Archive for May, 2009

Overview of trends in STM journals market

Probably old news for most, but the Library Journal annual survey by Lee Van Orsdel and Kathleen Born is as good this year as ever: Reality Bites: Periodicals Price Survey 2009 (Library Journal, 15 April 2009).

The authors are very pessimistic on the impact of the global recession and the prospect for library cuts. They report ARL saying that most of its 123 libraries will lose funding in 2010. Cuts are estimated at 5-15% for FY10, with the same or higher in FY11, and possibly cuts in FY12 and beyond.

The article also covers open access, reporting that over half of NIH-funded articles are now getting deposited in PubMedCentral, with 400,000 users accessing 700,000 articles each day; Orsdel & Born don’t think the “Fair Copyright” Act will get passed but also say it’s unlikely Obama would sign it into law even if it were passed.

Consortia deals and bundles continue to be the dominant business model – libraries now acquire more than half of their content in bundles of 50 titles or more.

Finally, the authors describe as a “startling twist” Outsell’s Nov 2008 analysis that suggested that simply having the content wouldn’t be enough, and that the future of subscriptions would be in providing workflow tools and services to help users manage the existing ocean of information. Since Outsell (and others) have been predicting the importance of workflow solutions since at least 2002 it’s hard to see what’s startling about it, but it’s certainly an important trend. It’s also another trend (like consortia big deals) that favours large publishers (who can afford to invest in workflow technology and have a breadth of content to underpin it), potentially at the expense of smaller, society publishers. Some 25% of Thomson revenues now come from software-based products, according to this article by David Worlock of Outsell from 2007, which sees workflow integration as a potential disruptive technology.

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RIN Scholarly Communication Toolkit

We’ve been awarded a contract to develop a web-based toolkit to support key stakeholders (especially research funders, higher education institutions, libraries and publishers) to apply the common principles set out in an earlier RIN document, the Research and the Scholarly Communications Process: towards strategic goals for public policy.

I’m working with Robin Beecroft of Searchlighter on this project, which will run from March to November 2009.

The toolkit will provide guidance to relevant stakeholders in relation to each principle constituting the statement of principles, and their roles in applying them. It will encourage reflection on how the agendas of different stakeholders might be aligned behind common goals and conflicts of interests resolved.

In practice, I think this means we will need to create some community around the project if it is to live and grow beyond the initial design. So we’re looking for ideas on how to create online communities around projects. 

We’re currently in a research and consultation phase, surveying and interviewing people from across the scholarly communications spectrum. 

I’ll shortly create a separate blog for the project – watch this space for an announcement.

Web 2.0 and scholarly communication

I’ve posted a new article on Web 2.0 and scholarly communication

This was originally intended for Learned Publishing but they found it too journalistic for their style, and it also overlapped with other articles already in the pipeline. It’s possible I may expand the last section, We built it, why won’t they come?, into an opinion piece, but in the meantime I hope it may be a useful overview of developments for some people.

Topics covered include:

  • What is Web 2.0?
  • Web 1.0 and scholarly communication
  • Web 2.0 and Open Access
  • Blogs
  • Social bookmarking
  • Social networking
  • Podcasts
  • Wikis
  • Data
  • Peer review
  • Reasons for lack of uptake to date

Read more here …

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A practical definition of semantic publishing

At last! a definition of semantic publishing I can understand and that tells me why I might want to bother:

anything that enhances the meaning of a published journal article, facilitates its automated discovery, enables its linking to semantically related articles, provides access to data within the article in actionable form, or facilitates integration of data between papers. Among other things, it involves enriching the article with appropriate metadata that are amenable to automated processing and analysis, allowing enhanced verifiability of published information and providing the capacity for automated discovery and summarization.

From David Shotton’s excellent article Semantic publishing: the coming revolution in scientific journal publishing, in the April Learned Publishing doi:10.1087/2009202

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