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Society journal publishing in the 21 st century Ian Russell Chief Executive Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers

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Presentation on theme: "Society journal publishing in the 21 st century Ian Russell Chief Executive Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers"— Presentation transcript:

1 Society journal publishing in the 21 st century Ian Russell Chief Executive Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers UKSG 33rd Annual Conference and Exhibition: Edinburgh

2 Overview Introduction Society Publishing in the 21 st Century –Background –What society publishing brings to the table –Surviving and thriving today –What new/changed roles could societies take on

3 What is ALPSP ? The international association for all non- profit publishers –learned societies –professional associations –university presses –Inter-Governmental Organisations –institutes, foundations, charities etc Other members of the scholarly communication chain (including commercial publishers) may join as Associate Members

4 Founded in the UK in 1972 Now the largest association for scholarly publishers in the world –360+ members –of which more than 270 are publishers –publishing over 10,000 journals (almost half the world’s total output) –as well as books, databases and other products Members in ~40 countries

5 What does do? Representation and advocacy Professional development Networking events / opportunities –Virtual –Physical Collaborative initiatives Good Practice leadership Information and advice

6 What are learned and professional societies?

7 Organizations that exist to promote an academic discipline or group of disciplines (Learned) or to support a specific profession, e.g. law (Professional) Controlled by their members Primary membership made up of individuals Usually non-profit, often a charity

8 What are learned and professional societies? Subject coverage can be very general (science) or extremely niche (headaches) Often national bodies Membership can: –Be open to all –Require some form of qualification –Be by election

9 Why do societies have publishing interests?

10 Why are Societies involved in publishing? Fulfils mission statement of promotion and dissemination

11 Learned and Professional Society - missions A key part of mission statement is almost always advancement and dissemination of the subject –“The object for which the Institute is hereby constituted is to promote the advancement and dissemination of a knowledge of and education in…” Publishing is a natural way to achieve this…

12 Why are Societies involved in publishing? Fulfils mission statement of promotion and dissemination Allows national society to have international reach Provides kudos and gravitas Generates income? Profit?

13 Surplus / Profit ~1/3 do not make a surplus Median surplus just 15% of revenue Income to society (%’age of total revenue): –Median 20% for self publishers –Median 30% for those that contract out But can be important (e.g. Royal Society) Christine Baldwin What do societies do with their publishing surpluses? (ALPSP / Blackwell, 2004)

14 How do societies spend their surpluses? Support for the subject community as a whole –keeping conference fees low –providing bursaries for meetings –offering research grants Public education Support for the society and its membership in particular –providing free or reduced-price copies to members –keeping membership dues low –generally supporting the running costs of the organisation

15 How do societies spend their surpluses? 2/3 1 Subsidy of members’ copies of the journal (96% of respondents did this) 2 Supporting the organisation in general (82%; of those who did, median 60% of surpluses was applied to this) 3 Reinvestment in the publishing business in particular (42%; 30%) 4 Subsidy of conference fees (33%; 7%) 5 Subsidy of membership dues (32%; 15%) 6=Provision of bursaries (26%; 7.5%) 6=Public education (26%; 7.5%) 8 Reinvestment in the organisation’s reserves/endowments (25%; 17.5%) 9=Provision of research grants (21%; 25%) 9=Other (21%; 25%)

16 How do societies spend their surpluses? 3/3 “Other” includes –Publication of a newsletter –Activities related to continuing professional development, e.g. qualifications, exams, training –Activities for students and subsidising student membership –Prizes –Running scientific meetings –Maintaining their own library –Press and PR work –Advice to / lobbying of government –Special projects identified by the institution

17 Importance of society publishers Over 97 percent of society publishers publish three or fewer journals, with almost 90 percent publishing just one title ~ 10,000 societies that own at least one journal Collectively own around 55% of the world’s journals (~ 2/3rds self published) Commercial publishers play a role in 62% of the world’s journals owning 45%, contract publishing 17% Raym Crow, Publishing cooperatives: An alternative for non-profit publishers (First Monday, Volume 11, Number 9)

18 Pros and cons of Societies as publishers Close to subject –Know what’s going on (often helping to shape it) –Subject expertise close to hand –Know movers and shakers Goodwill from community Restricted by subject Often small –No economies of scale –Few staff covering lots of different roles –Difficult to innovate or even stay up-to-date Can be conservative and slow to move Difficult to access investment funds?

