Disruption coming to the STM journal field

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Disruption coming to the STM journal field

Aptara Editorial | Posted on 1st Jul 2015

The crux of the science, technology and medical (STM) research field is that progress is constant. New theories are always rising to take the place of previous ideas, with researchers building on one another's work and pushing overall knowledge forward. This is why it's only natural that the technology behind the industry is forging ahead as well. Equipped with platforms such as interactive STM journals, scientists will be able to communicate their latest work in more effective and innovative ways. This improved exchange of ideas is just the latest addition to a vertical that should always be integrating new concepts, containing as it does some of the sharpest minds in the world.

"Debuting programs promise a new take on the STM publishing industry."

Disrupting the market
A recent Research Information piece contributed by Nature Publication Group Corporate Communications Manager Amy Bourke tackled interesting ideas put forth at the recent STM Annual U.S. Conference. Bourke noted that there were vastly differing opinions among speakers as to what model future publications should use to pay the bills. Should these publications be free via the open access model, or should they continue to charge subscription fees? The fact that this is a major point of debate shows just how far into the digital model publishers have gone, as open access to a journal is predicated on the fact that the archives are searchable via the Internet.

Bourke singled out a clear example of how STM journals have moved into the online world by pointing to an article in journal Biotropica that became widely shared on Facebook. The idea of an academic paper like this taking off and going viral shows how far into the Internet age the STM publishing industry has gone. According to Bourke, the article had to do with the conservation of the Brazilian armadillo. The paper mentioned a government promise to save the animal, and after it was widely disseminated, a program was duly set up to fulfill that purpose. As this shows, IT-infused publications can give researchers a platform.


Fields such as chemistry have distinctive STM publishing cultures.Fields such as chemistry have distinctive STM publishing cultures.

There are programs debuting all the time that promise a new take on the STM publishing industry, and Bourke specified that individuals in the industry should be keeping this trend in mind as they move forward. From societies of academics on down to the libraries that offer publications, all sorts of organizations need to consider the tech features and partnerships that will carry them through the evolution of the market. As new ways to approach scientific research presentation emerge, some will undoubtedly be helpful, and it's important to ensure those are used.

Varied state
The state of STM publishing is currently distinct by discipline, according to Chemistry World. The source quoted research by a University of Montreal team led by Vincent Lariviere​, which found that in chemistry, 70 percent of articles are published by one of the "big five" STM publishing houses. Fields such as physics and biomedicine are much less consolidated, with fewer than half of papers coming out via a major publisher. Of course, there is an industry beyond the top five. The American Chemical Society - one of the big five - told the news source that having a multi-provider industry is healthy, and the field as a whole is empowering itself via digital development.

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Digital Content Development, Professional Publishing