More on that soon.