19 “In an increasingly electronic environment, scale has become all- important, and scholarly societies have increasingly turned to outside partners for their journal publishing” Roger C. Schonfeld & Ross Housewright Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies, April 7, 2010

20 Non-profit Large number of mostly small publishers Not much economic leverage when negotiating for publishing services Little market presence when disseminating their content Commercial Small number of large publishers Economies of scale Purchasing power Big Deals Commercial vs non-profit

21 Would it matter if all societies outsourced their publishing to commercial partners?

22 Three key questions: What do learned and professional societies bring to scholarship that would be missed were they not involved in publishing? What do societies have to do to thrive and survive as publishers if the landscape tomorrow looks much as it does today? What new / changed roles might societies take on in the publishing value chain in the future? (…and how?) Others?

23 What do learned and professional societies bring to scholarship that would be missed were they not involved in publishing? Money – the so called “scholarly dividend” –But no divine right to earn money from publishing –Societies could get same return if publishing outsourced to commercial publisher Support of unprofitable products A deeper understanding of their subject? Diversity, richness –But what does this really mean?

24 Innovation? Can be innovative, fleet of foot, and entrepreneurial –And because there are so many of them lots of experimentation Can be conservative and risk averse Large publishers more likely to experiment (e.g. with web 2.0 technologies) Society publishers often have limited access to investment funds (unable to raise money on open market)

25 Society subject knowledge = new journal launches? 202 publishers responding have launched 1,463 new titles between per publisher (cf 5.25 in , 6.02 in ) Larger publishers more likely to launch new journals Commercial publishers more likely to launch new journals John Cox & Laura Cox Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey 2008 (ALPSP, 2008)

26 Three key questions: What do learned and professional societies bring to scholarship that would be missed were they not involved in publishing? What do societies have to do to thrive and survive as publishers if the landscape tomorrow looks much as it does today? What new / changed roles might societies take on in the publishing value chain in the future? (…and how?) Others?

27 What are the issues? Selling (under a subscription model)

28 Do librarians prefer non-profit publishers? 45.6% of librarians state that they would prefer to purchase from non-profit publishers (with 21.5% indicating a strong preference to do so) However, elsewhere in the same survey the profit status of the publisher was consistently considered to be the least important factor when making purchasing decisions Majority of the responding librarians, 54.5%, have no preference to purchase from non-profit publishers Ian Russell ALPSP Survey of Librarians: Responding to the credit crunch - what now for librarians and libraries? (ALPSP, 2009)

29 What are the issues? Selling (under a subscription model) –Sales representation –Getting squeezed by ‘Big Deals’ Visibility Product development / editorial development Launching new products Staff knowledge, expertise and time Best practice

30 What do societies have to do to thrive and survive as publishers if the landscape tomorrow looks much as it does today? Join trade associations! Band together? Collaborative / cooperative products, services and functions Constantly improve editorial product (= investment) Efficiencies / cost savings –How will societies fare going e-only? Follow best practice –Adherence to standards –e.g. Preservation and curation

31 Long-term preservation 52.4% have formal arrangements for preservation (cf 42% in 2005) Portico and LOCKSS most popular Small publishers less likely to participate A danger since these are the publishers / journals that are probably most at risk! John Cox & Laura Cox Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey 2008

32 Three key questions: What do learned and professional societies bring to scholarship that would be missed were they not involved in publishing? What do societies have to do to thrive and survive as publishers if the landscape tomorrow looks much as it does today? What new / changed roles might societies take on in the publishing value chain in the future? (…and how?) Others?

