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Research Information:FOCUS ON NORTH AMERICA


High five! A


Deepika Bajaj and Jill Konieczko investigate five trends common across the diverse scholarly publishing landscape in Europe and North America


t a cultural level, it’s not difficult to identify differences that distinguish people of different nationalities and backgrounds. For instance, while Canadians and Americans


both call thin, salted, fried potato snacks chips, their cultural forebears from Britain call the same product a crisp. To work off the calories, Americans pull on sneakers while Canadians don their runners and Brits lace up their trainers. While a number of differences distinguish our cultural surroundings, there are many similarities that unite us within the information industry. In the world of scholarly publishing, there are some common phenomena – cost pressures, demands of ‘mobile’ researchers, and advancements in technologies used for developing, publishing,


and disseminating scholarly content


are making it necessary for publishers and librarians to explore approaches to increased operational efficiency and greater productivity. In short, everyone has to do more with less. So as we converge on Vancouver for the 38th Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Meeting, let’s explore some of the similarities within the information industry, with a particular focus on Canada, the US, and the UK.


1. Library budgets are squeezed, more content is being published, and everyone feels the pain Regardless of time zones or geographical boundaries, librarians have limited funding to meet their researchers’ growing needs for high-quality content. In a recent survey of academic librarians by the Special Libraries Association (SLA), nearly half of all survey participants reported budget decreases over the past two years, whereas a ‘lucky’ 37.5 per cent of participants reported flat budgets. At the same time, the costs of producing and publishing scholarly content across multiple formats and channels escalate publishers’ costs. The increases in the sheer number of trained scientists and the amount of scholarly content being submitted and published is a main driver of their increased costs. To absorb both direct and indirect costs while ensuring viable margins,


publishers continue to seek efficiencies and to spread their revenues across as many sources as possible to keep costs down for buyers. Despite best efforts, these pressures aren’t always commensurate with their libraries’ budgets. So, thanks to controlled spending, publishers and libraries, on both continents, are seeing tough decisions get tougher.


2. Researchers are mobilising in new ways On both sides of the Atlantic, the global research community is exploring ways to heighten researcher connections. Some initiatives include growing professional networks; contacts with new colleagues and new ways of working; and more time and ‘latitude for action’ to focus and increase productivity; and strategic reasons for


‘The STM portion of the industry employs around 90,000 people around the world’


positions at prestigious universities. The top four European destinations for doctoral graduates are the UK, France, Spain and Italy; together, these four European countries host approximately two thirds of foreign doctoral students. In global comparison, the United States hosts the largest foreign doctoral population.


While researcher mobility has been a challenge, especially in Europe, there are many programs that support both globalising research and the researcher. In Europe, EURAXESS- Researchers in Motion is a pan-European program established to support researchers’ desire to pursue research careers in Europe. Within


4 Research Information JUNE/JULY 2016 @researchinfo www.researchinformation.info


Denis Rozhnovsky/Shutterstock.com


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