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Research Information:FOCUS ON NORTH AMERICA


Lagging behind and striving ahead


Phill Jones describes the peculiarities of the US scholarly publishing market, and the trends it is facing


T


he scholarly communication landscape has changed significantly over the last two decades due to the rise and continuing evolution of digital publishing. From the


very first PDFs and the transition to the site licence business model, to the decline of the print subscription agent business, and growth of aggregated article databases, advances in


10 Research Information JUNE/JULY 2016


information technology have consistently both forced change and provided new opportunities.


The growth of research collaboration, as evidenced both by the growing internationalisation of authorship of articles and the growing number of large collaborative data projects, have begun to change the needs of our ultimate customer – the academic


researcher. With this growing trend towards internationalism and the inherent borderless nature of the web, it would be intuitive to expect that differences between markets would gradually disappear. As I recently said to a colleague during the recent STM association annual US meeting in Washington DC: ‘There’s no such thing as an “American” researcher, or publisher anymore.’ To which he replied ‘No, but there are American universities’. I would personally add that of course, there are also American funders. While the web has flattened and shrunk the scholarly publishing world in many respects, it has also afforded greater opportunity for stakeholders to measure, incentivise


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