May 272015
Evolution or revolution? Publishers’ perceptions of future directions in research communications and the publisher role

Research Councils UK (RCUK) and the British Library, on behalf of the Global Research Council (GRC), hosted a workshop entitled Unlocking the future: Open Access communication in a global research environment in April 2015 to bring together publishers, funders, libraries and other stakeholders from across the world to discuss perspectives on open communication in a [read more]

Jun 152013
The Handbook of Journal Publishing

My review of The Handbook of Journal Publishing, Edited by Sally Morris, Ed Barnas, Douglas LaFrenier, Margaret Reich has just been published in Learned Publishing. Here’s a short extract: Sally Morris and her co-authors promise us “a thorough guide to the journal publishing process, from editing and production through marketing, sales, and fulfillment, with chapters [read more]

Mar 232013

I gave a presentation on Understanding how researchers and practitioners use STM information at the Association of Subscription Agents annual conference The 3 Rs: Reach, Readership and Revenues last month. The (over-long!) subtitle was How data analytics and field research are transforming our understanding of researcher and practitioner use of STM information, but more specifically [read more]

Mar 232013
Academic and Professional Publishing - book review

My review of Academic & Professional Publishing, edited by Robert Campbell, Ed Pentz and Ian Borthwick has now been published in Learned Publishing where it is (currently) freely available . I liked it, a lot: The fact that book publishing deadlines (especially multi-contributor works) sometimes means that the rapid pace of events can overtake some [read more]

Feb 252011

I was pleased to have been invited to talk at the Association of Subscription Agents Annual Conference this week, because otherwise I would most likely not have gone and this would have meant missing an interesting meeting. Nearly all the talks were informative and engaging, and even if not one then usually the other. For [read more]

Nov 042009

Mark Ware Consulting has been commissioned by Knowledge Exchange (, a partnership of JISC (UK), SURF (Netherlands), DEFF (Denmark) and DfG (Germany), to conduct a study into the feasibility of submission fees in open access journals (i.e. as distinct from publication fees). An open access business model based on submission charges could have real advantages [read more]

Oct 132009
The STM Report: An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing

STM has just released The STM Report: An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing. A follow up to my 2006 report, Scientific publishing in transition: an overview of current developments, this new report collects the available evidence and provides a comprehensive picture of the trends and currents in scholarly communication.

May 152009

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 [read more]

May 132009

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 [read more]

Oct 162007

One measure of the growing importance of blogs in scientific/medical communication is that the US National Library of Medicine has now provided guidance on how to cite a blog entry in an academic paper. All the research I have seen recently suggests that the number of scientists regularly reading scientific blogs is a very small proportion (certainly under 10% in most fields), and the proportion actively blogging is lower still, but there’s no doubt the trend is upwards.

Sep 162007

It will be worth keeping an eye on Elsevier’s newly launched OncologySTAT, which provides advertising-supported free access for registered users to over 100 Elsevier oncology journals (press release).The site will provide a lot of information. OncologySTAT integrates a multitude of authoritative professional cancer information sources, such as peer-reviewed research, news and regulatory updates, a professional drug monograph and interactions database, chemotherapy regimens, and conference coverage into one easy-to-use online destination.

Sep 162007

The UK All-Hands e-Science 2007 meeting took place on 10-13 September – the full programme with some links to presentation slides is here. Mostly very technical and/or infrastructural and rather a long way from the publishing process but it’s worth being aware of developments that potentially impact on publishing and the use of publications, e.g. [read more]

Sep 042007

Ironically, perhaps because the sciences have led in the adoption of new forms of scholarly communication such as disciplinary repositories and online journals, they were less interested in supporting University-sponsored initiatives, while the Arts & Humanities faculty express greater interest in alternatives, the need for change, and a call for discussion and help.Senior faculty may be the most fertile targets for innovation in scholarly communication…. Because they are also involved in making academic policy and serving as role modelsfor junior faculty, their efforts at innovation are likely to have broader influence within their departmentsSome of these findings echo those of earlier surveys, such as the large-scale surveys undertaken by the CIBER group at City University (e.g. the dissociation between attitudes and behaviour.)The finding that faculty are conservative in their publication behaviour because of the pressures of the rewards and promotion system also won’t come as a surprise to most observers, however dismaying to advocates for new models.

