There have been quite a few interesting sites launched recently each of which attempt to make certain kinds of publishing much easier. For example SlideShare allows users to publish presentations, while Swivel is for publishing data sets, e.g. Excel spreadsheets. The sites each allow users to upload content which is then wrapped in the usual set of Web 2.0 functionality: tagging, rating, blog integration, etc.

A recent addition to these micro-publishing sites is Scribd which describes itself as "a free online library where anyone can upload". The Scribd FAQ suggests that Scribd could be used for publishing "serious academic articles".

The site certainly has some interesting features which are of interest to an academic publishing environment, although the content itself is currently pretty variable in quality! As such, its another useful data point in the ongoing discussion of how academic publishing could evolve.

Amongst the features that I found particularly interesting are its use of FlashPaper to embed a PDF style viewer directly into web pages; the ability to download content in multiple formats, including MP3; the text and traffic analysis; and the integration with Print(fu), a separate service that allows purchasing of printed copies of PDFs.