A new report on the Chinese journals market leads off a busy month of STM publishing news.
The Chinese journals market is now worth approximately 24 billion yuan (£2.7bn), with China producing “more research papers than any other nation apart from the United States”, according to a new report produced by the Publishers Association. Published ahead of last week’s Beijing International Book Fair, the PA Market Report China Journals highlights some of the dilemmas faced by Chinese scholarly publishing on its path towards a higher profile in world research, such as whether to publish in English or in Mandarin, and in international journals or in its own newly-created prestige English-language journals, twenty of which are being funded by the government each year.
The role of the Chinese government remains a key factor: though funding for research has increased markedly in recent years, and now comprises more than 2% of Chinese GDP, the report also notes that the state’s “close ideological control of content and processes” can act as a challenge both to creative thinking from Chinese researchers and to successful collaboration with international publishing partners. Digitisation is accelerating rapidly, with online sales rising 17% in 2014, and increasing numbers of journals publishing content online first while digitising their backlists, often in their entirety. But though it’s English-language journals that are attracting the majority of international attention, the report points out that they currently make up less than 3% of Chinese journals in total.
Overall, the authors of the report, Chu Xiaoying, vice general manager of Charlesworth China, and consultant Professor Paul Richardson, conclude that the Chinese market is “simply too big to ignore”, and will most likely “be one of the most exciting and important markets for specialist publishing in the 21st century.” It’s a verdict seemingly supported by this year’s Nature Index Rising Stars supplement, which sees Chinese universities occupy the top nine places in its list of research institutions showing the greatest improvement in performance over the past four years, determined by their contributions to sixty-eight high-quality journals. With a further thirty-one institutions featuring elsewhere in the top one hundred, China supplies almost half of the most improved institutions globally.
It’s been a busy month for acquisitions and announcements. One of the most notable deals has seen Wiley purchase Silicon Valley-based publishing software company Atypon in a deal reported to be worth £91m. The company is perhaps best known for its Literatum platform, which provides STM publishers with tools for website development, content targeting, analytics and ecommerce. Currently hosting more than sixteen million articles from nearly nine thousand journals, the platform is behind many publisher platforms, including Taylor & Francis’s journals site Taylor & Francis Online, relaunched earlier this month with a new responsive interface optimised for mobile, and improved content discovery. Under the terms of the deal, Wiley will have no access to data from other publishers using Literatum, and will become an Atypon customer itself.
Taylor & Francis has also signed a deal with independent submission and peer review service Peerage of Science to trial the latter’s “innovative and transparent” process across thirty journals from its Botany, Ecology, and Zoology journal portfolios. Peer review will likewise be the focus of attention at this year’s SpotOn London conference, to be held on Saturday November 5th at the Wellcome Collection, London. Hosted by BioMed Central, Digital Science and the Wellcome Trust, the conference asks the question “What might peer review look like in 2030?” and the hashtag to follow will be #SpotOn16.
In other news, Swiss biomedical publisher Karger has announced new partnerships with Kudos and Figshare to improve the discoverability and visualisation of the research it publishes. New journals have been launched by both theInstitution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC): the IET’s Cyber-Physical Systems: Theory & Applications is open access and will publish its first issue in December 2016, while the RSC’s Sustainable Energy & Fuels will publish monthly from Spring 2017, with content from 2017 and 2018 available for free on registration. And SAGE has announced a new platform for its Research Methods suite of resources to guide researchers through the research process, partnering with Global Village Publishing to deliver a responsive interface, semantic recommendation, and better tagging to its estimated seven million users.
Alastair Horne writes our STM and Academic newsletters.