Innovating The Publishing Value Chain for Journals


Journal publishers are no stranger to the changes that are occurring within the industry. Like other publishers, they have to change and adapt with the times. The STM publishing industry has a sizeable market share with some estimating that the English-language journal industry revenue at about $10 billion in 2013, as part of a broader STM information publishing market worth more than $25 billion. Most of this revenue is generated from the United States. Recent figures again show an upward growth trend with $12 billion in 2016.

Journal publishers are always trying to constantly innovate when it comes to publishing, reviewing and distributing their journals to a wider audience. At the end of the day, publishing is a business and their main goal is to improve their bottom line. For instance, take the system of peer review. Alex Lichtenstein, editor of the AHR, says “Peer review serves several important purposes. Most importantly, it assures that field-based scholarship remains innovative, up to date, attentive to historiography, and rooted in deep and informed research. It also helps us direct our authors to crafting articles that speak beyond the confines of a particular field to a wider historical audience, even while significantly advancing the scholarship in the narrower case.” Peer review is the foundation of maintaining quality in the scientific & academic publishing space and its quality, needs to be maintained. In the future, peer review will need to utilize every resource that it has at its disposal, experiment with different models, invest more in artificial intelligence and encourage more diversity of thought in the reviewer pool.

While peer review remains an issue going forward, a more pressing concern is the actual workflow itself. Professional publishing needs to cut the ‘middleman’ out to allow for smooth processes. The middleman, in this scenario, is essentially the common disruptors that plague the industry. Some of these include:-

  • Poor communication between authors and editors which impedes the editorial process
  • Multiple outlets that production needs to support which are spread across many print and digital channels
  • Finding new ways to preserve and archive materials

While these are some of the most common challenges, there are many more. But the first step to answering any of them is finding the right partner that adds value to your organization. Most of these publishing services providers are providing platforms that enable journal and STM publishers to create, edit and proofread content, and deliver across print, online & digital channels. Some of these platforms host support services like Highwire, Silverchair, and Atypon, with an 8-day ‘manuscript to publish’ process. More importantly, 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.

Journal publishing will continue to thrive in the years to come. The only thing that could stop journal publishers from achieving their goals is not keeping up with current publishing trends and falling behind the curve. With the right partner, they can create a collaborative relationship that will provide success on both sides.