Are libraries becoming publishers?

The world of digital publishing is full of unexpected convergences and transformations. Just at the moment we are seeing a lot of innovation across the scholarly ecosystem, with grass-roots initiatives springing up, some of which could point the way towards the future of scholarly publishing, while others just yield useful learnings. In all this ferment, one perhaps surprising thing is how much innovation can currently be seen in the libraries space. Continue reading

What CEOs Say

[This post was inspired by Joe Esposito’s Scholarly Kitchen piece reporting on a roundtable of startup-CEOs. Thanks Joe!]

At the 2015 STM meeting in Frankfurt just prior to the Book Fair, the last open session of the day was a CEO Roundtable. These were not CEOs of startups, but CEOs and presidents of some of the world’s most established publishing brands:

  • American Chemical Society: Brian Crawford
  • Institute of Physics: Steven Hall
  • Copyright Clearance Center: Tracey Armstrong
  • Elsevier: Ron Mobed
  • Wiley: Philip Carpenter

To facilitate the roundtable, a moderator posed a question, and then all five CEOs responded. There were eight questions.   I will use company names rather than individual names in the readout below. In some cases, the response of a particular CEO was so distinctive that I will quote him or her. Continue reading

Why is progress in semantic technologies so slow?

A shiver ran down the collective spine of humanity in 1997 when Deep Blue bested the then world grandmaster of chess, Garry Kasparov. Chess grandmasters, as we all know, are super-smart: if a computer could beat Kasparov, what hope for the rest of us? Surely, the machines were taking over.

Almost two decades later, they palpably haven’t. At least not yet. Continue reading

Where is the Conversation About Articles?

It has been nearly two decades since The BMJ introduced “Rapid Responses” with HighWire, and nearly as long since Pediatrics introduced “Post Publication Peer Review” (“P3R”). These were the two earliest examples of the use of HighWire’s “eletters” technology. Unlike some other innovations of that time – e.g., “download to PowerPoint” – there were few followers to these leaders in online commenting.   Even after Tim O’Reilly declared that Web 2.0 was upon us – when the readers on the web became writers, and a conversation ensued – only a few HighWire-hosted journals picked up commenting features. Commenting seems everywhere on the web these days but scholarly journals.

Where did the conversation go, and why isn’t it happening in journal sites? Continue reading

What’s the Definition of “Read”?

[This is the third in an occasional series of posts on the results from HighWire’s researcher-interview series. The previous posts in the series were about how researchers locate information on topics new to them – the value of “grey literature” – and whether journal brand was important in selecting what to read – yes and no.]

2002 was a time when people still used the term “e-journal” to refer to scholarly journals that were online. This “e” suggested that not all journals – and certainly not all reading of journals – was done online. But a decade later the “e” was pretty much dropped, since all scholarly journals were online, and most all reading started with an online search or browse.

In 2002, we asked researchers how many journals they read. The answer was generally in the range of 3-5.   But a decade later, we asked the same question and the answer was general in the range of 8-10. People reported they were reading twice as many journals, within the space of a decade.

How could this be?   Continue reading