Scholarly Publishing Trends 2023

A report from Inspired on the LBF Scholarly Publishing forum 2023

This year the Inspired Team was so lucky that they were able not only to attend LBF and meet with so many of our amazing clients, but also attend the all-day Scholarly Publishing Forum on Thursday April 20th. The future of scholarly publishing is changing at a rapid pace, and the forum provided an insightful glimpse into what's to come. It was an incredible opportunity to hear about the latest trends and ongoing discussions in the scholarly space, from new publishing models to entirely new ways of conducting research in the virtual world.

Here are some of the highlights from the day:

  • We heard different opinions about the rising role of preprints, which for some has led to a new model for dissemination of research, with immediate but unreviewed online versions of articles. While this gives authors more control over the dissemination of their work, it also raises questions about the role of publishers and the importance of content curation and editing. A key supporter of this new model is ELife Sciences, who have also worked to reduce APC (Article Processing Charges) fees, making it more accessible to young researchers who are enthusiastic about the new preprint model, as well as creating the new Sciety platform which aggregates reviewed preprints across the web and allows groups to curate literature in their area of interest.
  • Diversity and inclusion in scholarly publishing remains a challenge, with limited progress at the senior level. While there has been some amazing and inspiring progress in gender diversity, other areas such as race, sexuality, and disability are still underrepresented.
  • Hearing from various representatives in the Policy space, we learned about the current movement to change the legislation around IP and emerging AI. It was interesting to see the creative industries united against the IPO original plan, with publishers seeing no need for legislative intervention or copyright exception but simply wanting government to provide more support and help in protecting IP. The challenge lies in balancing the needs of right holders and users for AI-generated and machine learning systems, and it sounds like we will need to watch this space for new policy updates.

  • Metadata remains a significant topic of discussion. What was really interesting and new to learn is how publishers are now looking at metadata as a way to enable greater equity. Accurate data collection and analysis can help identify affordability levels in different countries more systematically, allowing for more accurate determination of APCs without relying on the author to request a waiver. Metadata can also play a role in AI challenges of chatbot hallucinations, using it to retrain language models to be more truthful and accurate in response.
  • Decentralized science is a new frontier in scientific research, as they have started using Web3 technology to improve science and finding new ways of funding research. With DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) emerging as a new model for researchers to collaborate online, coordinate activities and share revenue streams in a completely digital way.
  • There was a brilliant panel focused on hearing from librarians and understanding the changing role of the library in the current OA landscape. Interestingly, the role of the library is changing, with a shift to "phygital" (physical + digital), with the library still being seen as an important physical venue and getting more involved in teaching and learning processes. Hearing from a few librarians based in Europe and the US, we also learned that Europe is further ahead on OA policy than the US, although the US are now catching up with a new legislation making all federally funded research open across all formats of research.
  • The forum concluded with an introduction to the SDG Publishers Compact, established in 2020. The group champions sustainability and has already gained over 300 signatories. They have designed a roadmap to tackle 17 sustainable development goals. It was inspiring to see so many publishers coming together to support each other and take collective action and responsibility towards a more sustainable future.

Overall, it was a thought-proving day, filled with constructive discussions and a positive outlook on new technology and change.  We feel so lucky to work with so many amazing Academic and STM publishers and to help brilliant candidates getting into this amazing field, which is always at the forefront of innovation. If you are interested in a career in scholarly publishing get in touch with our Consultants Rhianna ( and Alice (!