Scientific publishing is a $10 billion industry with steady growth and good margins, but its true strength and value go far beyond mere commerce. Its products record and disseminate information that can have a profound effect on people and societies. Journal articles, for example, contain tested theories and ideas that can be used as starting points on which to build additional pieces of scientific knowledge.
Scientific publishing establishes the baseline of what is known so that scientists and researchers can work to answer questions that haven’t already been answered, solve problems that haven’t yet been solved. Published scientific facts also allow policy-makers to make important decisions armed with the best available information.
The demand for scientific and technical materials in any particular market is linked directly to the level of research and development spending. The commitment to R&D is long established in the U.S. and Europe. Now R&D spending is on the rise in places like China and India, so publishers have increased their presence in those markets.
Publishers also continue to increase their value to the scientific researcher, library and corporate customer by providing tools that help them put the vast amount of information that’s available to good use with features such as improved citation data, cross-references and customized automated search alerts, to name a few.