Sep 042007

The Financial Times today publishes a signed opinion piece by James Boyle, professor of law at Duke Law School,, and a co-founder of Science Commons, entitled The irony of a web without science, arguing in favour of the proposed US legislation that would require open access to authors’ postprint versions of articles a year after publication…. This is no Voltairean call to strangle the last commercial publisher with the entrails of the last journal rep. Commercial journal publishers and learned societies play a valuable role in the assessment and dissemination of scientific knowledge – though we might wish that the availability of worldwide, free distribution had not caused their prices to rise quite so sharply.

Sep 032007
Choosing a publishing partner: advice for societies and associations

I have just uploaded a preprint of a new article, “Choosing a publishing partner: advice for societies and associations” (pdf), which is due to be published in Learned Publishing in its January 2008 issue.Abstract:For societies and associations seeking a publishing partner, the healthy competition between publishers means that the deals on offer have never been better…. This article, based on the author’s experience as a publisher-turned-consultant advising societies, offers a framework for selecting a partner based on a careful analysis of what the society needs from its publisher in the long term. We conclude that underlying the performance of the best publisher partners are a good understanding of the needs of societies and their journals; a strong service orientation; and an ability to plan strategically for each journal on the basis of facts and data.

Aug 242007

But despite PLoS ONE having been surprisingly successful at attracting authors (given that authors have to pay $1250 publication charge for a journal with no impact factor and low peer review standards), it has been much less successful at getting users to comment on articles.PLoS ONE has therefore hired a well-known science blogger, Bora Zivkovic as Online Community Manager with the specific responsibility for drumming up comments…. It may be that the BMJ Rapid Responses were seen as simply an electronic version of an already existing (and popular) feature, the Letter to the Editor, whereas the Nature and PLoS One examples were wholly or partly attempts to develop new forms of peer review.

Aug 222007

The advice to societies is to work out in advance exactly what it is you want from a publisher before you start the beauty parade: as in many things in life, if you don’t know what you want, you probably won’t get it.But it seems this “journal transfer market” is potentially under fire as a result of the decision by the American Anthropological Association to move their journals from the University of California Press to Wiley-Blackwell…. They’ve got a membership that in some disciplines is increasingly convinced that the way to do that is more openness in publication and more innovation in publication, but these societies have got sort of addicted to these revenue streams from their publication programs over the last few decades, and are trying to figure out if they want to make the transition to a new model and — if so — how do they navigate the transition.“Of course, the publishers (both commercial and not-for-profit) that are generating these addictive revenue streams argue that their model is the one that has delivered the biggest increase in access to literature ever: their retained capital allowed them to make the technology investments that Lynch speaks of, and the (consortia-based) licensing model has broadened access enormously while simultaneously cutting the average cost per journal article use by an order of magnitude or so.

Aug 212007

TechTarget continues to show its older-established rivals how to do it in online B2B publishing:TechTarget Announces Record Second Quarter 2007 Financial Results: Financial News – Yahoo!Finance:Online revenues increase to record $16.3 million; up 27 percent over prior year quarterTechTarget, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTGT – News) today announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2007…. Adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, as adjusted for stock based compensation) increased by 31% to $7.6 million compared to $5.8 million for the comparable prior year quarter.“Q2 was a productive quarter for TechTarget.

Aug 212007

Eric Schmidt Defines Web 3.0:Google CEO Eric Schmidt was recently at the Seoul Digital Forum and he was asked to define Web 3.0 by an audience member…. He said that while Web 2.0 was based on Ajax, Web 3.0 will be “applications that are pieced together” – with the characteristics that the apps are relatively small, the data is in the cloud, the apps can run on any device (PC or mobile), the apps are very fast and very customizable, and are distributed virally (social networks, email, etc).Most scientific publishers probably think of Web 3.0 (if at all) in terms of the semantic web.

Aug 212007

SciVee’s creators hope that that the appeal of a video or audio explanation of paper will make it easier for others to more quickly grasp the concepts of a paper and make it more digestible both to colleagues and to the general public.SciVee was also discussed in the Fink & Bourne’s article Reinventing Scholarly Communication for the Electronic Age in the August issue of CTWatch Quarterly which I mentioned recently. It’s possible to add synchronised audio to powerpoint presentations using general (non-scientific) services like Slideshare but the SciVee implementation includes a lot of useful dedicated tools, such as links to the references and figures (which pop up in separate windows without interrupting the presentation), a link to the full text (ditto), the ability to switch between a view of the presentation slides and the abstract, which will make it much more useful for this particular application.

