Gatherings of an Infovore*

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Disruptions in Scholarly Publishing

Disruption (noun): an interruption in the usual way that a systemprocess, or event works (from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Taking the definition of disruption literally, in the 45+ years I’ve been in scholarly publishing there have been only 2 true disruptions: the application of computer technology to the publishing process and the introduction of the open access business model. However, there have been significant issues which have challenged publishing professionals in maintaining standards in the areas of accuracy, quality, veracity, and timeliness of content. These issues focus on several aspects of a publishing program, most frequently cost containment, ethics, and peer review.

This distinction between actual disruptions and issues is my own. IMHO we often aren’t as careful with terminology as we might be—especially considering what we all do every day. That being the case, organizing this column was more challenging than usual. Nonetheless, if you’ll bear with my

attempt, however awkward, those of you interested in delving into some of the controversies regarding these topics should find an article or two worth your time to read.


“Help TRANSPOSE Bring Journal Policies into the Open” (November 1, 2018)

Unlocking Research Tag Archives: disruptors “Disruptive innovation: notes from SCONUL winter conference” (September 26, 2018)

“Alternative Ways of Obtaining Scholarly Articles and the Impact on Traditional Publishing Models from a UK/European Perspective” (February 16, 2018)

“Takeaways: Disruptors in Professional & Scholarly Publishing” (November 9, 2017)

Open Access

“From pilot to launch: A step-by-step approach to developing an OER program and OA journals” (October 23, 2018)

“Open Future” (September 7, 2018)

“MIT Trials First U.S. ‘Read and Publish’ Agreement (June 15, 2018)

Financial Issues

“OASPA Offers Support on the Implementation of Plan S” (October 2, 2018)

“Open Access Offers Financial Sustainability, as Publishers Increasingly Combine Article Publishing and Access in Deals” (April 22, 2018)

“Sustainable Publishing Strategies In An Age of Disruption” (March 13, 2018)


“To thwart predatory publishing, we need to work together” (October 11, 2018)

“How Is the Scholarly Publishing Community Evolving Alongside the Wider Culture?” (June 8, 2018)


Peer Review

“Assault on peer review a new threat” (December 6, 2017)

“Peer review has some problems̶—but the science community is working on it” (July 12, 2018)

“When to trust (and not to trust) peer reviewed science” (July 12, 2018)

“Peer Reviews Either Sandbag or Propel Agile Development”

*A person who indulges in and desires information gathering and interpretation. The term was introduced in 2006 by neuroscientists Irving Biederman and Edward Vessel.