Driven by tools and online content, open access fees and digital book collections, 2018 saw the scientific and technical publishing market post its strongest sales growth since 2011—this according to the most recent report from Simba Information, a leader in media and publishing intelligence.
The report Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2019-2023 found that the global scientific and technical publishing market grew 3% to $10.3 billion in 2018. Currency exchange fluctuations inflated growth somewhat in 2018, but even taking that into account, this is the highest growth rate tracked by Simba since 2011 when market growth exceeded 4%.
The findings stand in stark contrast to media reports that the industry is facing a long-term decline due to the rise of open access publishing. There have been more reports of university libraries canceling their journal subscription packages in 2018 and 2019. The industry also faces threats from websites that freely share pirated copies of copyrighted research papers.
The online services segment continues to grow the fastest of all content delivery segments, faster than journals and much faster than the shrinking book sector. Simba Information forecasts that scientific and technical online content will surpass books in total sales by year end 2019. Online content will continue to gain share at the expense of books over time. Online content continues to outpace other publishing activities as the market shifts from traditional formats—especially print books purchased by individuals—to licensed databases delivered to users’ workflows.
Declining print books continue to be the largest factor holding down the underlying pace of growth.
The report also found that China’s influence in this market continues to grow. The United States has long been the world leader in gross research and development spending, but China is quickly closing in and will pass the U.S. in forecasted spending in 2019. Research grants come with requirements to publish the findings in peer reviewed journals and China incentivizes its scientists and researchers to publish in the most influential Western journals.
Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2019-2023 provides detailed market information for scientific and technical publishing, segmented by delivery medium: journals, books, online content, abstracting and indexing, and other activities (audio, video and CD-ROM). 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 Elsevier, Springer Nature, Clarivate Analytics, John Wiley & Sons, IHS Markit, American Chemical Society and others.