Aug 202007

Communication & Technology Watch Quarterly’s August issue is devoted to The Coming Revolution in Scholarly Communication & Cyberinfrastructure, guest-edited by Lee Dirks and Tony Hey of Microsoft. I haven’t had time to read it yet but there looks to be a lot of interest, including these that I turned to first:The Shape of the Scientific Article in The Developing Cyberinfrastructure, by Clifford LynchWeb 2.0 in Science, by Timo Hannay…

Aug 142007

These publications are the primary source of information for everyone involved in scientific research, allowing them to understand the current scientific models and consensus and making them aware of new ideas and new techniques that may influence the work they do…. When misinformation makes its way into the literature, it may not only influence career advancement and funding decisions; it can actually influence which experiments get done and how they are interpreted.

Jul 122007

The Istanbul Declaration signed at the recent OECD World Forum looks interesting, calling on governments to make their statistical data freely available online as a “public good”:[quote]It’s not entirely clear to me how much different this would make to access, given that major Western governments like UK and USA already make their statistical data available. [check this]What does look really interesting, though, is the potential to combine this raw access to data with new online tools like Swivel, ManyEyes and MappingWorlds that allow ordinary users to manipulate, visualise and share datasets.

Jul 112007

Topic PagesMechanisms of immune tolerance to allergensSerine ProteasesIt takes a bit of imagination to envisage how useful these pages could be when presented with such a bare-bones attempt.Perhaps it’s unfair, but I couldn’t help comparing these Topic Pages with the Nature Publishing Group’s Reports, which also offer an aggregation of information on particular topics (albeit aimed at a broader audience, with a mix of news and science), e.g.: Nature Reports Stem CellsNature Reports Climate ChangeIt seems unlike Elsevier to show publicly such an unfinished product – compare for example the extensive global testing and refinement programme that preceded the Scopus launch. In fairness, Elsevier clearly intend to develop the products before the official launch and to offer considerably expanded functionality, including (it sounds like) social features:At the official Topic Page launch later this year, the functionality of the Topic Pages will allow scientists and researchers to alter the content and provide feedback, allowing each topic to be shaped by the suggestions made by the research community.

Jul 102007

Tony Hammond of NPG has now blogged an account of his recent talk on OTMI at the BioNLP 2007 conference (Biological, translational, and clinical language processing):I was fortunate enough to talk early in the morning while people were still lively (talk is here) and there were several questions afterwards both in the Q&A and later during the breaks and the poster session at end of the workshop…. That is, most of the features are parametrized and it is up to individual publishers to determine e.g. whether a snippet is a paragraph or a phrase, whether snippets are randomized or not, etc.Of course OTMI is far from being the only game in town as regards text-mining or semantic enrichment of STM literature.

Jun 282007

To take an extreme case, Yahoo reported a couple of weeks ago that the Chinese authorities were considering a move to try to end the confusion caused by the fact that more than a billion people are now sharing just 100 surnames, and 93 million have the family name Wang.More pertinently for this publishing, the problem of author disambiguation has long been an issue for searching bibliographic databases such as PubMed/Medline…. The idea here is that a copy of the database (in this case, Medline initially) would be placed on a wiki, and the authors and their colleagues – that is, the scientific community at large – would do the necessary work.At present the WikiAuthors proposal appears stalled, pending the development of other WikiMedia projects (e.g. WikiProteins).I was struck by some similarities with Spock, the current hot new search engine.

Jun 282007

From Matthew Cockerill’s post on the BioMedCentral blog:uBioRSS is a nifty service from the MBLWHOI Library at Woods Hole, which harvests bibliographic information about new articles from publishers’ RSS feeds, and then passes them through the uBio taxonomic classification system which identifies any species that are mentioned in the article, and classifies the article appropriately.This makes it possible to browse the literature taxonomically, so that, for example you might view a list of all the latest articles on cetaceans far more easily than can be done using plain text search.uBioRSS is a great example of the way in which semantic enrichment can add value to the literatureOf course it’s not new for third parties to add tagging to content e.g. to improve the search experience (e.g. product names – Google Product Search, place names – MetaCarta, etc.) but this is a nice example of what can be easily done with STM content. I’m sure this sort of thing will become increasingly common.

