Scholarly Publishing: Challenges, Opportunities, and Trends

[Approximate Reading Time : 4 mins]

The life cycle of scholarly publishing comprises the following procedure: creating academic content, reviewing the content, sharing it with the academic community and the public via reputed peer reviewed journals, and preserving it for posterity.

In this process, there are four major parties involved:

  1. Scholar writers: These individuals create (research and write) the academic content.
  2. Editor and peer reviewer: These individuals screen submissions, review content, suggest revisions, interact and correspond with authors, and vet the final copy. They are in fact the quality controllers.
  3. Publishers: Their role is to bring the journal into the market.
  4. Subscribers: These comprise institutions and libraries that buy the publications and allow the scholars and students in their community to access the same.

Challenges and Opportunities in Scholarly Publishing: An Overview

  • Increasing cost of journals/stressed library budgets: The last three decades have witnessed the cost of publications spiral upward by almost 10 percent every year, handicapping libraries in their quest to buy journals and books with the most value for their customers. Commercial publishers influence libraries (with economic inducements) to buy packages vis-à-vis individual titles, which are not always the requirement for the academic community.
  • Monopolies: Mergers and acquisitions among commercial publishers have created virtual monopolies in some disciplines.
  • Growing volume of research: Statistics attest to the doubling of knowledge every 15 years and a concurrent increase in the volume of scientific research. This translates to more pages, more titles, and more pressure on the peer review system.

As with all challenges, opportunities reveal themselves on the other side. The biggest, most obvious, and most exciting opportunity is, of course, open access (OA).

  • OA has been revolutionary in making research open, accessible, and affordable. OA is the entire body of academic literature that is freely available online for use. OA content ranges from the gamut of freely available content with no restriction to content that may not be reused without permission to peer reviewed articles to accepted versions placed in digital repositories.
  • OA has been a catalyst in scientific advancement since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. Scientists shared their results prior to the same being formally published. Publishers helped accelerate peer reviews of COVID-19 research papers and put them up online for free.

Emerging Trends in Scholarly Publishing

  • Artificial intelligence (AI): AI is ubiquitous. Here are some ways in which AI can be deployed in academic publishing:
    • Sift through a deluge of research papers using natural language processing to help find the right document, data, and information
    • Help correct language, grammar, scientific tone, and style
    • Know trending research topics
    • Select relevant citations
    • Check for plagiarism and inaccurate data
    • Make academic content discoverable with voice search
    • Help in peer review
  • Inclusive openness: Open up the workflow of research outputs to be able to review and evaluate processes, methods, and data.
  • Transformative agreements (TA) for OA: Increased TA contributes to growth in OA publishing.

With digitization being at the forefront in scholarly publishing, there is no better time to connect with reputed academic publishers who are partners for the best in the world. Do visit us at to review our experience and expertise in scholarly publishing.


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