The Public Library of Science (PLOS) launched their first open access journal in 2003 and were the first publisher to formally offer cross-linking between published articles and posted preprint. As a change agent in scholarly publishing and the world of open access, the recent news about the financial situation cuts a little deeper. The Scholarly Kitchen brought this news to us in their article, “Poor Financials Pushes PLOS To Ponder Future Prospects.”

Revenue at PLOS was down by almost $2 Million in 2017 and the reports indicate it was due to in part to declines in submissions to PLOS ONE, its largest journal. In addition and possibly more importantly, PLOS wrote off $11.1 Million in expenses in building Aperta — a manuscript submission system that the publisher ultimately decided to abandon after years of development.

PLOS is not a financially diversified company. It is almost entirely dependent upon a single revenue model from a single journal. Unfortunately this makes the publisher highly vulnerable to market changes and competition.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.