Jun 192007

Timo Hannay’s announcement is here and the press release here.The site is very nicely implemented, with all the Web2.0 features we have come to expect from Nature Publishing Group, including tagging (documents and people), voting for articles, and open discussion on articles, etc. Perhaps not surprising, by far the largest single subject category is Bioinformatics, with 20 documents…. Nature hopes the stature of the partners will allay fears about Nature’s plans for possible future control of the content.The site differs from some of the earlier preprint sites (like arXiv in physics) in that it accepts powerpoint presentations as well as journal article preprints, e.g. this interesting presentation: Open Notebook Science Using Blogs and Wikis.

Jun 152007

The UK Serials Group has now published the final report on the feasibility study into developing and implementing journal Usage Factors (UFs).The summary says that “based on these results it appears that it would not only be feasible to develop a meaningful journal Usage Factor, but that there is broad support for its implementation.”

Jun 142007

I did a short piece on the launch of two online ad networks (Reed Performance Network and GlobalSpec) a couple of days ago.Now Scott Karp has a very interesting post on Publishing 2.0 on online ad networks and in particular on Openads, the open source ad serving software company…. But for highly targeted advertising, independent niche publishers have a unique relationship with their readers, and are in the best position to judge what is most relevant to their readers (and Google has shown that relevancy is a huge driver of advertising value).

Jun 122007

RPN is fully transparent, giving publishers complete control over which advertising campaigns run on their website, while letting advertisers see all websites where their ads will appear.On the same day, GlobalSpec (a specialised search engine covering engineering and technical industries) announced the launch of the Industrial Ad Network, an online banner advertising network designed to reach members o the manufacturing, industrial, technical and engineering community. From the press release:Companies who participate in GlobalSpec’s Industrial Ad Network can include their banner advertisements on more than 200 Web sites within the industrial sector, resulting in millions of targeted impressions each month.

Jun 112007

This, in turn, allows them to solicit community feedback and establish priority over their results or ideas.A bioinformatics resesarcher, Pedro Beltrão, who has been participating in the beta testing, has a posting about it here…. Despite the long-time success of subject-based preprint servers in other disciplines (arXiv in physics, RePEc in economics, etc.), there has been very little interest to date, and indeed some active hostility[1], to the idea in biomedical research.

Jun 092007

Under the agreement, Google will digitize “significant portions from CIC library general collections,” with each university to contribute “collection areas of particular strength and distinction.”… as a part of the agreement, the consortium will be able to create a “shared digital repository” that will enable CIC librarians to access the full content and “collectively archive and manage” as many as five million public domain works held across the CIC libraries.

Jun 082007

From publishers’ perspectives, the parts about open access will be of particular interest:The vision for 2010 refers to the wish that a “high percentage of newly published scholarly outputs [be] made on available on terms of open access” and speaks of “a growing recognition of the benefits of making academic content more available”…. Universities UK was:“firmly behind” JISC’s approach to the development of open access repositories, suggesting that repositories were “vital to universities’ economies and to the UK economy as a whole.”Although Universities UK has recently produced a Policy Brief on open access (I blogged about this a few days ago here) the presentation is much broader (although it opens with a slide on OA), covering efficiencies in managing academic assets, data-driven science, lifelong learning and preservation.

Jun 052007

The service had been previously announced and commented on earlier (e.g. see Barbara Quint’s excellent piece in Information Today from April).Scitopia is a federated search portal – that is, the search terms are sent simultaneously to the publications websites of the member societies, and the returned results ranked and presented on a single page. At present soem 3 million articles are covered.The full list of societies is given on the Scitopia website, and includes a number of American Institute of Physics member societies, plus ASME, SIAM, IEEE, Institute of Physics, etc. Some patents and (US?)

Jun 042007

A summary version is available for download from the BL website (see the link at foot of page here), with the full version available on request.According a 2002 paper by Tenopir & King cited in the report, some 15% of articles read by scientists are older than five years. Furthermore the author, Jan Willem Wijnen reports that: “Analysis of usage statistics of STM publishers’ platforms has revealed that about 20-25% of the downloaded articles are at least five years old.