Research and Web 2.0: Technology, Innovation, and Actor Constellations

Research and Web 2.0: Technology, Innovation, and Actor Constellations

Diego Ponte (University of Trento, Italy) and Stefan Klein (University of Münster, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8057-7.ch043
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The scientific publishing industry has witnessed a plethora of innovations across the life cycle of writing, publishing and archiving of scientific journals. Open access is only the visible tip of an iceberg that contains new players and new services and modes of publishing—which span from new review processes, online citation indexes and social media tools—that have become available over the past 20 years. One might have the impression that disruptive innovations are underway and that many of the well-established themes of digital transformation, such as business model and service innovation, disintermediation, ProSuming and new pricing models, have had a profound impact on the market of scientific journals. Nonetheless, the commercial academic publishing houses (the incumbents) so far have not only successfully defended but even extended their market position. By categorizing the innovations underway and relating them to the constellation of actors in this market, the authors reflect on and try to explain the lasting influence of traditional publishers in the market.
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The Modern Scientific Publishing Industry Distilled

Three main steps constitute the core of academic publishing: research and documentation, evaluation of the results and publication of the results (Björk & Hedlund, 2004; Garvey & Griffith, 1972). Once the research process is completed, authors write their manuscripts and submit them to the publishers. After receiving the manuscript, publishers usually delegate editors (other researchers) to review the manuscripts or to identify peer experts who evaluate the quality of the scientific content. Depending on the reviews, the manuscripts are revised and resubmitted, rejected or accepted. If the manuscript is accepted for publication, it is published in journals, proceedings or books.

From a historical point of view, the publication of scientific journals dates back to the seventeenth century with the birth of the first two scientific journals: the Journal des Scavans and the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Before that, scientific communication was based on correspondence between scholars. There are several reasons which explain the establishment of scientific journals:

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