Renew Publishing Consultants release results of two large scale research projects

  • How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications (2018)
  • A Landscape Review of Streaming Video (2018) 

(3 September 2018) Renew Publishing Consultants has spent a significant amount of time over the last 12 months researching two areas affecting scholarly publishing. The results of both projects are published today and have been made freely available for the community on its website: www.renewpublishingconsultants.com/expertise.

How Readers Discover Content in Scholarly Publications 2018 is the latest in a series of reports spanning 13 years identifying the trends in user discovery behaviour. The latest research was carried out with the support of leading publishers and intermediaries, and attracted responses from over 10,000 people working and studying across all sectors, subject disciplines and regions. Headline results include:

  • SciHub is responsible for around 5% of downloads in the wealthier nations (and must pose a special threat since the content available there is normally the final published version).
  • Around 60% of the time people are reading articles from a “free” resources (it is likely PMC is responsible for much of this in the medical sector).
  • In the academic sector as a whole, abstracting and indexing databases (A&Is) still appear to be the most important starting point in search. Academic search engines (such as Google Scholar) are more important than general search engines.
  • Library discovery seems to have peaked in its importance-rating and is only holding a strong position in Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
  • Whilst searching as a discovery method dominates, it still only accounts for around 45% of people’s behaviour. Around 55% of the time people found the article they needed via other methods, eg following links on social media, emails and alerts, browsing other resources.

The report has been published under an CC BY NC licence and can be found at renew.pub/discovery2018. The supporting data has been made freely available and can be accessed via Figshare: https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7016735.v1

A Landscape Review of Streaming Video 2018 is the output of a project Renew Publishing undertook through March and April 2018, interviewing 25 organizations involved in scholarly communication to report on their use of video and audio, to highlight successful case studies.

Organizations were asked to discuss their challenges, successes, and how they were measuring return on investment in their use of either video or audio. Key findings are:

Video is excellent for

  • demonstrations of any kind (surgery, psychotherapy, lab techniques)
  • showing behaviour (studies of animals or people)
  • showing movement (cells, industrial machinery, artists/dancers at work)
  • promotion (of brands, articles, science) through social media
  • lay summaries of complex information
  • teaching and learning

Audio is excellent for

  • Building rapport – and by extension, community

The challenges organizations reported were around creating sound business cases in order to develop their capabilities in creating new kinds of content. Finding the right people, the financial resources, and demonstrating the success of innovative ventures through ROI presented the most common challenges. Despite this, all of the interviewees were certain of the importance of both video and audio to our industry going forwards, and there were some examples of organizations successfully monetising their video and audio content.

About Renew Publishing Consultants

We provide strategic consultants to organisations involved in scholarly communications: publishers large and small, societies, intermediaries, and libraries. Our work helps our clients understand the fast-changing landscape of our industry, and helps them articulate, plan and delivery their vision for the future. Our consultants we provide unrivalled and completely independent comprehensive knowledge of the entire publishing process, from author and funder right the way through to the reader.

Contact: Tracy Gardner, tracy@renewconsultants.com, +44 (0)7884 438007

The announcement is here.