SSP/NASIG – How One Publisher Is Responding to the Changing World of Scholarly Communication

saving up for this year’s price increases

Speaker: Jayne Marks, Vice President of Global Publishing, LWW Journals, Wollters Kluwer

We have to be adaptable and willing to change to respond to the market. Online platforms are only 19 years old (ejournals are 22), and they have changed a lot in that time.

What will journals look like in 2025? What about books?

Some assumptions people have had: Open Access is the answer to everything; move publishing back to institutions; journals cost less when they aren’t printed; textbooks would be cheaper online; self-publishing will replace publishers; publishers don’t add any value to the educational process.

STM journal output continues to grow while library budgets remain flat at best. The number of researchers in the world is growing as well, and there is a correlation between the output and the researchers. Library budgets in North America are growing the least. There is a huge rise in papers submitted from China in recent years, and not all of them can be published.

The trend in STM is to make the article a hub that links out to other content: data, podcasts, video, etc. Data is becoming a significant piece of research. There are also more tools available to manage the research reputation of scholars, which is becoming more important.

Print is not dead. It’s in decline, but still needed. Physicians want print as an option as well as online, tablet, and smart phone versions. Students still want print textbooks, as well as online resources from the library. Pharma advertising is focused solely on print.

Access and archiving mandates for open access are increasing, though mostly from institutional mandates rather than from funding sources. Open access is here to stay, and as far as publishing is concerned, it’s another business model. OA use is different in different disciplines: medicine/bio is focused on Gold, but most other science focus on Green. There’s also an increase in mandates requiring data to be made available publicly as well, and with that come questions about what data is needed and where it is stored/delivered.

Publishers see pressure on costs and revenue, with demands for content in multiple formats and an increasing number of submissions and requests for new journals. There are more formats, with various apps and delivery models. Requirements for usage metrics across all the formats puts pressure on internal systems and speed of development. OA mandates require creative business models. Increasing US regulations are driving revenue out of medical publishing for pharma.

Publishers are responding by assessing the needs of their target demographics through extensive market research. The challenge after that is taking the diverse wants and needs and developing something that can be implemented universally and automated.

New business models: gold or hybrid OA; platinum OA is where a society or institution pays all costs of publications so that neither author nor reader pays, generally only in emerging markets; new journals are being launched, with OA or blended or bundled models; advertising-funded publishing is not working.

New editorial models: post-publication commentary, open peer review, community-based peer review, and independent companies providing peer review services; non-English speaking services like translation, detailed content editing, compliance and ethics policy assistance, and recommendation engines.

There is experimentation all over the market, with new startups and services being rolled out all the time. Publishers are working with them, and there are varying degrees of adoption by authors and readers.

Listen, question, engage — it’s all about understanding the customers. Publishers need to engage more in the scholarly communication process.

Public policies are driving change and impacting scholarly communication, driving innovation and experimentation. Free drives engagement; revenue will come from new places. Identifying correctly and solving customer problems will drive opportunities. Journals and books will become content to be used in new ways.