April 16, 2021

Simba Information Reports Scientific & Technical Publishing Bucked Headwinds, Posted Strong Growth in 2018

From Simba Information:

Driven by tools and online content, open access fees and digital book collections, 2018 saw the scientific and technical publishing market post its strongest sales growth since 2011—this according to the most recent report from Simba Information, a leader in media and publishing intelligence.

The report Global Scientific & Technical Publishing 2019-2023 found that the global scientific and technical publishing market grew 3% to $10.3 billion in 2018. Currency exchange fluctuations inflated growth somewhat in 2018, but even taking that into account, this is the highest growth rate tracked by Simba since 2011 when market growth exceeded 4%.

The findings stand in stark contrast to media reports that the industry is facing a long-term decline due to the rise of open access publishing. There have been more reports of university libraries canceling their journal subscription packages in 2018 and 2019. The industry also faces threats from websites that freely share pirated copies of copyrighted research papers.

The online services segment continues to grow the fastest of all content delivery segments, faster than journals and much faster than the shrinking book sector. Simba Information forecasts that scientific and technical online content will surpass books in total sales by year end 2019. Online content will continue to gain share at the expense of books over time. Online content continues to outpace other publishing activities as the market shifts from traditional formats—especially print books purchased by individuals—to licensed databases delivered to users’ workflows.

Declining print books continue to be the largest factor holding down the underlying pace of growth.

The report also found that China’s influence in this market continues to grow. The United States has long been the world leader in gross research and development spending, but China is quickly closing in and will pass the U.S. in forecasted spending in 2019. Research grants come with requirements to publish the findings in peer reviewed journals and China incentivizes its scientists and researchers to publish in the most influential Western journals.

Additional Report Highlights/Data

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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