In general, we view any publisher below the size of Wiley as unlikely to have the financial resources to mount a major challenge to the research data analytics businesses of Elsevier and Clarivate. There are, however, a couple of noteworthy comments:
Holtzbrinck must decide what to do with Digital Science. The business was not included in the merger of Springer and Nature Publishing Group (reportedly, because its losses would saddle the performance of the combined entity). Digital Science’s original strategy was to build an open, neutral infrastructure, but that course is slightly changing. In part, the culture internal to Digital Science, with its collection of entrepreneurs pursuing their vision means that integrating the companies into a single, cohesive offering is very difficult. In part, Holtzbrinck probably does not wish to invest vast amounts of money to grow it to the point where it can mount a serious challenge to Elsevier or Clarivate. On the other hand, adding Digital Science to Springer Nature may allow them to tell a more credible story to investors, which may help selling an IPO which looks difficult to attempt again.
Some smaller, independent data analytics companies are also gaining traction. Academic Analytics is one of the most prominent, but other companies are also launching specific products and services targeting the academic research community.