Challenges and changes in scholarly publishing
Whatever your interest is in the realm of scholarly publishing, one thing is clear – the landscape is changing dramatically! The most challenging aspect of what is happening is that nobody knows exactly how things are going to evolve and what direction will be the most viable in the future. What we do know is that the internet is destined to play an increasingly important role, but we can only imagine exactly how the internet will eventually shape the future of scholarly publishing. Here are two important changes that I am anticipating, and the scope of change that seems possible:
- The roles and responsibilities of publishers. The internet is making it possible for almost anyone to become a publisher, and is changing the ways that traditional publishers do business. Publishers play a significant role in assuring certain standards of quality in their publications. They cover the cost of getting the publication from manuscript to print and they manage the task of distribution of the product. The internet provides an avenue for individuals to take up the role of publisher, but as many have discovered, the task is far from simple. Nevertheless, watch for dramatic changes in how publishing is done in the future.
- Peer review and quality assurance. The reliability and validity of what is published as “scholarly” literature is a prime concern for all. The traditional approaches to peer review have recently come under scrutiny to determine how effective these practices are in assuring quality in scholarly literature. The results are mixed, but no convincing case has yet been made to abandon traditional practices based on the level of quality that it produces compared to other practices. However, the internet has given anyone access to critique through various forms of interactive services, enabling a wider participation the process of critique and comment on what is published. Open access web resources, such as the “wiki” formats, have been demonstrated to provide almost instant revision and correction of material published on the web. This kind of access is likely to have a dramatic effect on how scholarly quality is monitored in the future.
What this means for a scholarly journal like ANS will continue to emerge over time – and “over time” has an increasingly short time frame! This blog is one avenue that we have established to provide access for anyone to comment and challenge all things ANS. Let us hear from you – you are part of shaping what emerges in the future!
I was particularly struck by your comments on peer review and the possible compromising of quality. It’s a fair point.