On Tuesday 14 April, we’ll be bringing the latest edition of our popular What is a Publisher Now? events to The Faculty at The London Book Fair. This year our attention turns to the trends that are starting to define the long-term future of the academic and scholarly publishing industry. As scholarly publishing enters the mature phase of its relationship with digital technologies and open access increasingly becomes the ’new normal’, we’ll be taking a look at the next challenges facing the sector are. Whether its experimenting with more porous forms of paywalls, broadening the scope of site licences or expanding into fast emerging markets like South Africa and Mexico, academic publishing rarely sits still and is always on the cusp of innovation.

This event is based on the predictions that Ingenta CEO Michael Cairns made for the academic publishing industry in 2015 at the beginning of this year. And we’re delighted to welcome a selection of speakers, chaired by CEO of ALPSP Audrey McCulloch to this edition of What is a Publisher Now? who can each lend their own direct expertise to the themes Michael identified back in January.

1. Porous Paywalls

Subscription paywalls have been the key to the success of academic and scholarly publishers success in the first phase of the digital era. By adopting site licenses, an innovation first introduced by software companies to control access to their content, academic publishers have succeeded in protecting their revenue streams.Yet this strategy has also made it difficult for researchers to share research content very easily, and for users at smaller institutions or the developing world

This approach has worked very well in terms of protecting publishers’ revenue streams, but they have also had the effect of inhibiting the dissemination of content from paywalled journals. Without authentication privileges it often remains difficult for users at smaller institutions or in the developing world to access the content they need to further their research

This situation is set to  change in 2015 in the form of publishers experimenting with more porous paywalls. Joining us to discuss this is Steven Inchcoombe Managing Director of Nature Publishing Group and Palgrave Macmilan . He will talk about the changes Nature Publishing Group has made to its paywalls that allow subscribers to share journal articles from Nature.com with non-subscribers though ReadCube technology.

2. Start-Ups: Even more disruption, but not much change

The academic publishing sector differs from the technology industry in one significant way. While technology experiences wave after wave of disruptive innovation in which new entrants can change whole markets, innovation in academic publishing differs. Interesting new companies with compelling solutions, models and technology don’t so much displace academic publishers as find themselves being acquired by them or nurtured by them in sector-specific incubators.

Joining us to discuss how academic publishers are working to turn bright ideas into viable parts of their businesses is Steve Scott, Head of Research Tools at Digital Science, who across the companies in the Digital Science stable to deliver new products and services.

3. Libraries become major funders of research publishing

Last year our sister company PCG’s Open Access Library Survey made a surprising discovery. Now that open access journals are finding their way in to library collections, libraries themselves are paying for the publication of research. Nearly a quarter (23%) of libraries were, according to this survey, paying the Article Processing Charges (APCs) required for research by faculty members to be published in open access journals. 70% of these librarians then went on to say that they were paying APCs from existing library budgets, not from new funding.

These findings raise some very interesting questions as to the future of academic libraries in the post-open access era. Discussing this issue from his own experience will be Martin Wolf, Research Support Lead at University of Liverpool and an experienced academic librarian.

4. From the BRICs to the SAMPCs

In recent years, much of the growth in academic publishers’ businesses has come from the developing world. Universities and businesses in so-called BRIC markets (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have started to invest seriously in journal subscriptions and site licenses as they themselves become increasingly international in focus

We’ve tracked growing traffic from BRIC countries on Ingenta’s own ingentaconnect portal for academic content and now starting to see strong growth from other developing markets that could become important territories for academic publishers in the future. Ingenta’s CEO Michael Cairns will talk about how the insights from platforms like ingentaconnect suggest that in the next few years we could be talking as much about the SAMPCs (South Africa, Mexico, Pakistan, and Chile) as the BRICs.

What is a Publisher Now? will take place on Tuesday 14th April, 11:30-12:30 in The Faculty (7B30) at The London Book Fair in Olympia. To register for the event follow the link to The London Book Fair website.