Six months ago today, I launched “The Geyser,” my successor to “The Scholarly Kitchen.” In addition to wanting to mix things up, I also wanted to “walk the talk” when it came to subscriptions and recurring revenue (and recapture and expand upon the benefits both have on editorial behavior). When Substack’s platform magically appeared before me at about the same time, offering an easy and elegant way to launch a new subscription offering, I knew it was time to take the plunge.
Results so far have been excellent, and I’m very glad I made the move.
I hope some of what has appeared here has made a difference and helped people. Some posts — how widely they’ve been read and shared — suggest this might be the case.
In that spirit, here’s a quick rundown of some of the hot topics and posts over this initial period.
Plan S has been a consistent topic of interest over the past six months, of course, with the following posts jumping out as especially popular:
- Policy Without Practice — Why a proponent’s lack of any publication record matters
- Day 1 from APE 2019 in Berlin — Day-of coverage of key Plan S presentations
- Plan S Becomes More Puzzling — Interpreting Plan S presentations from the now-notorious APE 2019 meeting
- Plan S, Elitism, and Power Grabs — Contemplating how Plan S and its elitist underpinnings fit with trends in general politics and cultural sabotage
- Who Profits from Plan S? — A review of shady connections between Plan S proponents and a for-profit publisher
Other topics of interest have been more workaday, such as the following:
- Why Digital Expenses Continue to Rise
- Are KPIs Making Us Crazy?
- Paywalls Continue to Produce Benefits
- China Will Dominate Research, Citations
- Respecting the Work You’ve Never Done
Because we live in dehumanizing times, where rhetorical points are treasured over all, I’ve tried to make “The Geyser” a place where the people who work on scholarly publishing are humanized and appreciated for their dedication and care. To that end, I’ve been working to feature interviews when possible. Some of the most popular have been:
- Editor Interview: Mark Swiontkowski, MD
- Interview with Lynn Kamerlin, Part 1 (Part 2 is also popular)
- Interview with Bryan Alexander
- Editor Interview: Jack Odle, PhD
- Interview: Josh Nicholson, Scite.ai
Some popular posts have asked uncomfortable questions or confronted touchy subjects with what I hope is an unsparing but fair eye:
- Avoiding the Pitfalls of “The List” — Saving time by not indulging in strategic pursuits that lead nowhere
- The Altmetric Flower Is Misleading — How its design hides flaws and fools users
- Is OA Now About Destruction? — Inspired by a James Phimister post on LinkedIn, the question is considered
- The Risks Haunting Preprints and Plan U — Considering the problems of unreliable funding sources, rising costs, and increasing complexity
- Should an Abandoned Preprint Be Retired?
- Sci-Hub’s Business Model Scares Me — Why it’s probably not a good idea to cozy up to a criminal enterprise
One of the highlights of the new approach has been seeing posts shared widely by subscribers, which then results in subscriptions coming back. This speaks to two important aspects of “The Geyser” — first, the essays are proving valuable enough for important people to share with their network; and second, recipients often respond so strongly they explore the site and decide to subscribe.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be covering new and emerging technologies, developments in strategic options, implications of larger tech and societal developments, and interviews with various leaders in the industry.
I invite you to subscribe — to access the already-deep archives, to guarantee you don’t miss anything in the future, to increase your own networking value, and to gain an advantage when it comes to strategy, news, and translational thinking.