33 What new / changed roles might societies take on in the publishing value chain in the future? Reduce operations to organizing peer review only Some other way of providing ‘authority’? Helping users get to trust worthy content Improving the corpus of literature post publication Funding publishing from other things rather than funding other things from publishing Web 2.0 technologies? Communities –Online –International

34 Percent of faculty responding “very important” to the question “How important is it to you that your scholarly society provides each of the functions below or serves in the capacity listed below?” Roger C. Schonfeld & Ross Housewright Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies, April 7, 2010

35 Web 2.0 technologies New questions in % of publishers offer social tagging, further 34% intend to Only 25% of publishers offering wikis/blogs, forums, podcasts etc Large publishers more likely to be implementing these technologies Negligible difference between commercials and non-profits John Cox & Laura Cox Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey 2008

36 What new / changed roles might societies take on in the publishing value chain in the future? Reduce operations to organizing peer review only Some other way of providing ‘authority’? Helping users get to trust worthy content Improving literature post publication Funding publishing from other things rather than funding other things from publishing Web 2.0 technologies? Communities –Online –International

37 Should society publishers be leading the way to open access publishing?

38 Open access Author self-archiving – ‘green’ Open access publishing / Author-side payments – ‘gold’ –No need for large sales-forces –Eliminates motives for online piracy –Capitalizes on good relationships with authors –In keeping with mission of dissemination

39 Open access journals 4 fold increase in the number of fully OA journals from 199 in 2005 to 786 in % of publishers offer at least 1 fully OA journal Funding sources less experimental –Author pays fees; grants; subsidies Of those using author-pays: –34% charge submission fees (cf 8% in 2005) –94% charge publication fees (cf 84% in 2005) –20% charge both John Cox & Laura Cox Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey 2008

40 Open access journals Author paysAdvertisingSubsidy by institution Grant / industry sponsor Commercial % 65% 7.0% 1.3% 17.4% 0% 1% Non-profit % 16.8% 11.5% 1% 33.0% 35.3% 12.7% 23% Average percentage funding by profit status

41 Optional Open Access Dramatic increase in percentage of publishers offering ‘hybrid’ models –9% in 2005 –30% in % of these offer hybrid on all their journals Take up is low: –52.9% have take up of 1% or less –73.5% have take up of 5% or less –91.2% have take up of 10% or less Fees range from under $500 to over $3000 but majority (69%) in the range $ $3000 John Cox & Laura Cox Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey 2008

42 “online communications technologies have changed… this study suggests that, as yet, these changes have remained relatively marginal, and faculty members cannot imagine traditional forms of interaction being supplanted by online mechanisms” Roger C. Schonfeld & Ross Housewright Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies, April 7, 2010

43 “Despite several years of sustained efforts by publishers, scholarly societies, libraries, faculty members, and others to reform various aspects of the scholarly communications system, a fundamentally conservative set of faculty attitudes continues to impede systematic change” Roger C. Schonfeld & Ross Housewright Ithaka S+R Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies, April 7, 2010

44 Questions / discussion

45 A word on prices… Prices of journals owned by commercial publishers are 4-5 times higher than those owned by societies Prices of journals owned by societies but published by commercial publishers 3 times higher than those owned by societies BUT These comparisons are not comparing like with like –Based on full list price –Most self-published society journals are sold as individual subscriptions at full price –Most commercially published journals are sold in packages at a deeply discounted price

46 References Baldwin, C What do societies do with their publishing surpluses? (ALPSP & Blackwell) 1 Cox, J & Cox, L Scholarly Publishing Practice Survey 2008 (ALPSP) =-1 Crow, R Publishing cooperatives: An alternative for non-profit publishers (First Monday 11, 9) Russell, I ALPSP Survey of Librarians: Responding to the credit crunch - what now for librarians and libraries? (ALPSP) d=-1 Schonfeld, R.C & Housewright, R Faculty Survey 2009: Key Strategic Insights for Libraries, Publishers, and Societies (Ithaka S+R) 2009/Faculty%20Study% pdf


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