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How Digital Downloads Are Changing Academic Publishing

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Mar 28, 2019

[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

Publishing on scholarly subjects such as science, technology and psychology is most strongly associated with physical books and journals. However, due to evolution of the publishing industry, online publishing has an increasingly important role in putting out academic texts. Digital downloads of journal articles and eBooks are increasingly desired and necessary in the modern world.

Open-Access Materials

Plan S is a Europe-based plan that aims to accomplish open-access publication of all academic research that received funding from public grants by the year 2020. The suggestion that publicly funded research should be OA is shaking up the academic publishing world, and about a third of all articles published fall under this category. The concept of “open access” is still evolving, and there is much negotiation to be done over how to meet the goals of having articles be available free of charge and without traditional copyright applied. Academic journals and presses must adjust to this new standard. As of 2018, digital downloads of academic articles per year have reached over 2.5 billion, with researchers indicating in surveys that they would like even more digital availability.

Growth Rates in Publishing

The 2016 Harbottle & Lewis Independent Publishing Report has found at 32 percent, about a third of those who do academic publishing have had growing sales. The market for STM ebooks was measured as having a growth rate of 23 percent in 2011, more than five times the growth rate for the STM publications market as a whole. Overall, the STM publishing market makes up a large part of the academic market, at $25.7 billion.

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