Brown, David J.
Changing Face of Information
Support Services for Scientific Research
Aims and Scope
The health of scientific enterprise has become a critical political and social issue as nation states tackle austerity, diversity, global challenges, whilst simultaneously supporting a competitive and innovative national economy. A key asset in achieving such ambitions is for a scholarly information system which enables the fruits of the research effort to be disseminated efficiently. As the information support system struggles with adapting from a print-based to a digital process, the dysfunctionality current within STEM publishing in particular becomes evident. New ways of supporting research are emerging which require a new approach to publishing, an approach which takes on board the many demographic, social, technical and administrative changes taking place in both science itself and society. A radical strategic assessment is required and this book tracks key aspects required for any new future strategy.
This book provides a catalogue of issues to which a future STEM information industry will need to adapt. They range from the effects of technology on the neurological processes of research to the growing use of technology to speed up the exchange of information among groups and collaboratories; from considerations about quality control yet maintaining intellectual ownership; from changing from an elitist STEM system favouring academics to a more democratic process with wider appeal. There is the neglected non-academic market and its need to share in the results of the research effort, often through partnership and being part of a ‘hive mind’. This is the large world of the unaffiliated knowledge workers, of which academia is numerically but a small part.
The many changes taking place in scholarly information dictate that the future is unlikely to be a smooth and gradual evolution from the past. Radical new approaches are required, a revolution which takes on board the perfect storm of changes listed in this book. Just as such changes have changed the face of industries such as music and retail in recent years, so similar dramatic changes are likely to result in a restructuring of STEM into a more technologically-focused industry within the next decade. The implications for the current STEM stakeholders are profound.