Gatherings of an Infovore*: What’s Next?

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Whether the “new normal” will become our “forever normal” over the next year or two is starting to be examined by researchers and professionals across the spectrum of human endeavor. There is no argument that life on Earth as we knew it is now truly ever-changing. The French saying Plus les choses changent, plus elles restent les mêmes may finally be put to the test.

The specific idea for this column came from a report issued in November 2020 by Cactus Communications entitled “Imaging the Post-COVID World of Scholarly Communication.” Authored by senior staff of the various Cactus companies and divisions, it is a thoughtful look at discrete areas concerning publishers. Starting with transforming workflows through discovering revenue streams to incorporating virtual approaches and evolving operating models, they explore the current state of technologies and extrapolate how these will affect our near-term future. You can download the entire report here:

Scholarly publishing in the wake of COVID-19
Miller RC, Tsai CJ. Int J Radiol Oncol Biol Phys. 2020;108(2):491–495.

Scientific globalism during a global crisis: research collaboration and open access publications on COVID-19
Lee JJ, Haupt JP. High Educ. 2020.

Micropublishing during and after the COVID-19 era
Yamada Y. Collabra: Psychol. 2020;6(1):36.

Editorial−embracing how scholarly publishing can build a new research culture, post-COVID-19
Derrick GE. Publications 2020;8(2):26.

Open-access publishing and the coronavirus
Grove J. Times Higher Education. 2020.

Covid-19 is an opportunity for gender equality within the workplace and at home
Wenham C, Smith J, Morgan R. BMJ. 2020;369:m1546

Publisher Actions

The following is a list of actions taken during the pandemic. Some may become the basis of publishers’ actions in the future.

What publishers are doing to help during the coronavirus pandemic
Association of American Publishers. 2021.

Below is a partial list of industry actions, which will be regularly updated at the above URL:

In closing, I want to share some thoughts from Susan Robertson at Cambridge University, UK:

“As Phillip Mirowski once said; never let a good crisis go to waste. What can we do better when using digital technologies, mindful of also generating benefits like lowering our carbon footprint? What do we still need to do in-person, but in ways that are respectful of our right to social distance? And how can we hold on to the social, so that it finds expression not in the idea of distancing, but in creative ways of being together?”

Susan’s words are from her contribution “University life in Cambridge in the two meter society” to Reimagining the new pedagogical possibilities for universities post-Covid-19: an EPAT Collective project (

Barbara Meyers Ford has retired after a 45-year career in scholarly communications working with companies, associations/societies, and university presses in the areas of publishing, and research. If interested in connecting find her at and mention that you are a reader of Science Editor.


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