Publishing has evolved over the last 20 years. The world around it has become more digital and so have the processes related with it. As the world has embraced the digital age, the demands have grown as a result. In electronic professional publishing, readers obtain journal articles directly from the publisher in parallel to the library route, particularly for open access, though access for subscription-based journals is primarily managed by the library. Publishing is a business, and publishers have to distribute their journals to as big an audience as possible.
So, how big is the STM publishing industry? It is estimated to be over 5,000–10,000 journal publishers globally. The main English-language trade and professional associations for journal publishers collectively include about 650 publishers producing around 11,550 journals, that is, about 50% of the total journal output by title. Of these, some 480 publishers (73%) and about 2,300 journals (20%) are not for profit. In terms of revenue produced, the academic publishing market brings in revenues close to $25.2 billion annually. Therefore, one can certainly imagine the pressure that some of these STM publishers may be under. Even a minute drop in production could cost those journal publishers millions of dollars, as there are numerous competitors ready to swoop in and fill in the demand gap.
Besides the high-demand requirements, there are other challenges facing the scientific journal publishing industry. Some of these include:
- Slowdown in manuscript to publishing
- Optimizing workflow processes
- Controlling escalating costs
- Improving the journal article’s discoverability
- Boosting monetization prospects
Several journal publishers do not have in-house resources to meet the production demands. Several of them do an internal assessment and find that their weaknesses outweigh their strengths. This forces them to go to outside vendors, as they need to improve their bottom line and streamline their editing workflows. For instance, your team could handle several copyediting processes, but due to several corrections passes later, the production stalls and so does the output of the journal. Therefore, by using a strategic STM/Journal publishing services provider, a journal publisher could automate this process and improve their journals’ time to market.
Some publishing service providers are creating automated platforms that enable journal and STM publishers to create, edit, and proofread content and deliver across print, online, and digital channels with an 8-day “manuscript to publish” process. This aids the journal workflow process a great deal. They may include features such as the following:
- End-to-end HTML-based workflow on AWS cloud with multiple deliverables
- Support to both issue- and article-based workflows with issue lineup facility
- Facility to integrate with any peer-review systems
- HTML editor for authoring, editing, and revisions
- e-Proofing system for proof distribution, corrections, and collation
- Multichannel delivery—XML, PDF, ePub, ePub3
- Real-time tracking and reporting
More important, they will be able to deliver high-quality content at a faster turnaround time, combined with project management capabilities, and boost the publisher’s efficacy in the process. Furthermore, the faster a publisher can churn out a journal; the more likely they are to turn a profit.
Irrespective of the kind of publisher you are, the business is collaborative and choosing the right journal service provider could hold you in good stead for the future. With the aid of smart thinking, innovative technology, and keeping track of your budget, you can stay competitive in an ever-evolving market.