Kent Anderson returns to update his essential list of just what it is that publishers do.
As the scholarly communication world becomes more complex and the issues we deal with become more politically and emotionally fraught, it becomes increasingly essential that we be able to tell the difference between anlaysis and advocacy. What markers can we look for to help us discriminate between them?
Smaller independent and society publishers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the economies of scale around production, technology, and (most important) institutional sales that can be brought to bear by a large publisher. If you are a society that has been self-publishing for many decades, such effects may appear as only a recent headwind in a long publishing tradition. This headwind, however, is most likely not a temporary zephyr but rather a permanent fixture of the STM and scholarly publishing landscape, and one that will only increase in intensity. To understand why, it is helpful to look at the two vectors on which scale operates in STM and scholarly publishing: horizontal and vertical. While horizontal scale has long been the province of commercial publishers, society publishers are typically organized to take advantage of vertical scale. The headwinds are presently blowing along the horizontal plane, from the perspective of the society publisher.
Publishers have to distinguish between features, products, and businesses. Not all features can become full-fledged businesses. Sometimes the best business case for a feature is to link it to an established business, where it adds value to assets that are already in place.
Since the late 1990s there have been two drivers of growth in STM and scholarly publishing: site licensing and global expansion. As successful as these activities have been, however, we appear to be nearing, if not a peak, at least a plateau. Institutional library budgets have not kept pace with the growth in global research output. At the same time, institutional market penetration is nearing saturation for many publishers.
So the question is, where is the growth going to come from?
An alien landing in the scholarly and scientific publishing world today, reading all the opinions about how to make things more efficient and effective, might be forgiven for thinking there are only authors, readers, librarians, and reviewers. After all, those […]
We often talk about products and services, but which is our primary value base?
The governance of not-for-profit publishing entities plays a large role in those entities’ success or failure.
In a disruptive publishing environment, publishers cannot rely on a purely editorial strategy, as many of the issues now facing them are not editorial in nature.
Publishers’ brands matter very much to consumers, but sometimes people are unaware of the role brands play in purchasing decisions.
Despite predictions and analyses to the contrary, STM publishing hasn’t been disrupted yet. Perhaps there’s more here than meets the eye . . .