K-12 Dealmaking: China’s TAL Acquires Ready4 Inc.

Contributing Writer

In recent dealmaking news, Beijing-based TAL makes yet another acquisition. MIT Press launches MIT Press Direct on the Silverchair Platform; OASIS Platform integrates with Alma System for print book ordering; Knewton launches Altapass; University Press of Kansas launches new publishing options; Wiley, Projekt DEAL partner to enhance scholarly publishing in Germany; and Cambridge University Press launches new model for scholarly publishing.

TAL Education Group Acquires Ready4 Inc.: China-based education company TAL Education Group has acquired a test-prep and admissions services company Ready4. It is one of several acquisitions made by TAL in recent years.

Ready4 says it uses a mobile prep platform that delivers live, on-demand test prep for  the GMAT, GRE, SAT, ACT, PSAT, and MCAT as well as admissions consulting services. The company, based in Boston and in Tel Aviv, says it has served more than 2 million students.

“We’ve been fans of Ready4 since we first invested in the company back in 2014, which was our first investment in a company outside China,” said David Zhao, General Manager of TAL’s test prep division, KMF, in a statement. “Ready4’s expertise in mobile technology and adaptive learning science is unmatched, and allows us to provide greater access to KMF’s leading online test prep courses outside of our traditional market.”

MIT Press Launches MIT Press Direct: MIT Press (MITP), a publisher of books and journals involving science, technology and the arts, and Silverchair have launched MIT Press Direct, a new product built on the Silverchair Platform that facilitates discovery and access to the MIT Press collection of e-book content.

“With the launch of MIT Press Direct, we can now provide direct access to thousands of new and classic MIT Press titles through a platform that is accessible, sustainable, and independent, under terms that are consistent with our values as a university-based publisher,” said Amy Brand, director of MIT Press, in a statement.

MIT Press Direct offers a cost-effective and easy way for libraries to offer MIT Press ebooks to their patrons. Options include the “complete” collection, with nearly 3,000 backlist e-books with approximately 150 new titles added each year, or subject-specific collections.

MIT Press Direct is now available to institutional subscribers and trials are available.

OASIS Platform Integrates With Alma System for Print Book Ordering: A new link between the library services platform Alma and OASIS, which is ProQuest’s search, selection and ordering system, will allow librarians to order print book titles more easily.

Alma users have the option to search the OASIS catalog of more than 38 million titles, check book prices, and execute an order without leaving the Alma interface, according to a news release.

This new feature is the latest step in the integration between OASIS and Alma, following ProQuest’s acquisition of Ex Libris in 2015.

Knewton Launches Altapass: New York-based Knewton, an adaptive learning company, has launched a new all-access pricing structure for Alta, the company’s adaptive learning courseware for U.S. higher education.

With Altapass, students can access multiple Alta products across a single subject area for up to two years for $79.95, according to a news release. Knewton also has lowered the price of a single-course Alta subscription from $44 to $39.95. Students can still purchase access to single Alta courses via a monthly subscription for $9.95 per month.

The effort to make Alta more accessible and affordable comes one year after the product was introduced in the U.S. higher education market in January 2018. Alta was used by instructors at more than 250 colleges and universities during the Fall 2018 term.

University Press of Kansas Launches New Publishing Options: Faculty and researchers at the University of Kansas will have access to new services to help put their work into the hands of others under a new supplementary publishing services program intended to assist scholars interested in increasing the impact of their work.

Publishing services available through UPK include copy editing and proofreading, typesetting, indexing, e-book conversion, cover design, printing, print on demand, sales connections to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Baker & Taylor and Ingram, and marketing and promotion.

Based at the University of Kansas, UPK represents a consortium of six state universities: Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, Pittsburgh State University, Wichita State University and KU.

Wiley, Projekt DEAL Partner to Enhance Scholarly Publishing in Germany: Wiley, a publishing company based in Hoboken, N.J., that specializes in academic and instructional materials, has announced a new partnership with Projekt DEAL, a representative of nearly 700 mostly publicly funded academic institutions in Germany including universities, research institutions and libraries.

Under an annual fee, this three-year agreement provides all Projekt DEAL institutions with access to read Wiley’s academic journals back to the year 1997, and researchers at Projekt DEAL institutions can publish open access articles in Wiley’s journals.

Also under the deal, Wiley and Projekt DEAL will create a flagship open access journal that will publish top-tier scholarship, establish an open science and author services development group focused on innovating and accelerating new publishing approaches, and create and host a new annual symposium for early-career German researchers focused on surfacing cutting-edge ideas on the future of research communications.

Cambridge University Press Launches New Model for Scholarly Publishing: In the past, academic articles that were too long for a printed journal and too short for a book, have been shut out of traditional scholarly publishing.

Cambridge University Press is seeking to change that with a new publishing model that will provide an outlet for world-class research and writing that sits outside the traditional formats of book or journal article.

Work of between 50-120 pages will be published digitally and through print-on-demand as ‘Cambridge Elements’–concise, peer-reviewed guides to key and current topics across all fields of study and research, according to a news release.

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