Strong open access growth set to continue - report

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Around a third of all global research articles are now published open access, according to a new report from the STM association. Recent strong growth in OA publishing is projected to continue – with some countries, such as the UK, on track for 90 per cent of their researchers’ output to be published OA within a year due to business model and operational innovations.

STM (the Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers) published the latest edition of The STM Report, the organisation’s  overview of the scientific and scholarly publishing market. The revised report, which adopts a new supplement format to be issued in regular thematic updates, reveals significant publisher-driven growth in OA and 'continued dynamism' in the scholarly communication ecosystem.

For the past 15 years, the STM Report has provided data and analysis for all involved in the global activity of research, highlighting and exploring the trends, issues and challenges facing scholarly publishing. The latest edition in the series: ‘STM Global Brief 2021 – Economics and market size’ provides an update on the size and shape of scholarly publishing and offers the latest global market values for the industry across scientific and technical, medical, and social sciences and humanities fields.

It reveals emerging trends across journal publishing and article growth, the market dominance of formats and disciplines, whilst also exploring the variances across the different markets of the global economy. It details that China remains the world’s most prolific producer of publishable research output, but that, India, Russian Federation, Spain, Italy, Brazil and Australia all have shown strong growth since 2018.

Philip Carpenter, interim CEO of STM said: 'Despite the challenges presented both before and during Covid-19, there are multiple indications of growth and resilience across the scholarly publishing sector. 2020 will likely be a record year for submissions due to the increase in research and articles related to Covid-19 – many of which publishers provided free access to, ensuring that relevant and timely research and data reached the widest possible audiences as quickly as possible.'

He added: 'Despite unprecedented world events, scholarly publishing is clearly rising to the challenges of our rapidly changing world, offering sustainable solutions underpinned by technology and innovation whilst striving towards our fundamental mission to advance trusted research worldwide.'

Lucy Derges, policy and research manager at STM, who compiled the report, added: 'It is exciting to see the first of this new series of STM Reports published and I am looking forward to preparing the next supplement which will focus purely on open access and will be launched in Spring 2022. STM is delighted to have worked with leading experts from across the industry to create what we hope will be a useful, free to access, summary of the global market in 2021.'

Download the report here.

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