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[BOAI] Interview with Jean-Gabriel Bankier, President & CEO of bepress

From: "Richard Poynder" <ricky AT>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 2014 05:59:45 +0100

Founded in 1999 by three Berkeley professors, bepress (formerly Berkeley
Electronic Press) spent the first decade of its existence building up a
portfolio of peer-reviewed journals - much like any scholarly publisher. In
2011, however, it took what might seem like a surprising decision: it
decided to sell all its journals to De Gruyter and reinvent itself as a
technology company.


Instead of publishing journals, bepress is now focussed on developing and
licensing the publishing technology it created for its earlier publishing
activities, and its flagship product is a cloud-based institutional
repository/publishing platform called Digital Commons.


Digital Commons is currently licensed to more than 320 academic
institutions, who use the software to publish over 700 journals, 94% of
which are open access. This publishing activity is invariably managed by the
institution's library, and often includes the publishing of books,
conference proceedings, data sets, audio-visual collections, and other
digital content types too.


Is this a sign of things to come: Publishers becoming technology companies
and librarians becoming publishers? President and CEO of bepress
Jean-Gabriel Bankier believes it is. As he puts it in a Q&A just published,
"Library-led publishing is an integral strategy in the university taking
back ownership of scholarly communication." As such, he adds, the future 
scholarly publishing now "lies in the hands of libraries and 


To support his argument Bankier cites a US study in which 55% of the
universities and colleges surveyed said that they are offering or
considering offering library publishing services.


What all this means, he says, is that if publishers "want to continue to
play a significant role in supporting the changing needs of the research
community" they will need to consider following the example of bepress, 
morph from content provider to technology company.


The interview with Bankier can be read here:


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