When science, technical and medical (STM) journals remain stagnant in their publishing strategies, they may fail to serve their authors' and readers' purposes. The scientific community is based on sharing research, and the publications that hold the resultant information are its lifeblood. As new tech options appear, including interactive STM journals filled with advanced features, the choice becomes clear: Either publishers can keep their old models in place, or they can actively innovate to better serve their constituencies. Those that follow the latter path will likely see their reputations increase, as researchers will gain exciting new ways to communicate with their peers.
"Technology isn't standing still, thus publishers should keep active."
Experiments taking hold
Attempts to push the envelope are underway in the academic publishing field. A recent Pacific Standard piece highlighted these moves, which are occurring outside of the traditional publisher landscape. If those in power are to maintain their close relationship with researchers, they may have to follow the example being set and become more digital because, as the source pointed out, it appears as though gatekeepers in the sciences are failing to follow that most important scientific principle and conduct experiments to find new ways of looking at their industries. One thing is certain: Technology isn't standing still, thus publishers should keep active.
The news provider focused on one attempt to improve the citation rates of papers by equipping them with social media sharing capabilities. With this functionality duly noted, Academia.edu administrators discovered their offerings were being cited more. Interaction is key in the world of academic publishing, as great research is made up of many teams working on a problem, all bringing their own knowledge to the table and finding solutions to complex problems. The news provider noted that the social integration project demonstrates that there are things to do to academic papers beyond just putting them online, and plenty of functionality left to enable.
Michael White, author of the Pacific Standard article, noted that when articles are inaccessible, it is common to just overlook them. This is a clear threat to academic publishing houses that stick to print. White specified that he will only photocopy a piece if it is hugely important. Otherwise, a document must be online to merit his notice. This is the crux of the matter for STM journals: If their offerings are in formats that researchers today don't want to use, they will have trouble winning attention from their industries and staying vital. Being stuck in the past does not make business sense.
Year of progress
Earlier in the year, Research Information presented the results of a Simba Information survey of the academic journal industry. The source noted that there is already pressure in the STM field to embrace new publishing models and open up access to information, and that this is expanding to fields such as law. Simba Information Senior Analyst for Business and Professional Publishing Dan Strempel stated that a priority in 2015 will be to reach the expectations held by contributors and readers alike, according to the sources. He also said that tech integration will be a focus area, as well as discovering the potential of big data and social media.