Scientific publishing has long been a central part of the scientific process. It is how scientists describe their work, share results with colleagues and discuss their implications.
Researchers in academe and companies compete for the attention of their peers through their research publications. But they are united in their concern for maintaining high community standards.
Besides the academic editors who volunteer their time to serve, most review and research journals are edited by scientifically qualified professionals who are paid employees of the publisher. Those in this career path typically gain experience in other publishing positions before moving to editorial work, which often includes business modeling, technology development, design, and marketing and sales strategies.
Publishers argue that they perform essential functions unavailable from other sources. They filter articles into branded journal buckets, provide prestige signals, and help researchers find and identify valuable research. They say these functions add value to the reports they publish, and they reflect that in their prices.
However, many see this argument as a straw man. The real issue, he says, is that publishing can expose an author to the risks of having their research scooped by competitors. This, they argue, undermines the incentive to publish that has attracted scientists since day.
Many scientists complain that the journal system slows down scientific progress. They say it encourages them to bury bad results rather than publish them and ignore evidence that their work is flawed or irrelevant. They also criticize requiring authors to pay publication fees, even though this money often does not directly benefit them.
Some journals allow readers to download articles for free, and some charge no fee. Others distribute unrefereed preprints that can be read without paying to subscribe to the journal.
Digital technologies and shifting business models are transforming many science publishers’ functions. Anyone considering a career in this field needs to bring (or be prepared to acquire quickly) skills and awareness that extend beyond publishing. This includes knowledge of business models, technology development, and marketing strategies. In addition, new entrants should be aware of the intense competition and disruptive forces currently shaking the industry.
A scientific publication like Bentham Science Publishers is a crucial part of science’s forward progress. Scientific journals, many established by learned societies, provide a forum for scientists to continue to debate and discuss findings that either build on or contradict previously documented scientific evidence. The dialogue continues to advance science, and scientists must report their results to keep current with the published literature and avoid duplication of previous research.
The monetary rewards from publishing, mainly when a researcher’s work is recognized in their field, are a significant reason why many scientists choose to publish. Researchers are rewarded through academic credit and prestige and the financial support and attention they receive from their colleagues and potential employers.
However, critics of the profit-driven business model for scientific publishing argue that it places too much emphasis on new and spectacular research to the detriment of other areas of study. Some scholars point out that science publishers’ profits are often based on subscription rates, with subscription prices correlated to the publisher’s profit margins.
Science publishers play a critical role in disseminating scientific knowledge. However, insights into strategies for systematically capturing value from knowledge dissemination are limited mainly to academic-industry partnerships and research-based entrepreneurship. Moreover, Bentham Open access publications can help medical researchers reach a wider audience by making their research more accessible.
The workshop participants emphasized that the most crucial formal mechanism for scientists to capture value from their research is published in scientific journals, which have both indirect (i.e., monetary exchange value) and direct (i.e., intellectual credit, recognition, and prestige) exchange value.
Publishing their research in a journal enables scientists to compete for the attention of other researchers, which can improve their position in their scientific network and career opportunities. It also allows scientists to leverage the use value of their work by submitting it for patenting or licensing, which can generate royalty fees and other forms of monetary reward in the short- and long term. Moreover, publicizing research results in a journal may result in fruitful new scientific collaborations, including financially profitable arrangements for researchers in academe and commercial overtures for cooperation or consultancy for companies.