I have a new working paper, “Surveillance Publishing,” up on SocArXiv:
In place of Google’s propensity to buy, Clarivate is selling bets on future scholarly productivity and impact, among other academic prediction products. This essay lingers on a prediction too: Clarivate’s business model is coming for scholarly publishing. Google is one peer, but the company’s real competitors are Elsevier, Springer Nature, Wiley, Taylor& Francis, and SAGE. Elsevier, in particular, has been moving into predictive analytics for years now. Of course the publishing giants have long profited off of academics and our university employers—by packaging scholars’ unpaid writing-and-editing labor only to sell it back to us as usuriously priced subscriptions or APCs. That’s a lucrative business that Elsevier and the others won’t give up. But they’re layering another business on top of their legacy publishing operations, in the Clarivate mold.