by Noah Miller
February 22, 2017
STM (Science, Technology, Medicine) publishers know that when Internet users pose their questions in search engines, they expect to get back one thing above all else: answers. They want quality, easy-to-find answers. Today, you may not always find the most relevant answer to your question when you use a search engine like Google or Bing. But the tech world has already seen Apple’s Siri and Wolfram Alpha give a glimpse into how search engines’ results move users close to those answers they badly seek.
STM publishers already use today’s huge advances in computing power, analytics, and big data to synthesize answers to users’ questions using sources in real time. This process is called dynamic publishing, and it’s the next big thing for STM publishers working in online services, according to Simba Information’s new report, STM Online Services 2016-2020.
Right now, online services make up the fastest growing STM publishing market sector, up 3.6% in 2016 and growing at a compound annual rate of 3.7% from 2016 to 2020. Of the world's leading STM publishers, many have legacy book and journal businesses, but for many of these business units, upgrading back office systems and using their legacy content for cash flow are the best options available. With the advent of dynamic publishing, market leaders are warming up to scientific publishing's collaborative process. Dynamic publishing's innovations allow STM publishers to more easily consolidate, go digital, become more global, and form strategic alliances. Larger publishing companies compete against each other but at the same time cooperate. On the surface this makes little financial sense, but from this process customers receive the quality, easy-to-find content they require when they’re conducting research. Ideally, dynamic publishing would synthesize information for users into personalized, quality results.
For STM publishers who want to provide researchers and users with the kind of personalized content that future processing power holds, dynamic publishing addresses customer needs by using advanced computer power at a lower cost, allowing publishers to increase their output at their desired level. Dynamic publishing draws on content that's exchanged and used, extracted and combined in ways that anticipate user behavior, providing meaningful answers to researchers' questions. Dynamic publishing's personalized and relevant results will be instantly drawn from multiple caches of data in real-time with the help of analytics, anticipating user behavior in a beautifully seamless way.
Dynamic publishing has some time before it hits its full and complete stride in the world of STM publishing and beyond. Software must first be refined, and open content’s infrastructure atomized to specific facts and insights, before STM publishers can make use of dynamic publishing's greatest capacity for potential.
In the broader online publishing industry, the most important change yet to take place has to do with habits. In particular are those habits in academia, whose publishing companies are always slow to adapt. The online publishing industry must pounce on new capabilities starting now, leveraging their heavy users and technology companies to work toward the products already outlining capabilities of a dynamic publishing system.
Most of STM publishing's research is disseminated through scholarly articles, and increasingly this wealth of information is, whether funded by governments of private sources, subject to mandates making it open to the entire public sphere. Mandates often apply to both the underlying data and the actual published article. Following the path made by open access information, dynamic publishing will be the next step in delivering users the data they’re after. The ability to draw on multiple caches of data in real time starts here with open source information, and those with the most to gain from this new opportunity are the biggest STM publishers and companies already in the field who, in the best-case scenario, will develop new products and services to bring about a veritable new age in the realm of search result technology.
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