Publishers Still Don't Prioritize Researchers | The Scholarly Kitchen
flavoursofopenscience's bookmarks 2021-01-26
By Roger C. Schonfeld
In a talk I gave at Frankfurt in fall 2015, I led publishing executives on a painstaking tour of my poor experience using the digital services provided by scholarly publishers and academic libraries. My goal was to provide a wake-up call that would establish the need to collaborate in more strategic and user-centered fashions. Now, five years later, I want to review some areas where publishers continue to fall short.
There is no question that major publishers are talking more about users and indeed have made some real progress. Judy Verses expressed the idea several years ago in urging publishers to treat researchers as their “North Star.” Kumsal Bayazit has spoken of the need to reduce the many frictions that researchers face in their work. The STM Association’s most recent Top Tech Trends forecasts recommends an increasing focus on the user. This is good progress to be sure. Many startups have the luxury of a blank slate, allowing them to build an architecture that truly centers on the researcher, but for incumbent organizations taking action is no small thing. Given platform fragmentation, efforts to implement the standards necessary to improve user experience is a significant enough undertaking. But truly centering on the researcher requires far more profound change, not just at the level of user experience but in terms of rethinking existing businesses and organizational models.