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A Publisher's New Job Description

by | Nov 8, 2012 | 1 comment


Annette Thomas

Annette Thomas, CEO of Macmillan Publishers, kicked off the conference with a brief history of Macmillan and her career.  She noted that Macmillan is very focused on science and education and how publishing supports scientists.  Her view is that publishers are here to make the scientific research process more effective by helping them keep up to date, find colleagues, plan experiments, and then share their results.  After they have published, the processes continues with gaining a reputation, obtaining funds, finding collaborators, and even finding a new job. What can we as publishers do to address some of scientists’ pain points?

  • In the area of publishing discoveries, the business model has changed.  Publishing itself has changed; for example  Nature, a Macmillan journal, has published the entire human genome and the output of the Encode Project.
  • Students are mining information using a combination of new tools and search algorithms.  Altmetric is one of those tools which allows researchers to track publications and join in conversations with colleagues.  Readcube is a free service that lets scientists organize their collections of PDF reprints, store them in libraries, and search them.  All Nature content will be accessible in Readcube.
  • Scientists need help organizing their laboratories.  Labguru helps scientist organize their “stuff” so they can spent more time doing research.  1DegreeBio is an electronic marketplace for their  materials.  BioRaft helps scientific departments organize their compliance activities.
  • Sharing results is about more than publishing articles.  But many results do not get published.  Figshare allows scientists to get credit for all of their research by making unpublished results trackable and citeable.

What makes a result indispensable?   We must be able to measure its outcome.  It must be global, and it should contribute to and benefit from network effects.

Thomas is very optimistic about the future of publishing and libraries.  There is a huge opportunity for them.


1 Comment

  1. Philip Wallas

    Good write-up! At Charleston, Thomas said there was a 4th quality necessary for a service to be indispensable, but she couldn’t recall it during the plenary, then promised to provide it somehow. Did anyone learn what that was?


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