AAAS continues its commitment to the subscription model to praise from cOAlition S. Are there lessons for other publishers?
Scholarly publishing is virtually unique in that it has significant representation by both for-profit and not-for-profit publishers. This alters the very nature of this segment of publishing, making the not-for-profits more business-like and forcing the for-profits to behave at times like mission-based organizations.
We are likely to see increased mergers and acquisitions activity in the publishing world this year, and scholarly publishing is not exempt from this. There are many reasons for this, including such fundamental factors as low interest rates, but one reason is the growth of open access mandates from funding agencies, which is disrupting the way many organizations do business.
Alan Alda spoke at the AAAS meeting in Chicago on the theme of communicating science to the public. We often view the communication of science, be it in one’s own scholarly journals or in mass media, as somehow distinct and meaningfully different from other communication styles. However, Alda made the point repeatedly during his presentation that this should not be the case. One can accurately convey science with stories and an engaging style that not only brings the reader along in the discovery process, but also preserves the truth and validity of the underlying discovery. Alda made the point that “Communication is not something you add on to science, it is of the essence of science.” Publishers can help to improve how science is communicated; indeed it is at the core of what publishers bring to the process of distributing science.