The Future of Scientific Publishing

Francisco Stefano – Director

Kimberley Pardo – Marketing and Business Development Analyst


The editing of the first academic journal took place in France on January 5, 1665, with the Journal des sçavans, followed by the English Philosophical Transactions on March 6 of the same year. 355 years have passed, and communication among scientists still relies mainly on the exchange of information through journal reading. The ease of publishing results, data, and ideas is an important part of scientific work and proper procedure. The future evolution of communication matters to everyone.

During the early publications (17th and 18th centuries) up until the mid-19th century, publications were in the hands and under the responsibility of Scientific Associations or other institutions that ensured their seriousness. From the Second World War onwards, perhaps due to the accelerated increase in scientific activity, publications began to migrate towards commercial publishers, and this trend has increased. As an example, we can take the case of the highly respected medical journal currently called the New England Journal of Medicine. It was born through the efforts of two professionals in 1812 and was bought by the Medical Society of Medicine in 1928, a non-profit organization. In contrast, The Lancet, the British medical journal that can be considered competitive with NEJM, was purchased in 1991 by Elsevier.

Today, the publishing market is close to $20 billion USD, half of which is generated by approximately 5 companies: Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley, and Sage. A significant number of smaller companies are entering this market, attracted not only by the current degree of growth but also by optimistic data suggesting continuous growth based on two “facts”: Open Access and the proliferation of publications that do not use paper, with writings reaching the public only in virtual form, greatly reducing production costs.

A prevailing concern is the existing difficulties in accessing both the consultation of works and the publication of one’s own results. These difficulties mainly arise with the most prestigious journals and are caused by the high cost that researchers must pay when submitting their work for publication or the price to pay for accessing the reading of an important work for their task.


Regardless of the high number of publications allowing a very important flow of exchange of knowledge and hypotheses within the scientific community, fears also arise in this same community that the control exercised by companies, perhaps not so rigid and meticulous, may facilitate the publication of invalid or false data.


These situations have created a new danger for scientific activity, the so-called “predatory publishers” who take advantage of the profuse demand for information exchange and publish in virtual journals with reduced costs. The working model of these predators involves charging low publication fees. The received work is reviewed with relatively low editorial effort and quickly accepted for publication.

The editorial task and its products are navigating an ocean of opportunities. The importance of showing the data on which the results are based, open access to publications, pre-reading are all paths that are seeking their definitive position.

Subscribe to

    Partner with us!

    We offer expertise and experience, together with flexibility and the ability to adapt to your needs.