Electronic publishing marketing and business issues

05ISP 312: E-Publishing: Business and Marketing Issues
Assessed Coursework 1

Due Date:

This piece of coursework is worth 60% of the marks for this module. It should be handed in by Thursday 27th April 2005 (Week 8). The word count is 2500 words.


Electronic publishing has led to many changes to the business models of scholarly publishers and to their relationships with other stakeholders (libraries, authors, serials vendors etc). Write an essay discussing the impact that these developments have had on all parties and analyse the possible business models that may evolve.

Additional Information:

The first few lectures have covered many topics, some of which are inter-related, that have an effect on the way the scholarly serials business operates in today s world. Electronic publishing has had a major impact on this industry and publishers need to make decisions that will affect their survival in the marketplace. Some of the factors that affect publishers are only partially within their control, but non-the-less publishers need to be facing up to the problems and developing strategies for coping in this rapidly changing environment. Publishers, libraries and other stakeholders are being affected by these changes and the purpose of this essay is to explain these changes and comment on the prospects for how the industry may change.

For this essay you can adopt a broad definition of the term  business model . The Wiki Encyclopedia defines a business model as:  the mechanisms by which a business intends to generate revenue and profits. It is a summary of how a company plans to serve its customers. In other words the essay should discuss how scholarly publishers have adapted, and will continue to adapt, to serve their customers while raising a required level of revenue.


The essay should be clearly written with the content logically presented. If you wish to include sections and sub-sections in your essay then that is acceptable  in fact it often helps to logically structure the essay.

You may use examples or mini-case studies to demonstrate any points; for instance if one particular publisher has adopted a particular approach then you could discuss that approach outlining any benefits or drawbacks in the approach taken.

You are expected to undertake plenty of associated reading and to discuss the opinions of those who have discussed this subject in articles and books. Relevant sources must be cited and referenced appropriately  you must follow the departmental style guides provided on the learn server. You MUST NOT plagiarise or copy large blocks of text from other sources if you wish to quote a sentence directly from a journal article, web site or book then keep the quote as short as possible and it must be obvious that the extract is a quote and not your own words. When discussing material found in sources such as books or articles you MUST discuss the concepts in your own words but remember to still reference the source where the ideas originated. Referencing sources is an indicator that you have read widely around the topic and will lead to improved marks.

Try and avoid gender specific language. If you are talking about an author of an article you may find yourself having to refer to the author as  he or  she . A good way to overcome this problem is to talk about people in plural, allowing them to be referred to as  they . E.g.  When an author signs a copyright transfer form he &  could be rewritten as  When authors sign copyright transfer forms they & 

Marking Schedule:

The essay will be marked out of 100. Marks will be awarded in the following areas:

Presentation (marked out of 10):
” Logical composition of essay in terms of introduction, conclusions etc.
” Clarity of writing
” Attractive presentation

Analysis (60)
” Clear explanation of the changes to the industry brought about by electronic publishing.
” Analysis of the impact these changes have had on stakeholders. Include reference to the literature and the thomughts of expert commentators.
” The main themes and issues must be addressed

Originality (20)
” Originality includes critical comments on the literature (or even development of your own opinions, though these should be supported by reference to the literature)
” Ideas that were not mentioned in lectures that are pertinent to the topic

Use of sources (10)
” Extent of sources used.
” Range of sources used. Authoritative literature should, of course, be cited, however comments by publishers or experts on discussion forums may also add to the debate.
” Accuracy in citing sources.

Electronic publishing was changed all the aspects of scholarly publishing, and the most obvious change which existed in the scholarly communication process. Scholarly communication is the method and route by which academic information is passed from author to reader, via various intermediaries such as libraries and publishers University College London 2005).
For many years, academic libraries have seen an unprecedented increase in cost of journal subscriptions particularly in the science, technology, and medical (STM) publishing arena. Scholarly publishers and academic libraries are included in what is referred to as the  serial crisis . The technological development added a new dimension to the crisis by providing both new solution and challenges. The major contribution of electronic publishing lies in the speed of publication, diversity, and choice it brings to the marketplace. However, these do not come without a cost.
Publishers, libraries, authors and other stakeholders are being affected by these industrial changes. Major scholarly publishers were cautious, however, as they found it difficult to predict a business model that would protect their revenue base.
This paper will seek to discuss and analyse three business issues in the scholarly publishing which are;
1. Impact of electronic publishing in scholarly publishing.
2. Emerging electronic business models and the situation of stakeholders in scholarly communication toward these models.
3. The future of scholarly publishing.
Impact of electronic publishing in scholarly publishing
Electronic publishing refers to the distribution of information, art, or software in any electronic form, usually on some type of physical medium such as CD-ROM, floppy disk, or magnetic tape, or across a computer network, such as the Internet, a publicly accessible dial-up bulletin board and online service (Steve ). Scholarly publishers are responsible for producing books and journals specifically written for and marketed to professionals in a wide variety of industries, such as medicine, law, business, technology, science, and the humanities. It is often referred to as STM-Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishing (Association of American Publishers 2006).
The advent of electronic publishing in the late twentieth has a vital impact in scholarly publishing, especially scholarly journal publishing. It has increased the distribution of journal articles and it has improved library resource sharing networks (Pettenati 2001). Robertson (2003) who examined the impact of electronic journals on journals departments in academic libraries found that a fewer print journals added to stock and some subscriptions cancelled due to online access and more user education appeal with usage of electronic journals.
From a rather different perspective, some economic crisis issues are obtained. Rohe (1998) pointed out, that  electronic publishing is changing the economic climate of scholarly communication. Costs, payment structures, and fees are confusing and a source of friction between publishers and libraries. As publishers try to determine how to charge for scholarly information in electronic form . Edlin and Rubinfeld (2004) have indicated that, a major change occurred in journal industry and increased distribution of journals by the internet. The statistics show