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Trends In Scholarly Communication

Guest Blog by Sean Dorris

This is a guest blog. The information has NOT been verified by J.M. Northup. Readers are encouraged to do their own research.

With the development of internet and digital communications, the ecosystem of scholarly communications has undergone a massive change. In this article, we describe the emerging trends in scholarly communication:

1. Upstream movement of publishers

Most publishers would evolve from print medium to digital medium; therefore, the traditional mode of publication (print medium) would see a decline in sales volume, whereas the digital mode of publication (online medium) would see a phenomenal increase in sales volume. Publishers would now become “content owners.”

2. Frictionless access to scholarly communications

Most common causes of friction were the long waiting periods of publication. Digital publishing is easy with sophisticated online technologies. Causes of friction would be resolved soon through important alliances going through. For example, the emergence of hybrid publishing model and megajournals.

3. Scientific research collaborations would be better with disruptive models of publishing

Both Sci-Hub and ResearchGate claim to be independent publishers, which have helped collaborations between researchers all over the world at minimal cost. They have managed to provide free access to many research papers, which were hidden behind hefty pay-wall of SCI (science citation index) journals. These companies have disrupted the exploitative model of publishing.

4. The emphasis of research communications would now be on authors

The ecosystem of research communications would be now dependent completely on authors. Consider the significantly growing trend of preprints, which has become immensely popular among researchers. Preprints of research works are now being “owned” by authors.

5. Author-centered mode of research communications

The false-positive results are never presented in any of the research papers, which is important information for use in future works. The center of engagement has now shifted from journals to scientific researchers, that is, authors. To accommodate this significant change in scientific communications, journals would have to adopt content driven models of publishing.

6. Articles would no longer be considered as mere “research objects”

The current format of manuscript articles would no longer in the near future. The final published work would be an important component of a research field. Although the article and journal would still be relevant in the near future, the format of manuscript would be dramatically different.

7. A dramatic increase in preprints of life sciences

In life-sciences, the demand for preprints has been increasing exponentially. In the first quarter of 2018, a preprint service known as medRxiv was launched specifically for medical papers. Thus, a new ecosystem of preprints would be developed for life sciences.

8. The popularity of open peer review would increase exponentially

The popularity of open peer review would increase tremendously, that is, the names of peer reviewers would not be masked under the term “anonymous.” Thus, the transparency of the system would be improved.

9. Emergence of new standards of publication

New standards of publications would be developed in the near future. Authors, publishers, and librarians would be able to collaborate and communicate in a much better way. For example, authors and publishers are impacted by data citation tools. Editors, reviewers, and production are impacted by “open reviews” of manuscripts.

10. Smaller publishers increase collaboration

Manuscript Common Approach (MECA) is a collaborative initiative created by publishers of small societies; this platform adds value to academic work. Through this platform, permission is sought from authors before transferring and exchanging content from their respective manuscript.

11. Scholarly content to be accessed by mobile search

According to Google’s latest data trends, scholarly content is now being increasing searched through mobile devices; this disparity between mobile and static device search is striking (50% vs 10%) for scholarly content. In scholarly communication, the “new data” is being accessed from Google scholar by mobile devices.

12. Applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Currently, the demand for Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications is increasing steadily; this holds true even for the scholarly market. The needs of readers, authors, and editors would be met by AI applications. With these AI applications, articles would be read by machines; moreover, some elements could even be re-written by machines.

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