Scientific, technical and medical publishers face upheaval from open access and open data, but this transition represents opportunity in online services, particularly for competitors that can develop broader discovery tools and dynamic content capabilities to win users’ loyalty—this according to the most recent report from Simba Information, a leader in media and publishing intelligence.
The report STM Online Services 2019-2023focuses on the databases that offer online content or abstracting and indexing and are sold to academic, government and commercial customers. It found that between 2016 and 2018, online services revenue grew at a compound annual rate of 5.1% after elimination of trade between competitors — faster than STM journals or books. Growth was boosted somewhat by currency exchange in the period. Simba estimates the currency impact at roughly 1% over the two years.
Many of the products and services are already considered “must have” information sold in multi-year, multi-million-dollar bundles. As the corpus of data made open by research funder mandates grows, the value publishers provide will shift back toward discovery and integration.
The larger players will ultimately gain the most from this new opportunity. They have largely turned their attention to author and researcher engagement—a key point of differentiation and competition between publishers in the STM online services market.
“We see it when sophisticated reference management tools add social networking to build communities akin to those directed at the general public,” said Dan Strempel, senior analyst, professional publishing at Simba Information. “Researchers find and share articles online. Reference management tools facilitate the sharing, but also bind the customer to a suite of services the way Apple gets its products to work together better to hold customers in its ecosystem.”
Reference management tools like Mendeley and ReadCube are central to these interactions. Publishers are using these tools to begin shaping the future at the desktops of their customers. Legacy services are also adding new features in order to tie researchers more closely to the platform.
STM Online Services 2019-2023 provides detailed market information for STM online services, segmented by: sci-tech standards, patents and online content, drug databases, clinical reference, training and certification, reference management and analytical tools, sci-tech abstracting and indexing, medical abstracting and indexing. It analyzes trends impacting the industry and forecasts market growth to 2023. The report includes an in-depth review of 10 leading scientific and technical publishers, including Wolters Kluwer, Clarivate Analytics, Elsevier, IHS Markit, American Chemical Society, IBM Watson Health and others.