The world of scholarly communications is constantly evolving, whether through advances in digital technology, or through the introduction of new policies and standards. In a recent blog published in the Scholarly Kitchen, Dr David Crotty describes the current state of scholarly communications as “The Great Acceleration” and argues that the two key drivers for this appear to be consolidation and regulation.
When discussing consolidation, Dr Crotty refers to the increasingly regular mergers and acquisitions that occur within the world of academic publishing. This has seen some of the main players become even bigger conglomerates which, he explains, can create anxiety in the market, especially when critical infrastructure is owned by a competitor. Dr Crotty suggests that, to avoid reliance on competitors for these services, major investment is needed in the development of a shared and open infrastructure, ideally utilising open source software. However, he questions whether there is sufficient scale within the industry to drive such development.
Implementation of ‘regulation’, such as Plan S, is often aimed at accelerating progress or improving standards. Such demands, while worthwhile, also increase the amount of effort required by researchers to communicate and share their work. Dr Crotty again calls for improvements in infrastructure to make things easier for researchers to comply with these requirements, suggesting that “A modular system where each funder, government, and institution can plug in their rules and have those applied to the publication process” would be a welcome development.