What does the future of scholarly publishing hold?

“Dynamic” is the word that comes to mind when we think about the scholarly publishing scenario today. Everything seems to be about transformation or reformation. Old systems are being questioned and new systems are being proposed with the promise of revolutionizing academic publishing. Given this situation, how progressive is academia and how has it responded to the call for movements such as open access and altmetrics? Also, where will these tides of change lead us?

In a fantastic interview with Editage Insights, Stacy Konkiel, Outreach & Engagement Manager, Altmetric, answered these questions and shared her views on how things are shaping up in the academic research and publication .... Here're some extracts from the interview:

Today, almost everyone is talking about open science and open data. How would you define or describe open science and open data? How open do you think is the scientific and publishing community to open access as a concept today?

Open science and open data both exist on a spectrum, in my opinion. They are not only about making research available in an open access publication. For example, you can adopt certain “open” practices like licensing your data with an Open Data Commons License, while still choosing to archive it in a repository like ICPSR (Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research) that can require a subscription for access. (Though, I’d definitely encourage all Editage Insights readers to make their data freely available on a local repository or on Figshare, barring data sensitivity concerns!) Or you can choose to publish your work in a toll access journal, while archiving your preprint in your institutional repository—this is merely a different “flavor” of open access than the one that journals like BioMed Central and PLOS have made popular.

I believe the scientific and publishing communities are both more open than they ever have been before to open access (though we definitely have a way to go, as there are still many conservative scientists and publishers out there!).

The (recent) past of scientific communication was all about traditional forms of peer review and the reigning impact factor. The present is about questioning existing systems and the emergence of newer publishing models, open access, data sharing, and alternative methods of research evaluation. What, according to you, does the future hold?

I’ve recently wagered some bets about the future of scholarship, which I’ve excerpted here:

  • Better understanding: We’ll start to see more nuanced conversations about what “impact” really means, as well as an increased acceptance of more varied flavors of impact.
  • Better dissemination: Publishers will continue to experiment with new ways to make research consumable online, building on important work like eLife’s Lens and PeerJ’s PaperNow.
  • Better bottom lines for OA publications: Publishers, societies, and libraries will also invent and test new open access financial models, moving academia away from the idea of “one size fits all” OA publishing.
  • Better recognition: The many varied scholarly contributions of individuals will finally be recognized by the powers that be, whether it’s related to data curation, designing protocols, or scholarly service activities (which creates discrete important but currently undervalued outputs like peer reviews, blog posts, and so on). Perhaps we’ll even be more nuanced in our recognition, seeing those activities as merely different from (not lesser than) traditionally valued scholarly activities.

The full interview is available on Editage Insights.

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