PA Editorial

PA EDitorial

Changing Trends in Academic Publishing: A Glimpse into the Future

Academic publishing is a dynamic field that is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of researchers, scholars, and readers.

As we step further into 2024, certain trends, in particular, are poised to reshape the landscape of academic publishing. This blog will briefly dip into and provide a synopsis of some of these, from the imperative need for more open access (OA) to the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We will also examine the ethical considerations brought about by the digital age and the growing need for collaboration across disciplines and borders.

The Imperative Need for Open Access

OA continues to be a driving force in academic publishing, with a shift towards making research accessible to a wider audience. The traditional model of locking research behind paywalls is increasingly seen as outdated, and OA journals are leading the way in making research freely available.

Wiley stated that:

‘In 2023, 50% of our citable articles were published open access (OA) across our Research portfolio. That’s more than double the proportion of OA citable items we published just five years ago.’ [1]

OA publishing has evolved beyond the traditional ‘gold OA’ model, with new models like diamond and platinum OA gaining traction.

These alternative models offer different funding mechanisms and provide greater author control over content. While the gold OA model relies on article processing charges (APCs), diamond OA aims to remove financial barriers for authors, with journals funded through institutional support or membership fees.

Platinum OA takes a community-driven approach, where the publishing costs are shared among stakeholders. Academic publishers must adapt to these evolving models by offering flexible publishing options and exploring sustainable funding mechanisms to ensure wider access to research.

OA is a changing landscape that will continue to shift and morph in 2024. By embracing OA, academic publishing can contribute to the public good and foster positive innovation in practice. However, the challenge lies in finding sustainable funding mechanisms that do not burden researchers and scholars, particularly those from non-research-intensive organisations or regions with limited funding.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are vital considerations in science communication and academic publishing. Ensuring that diverse voices within the academic community are represented and heard is crucial.

Addressing systemic biases in the publication process is a key goal for academic publishers, and this drive will continue throughout 2024. [2]

By promoting diversity through editorial board membership and peer review processes, academic publishers will ensure that research findings are communicated in inclusive ways that resonate with diverse audiences.

Special issues focused on science communication and social justice play a critical role in advancing DEI in academic publishing, a trend set to increase throughout this year.

Collaboration Across Disciplines and Borders

The interconnected nature of global challenges necessitates collaborative approaches to science communication and publishing.

Multidisciplinary research that transcends traditional academic boundaries has become the norm within science communication. International collaboration is also vital for addressing global issues.

Academic publishers encourage and welcome research and practice submissions that embrace these collaborative perspectives. One of the emerging trends is the focus on the connections between research and practice, exploring how science communication researchers and practitioners can collaborate more effectively and sustainably.

The fostering of collaboration across disciplines and borders means that academic publishing can facilitate impactful research and promote the dissemination of knowledge that transcends disciplines and borders, both tangible and intangible.[3]

Digital Transformation in Academic Publishing

The digital revolution has profoundly impacted academic publishing, transforming how research is disseminated and accessed.

Online journals, OA repositories, and digital publishing platforms have made scholarly research more widely available than ever before. The growth of online-only, open access journals has provided free access to research papers, in turn breaking down barriers to knowledge.

Institutional and subject-based open access repositories have also played a crucial role in making research freely accessible. The adoption of digital technologies has not only increased accessibility but also enhanced visibility and readership for published papers. Researchers can now collaborate more easily through blogs, social media, and other digital mediums, accelerating research cycles and fostering real-time engagement within the research community.

This digital transformation brings forth new ethical challenges that must be addressed. Data privacy, the potential amplification of biases, and the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) tools in research and dissemination are among the key considerations.

Effective science communication requires active engagement on digital platforms, but it also comes with the risk of misinformation and content moderation challenges.

Generative AI tools, while offering automation and customisation, must be utilised responsibly and ensure integrity and authenticity. Academic publishers and learned societies are actively debating the roles of Generative AI in the research process.

In 2024, many journals are producing special issues to delve into these emerging ethical issues, exploring public (dis)trust in science in digital media environments and science communication in the age of AI.[4]

Alternative Metrics for Research Impact

The evaluation of research impact is moving beyond traditional metrics like citations. Alternative indicators, such as altmetrics and social media engagement, are gaining prominence. [5]

These metrics provide a more holistic view of research impact by considering factors like online mentions, downloads, and social media shares. Academic publishers can leverage data analytics to give the authors insights into the reach and impact of their research. This information can help optimise marketing and dissemination strategies and identify emerging research trends.

By including alternative metrics, academic publishing can adopt and promote a more comprehensive understanding of research impact beyond traditional citation counts.

Peer Review Innovations

Peer review plays a critical role in maintaining the quality and integrity of scholarly research.

In recent years, there have been ongoing experiments within peer review practices. Traditional single-blind and double-blind reviews have been supplemented by innovative approaches such as open peer review and post-publication peer review.

Open peer review allows for transparent and collaborative feedback, while post-publication peer review enables continuous evaluation and discussion of research findings.

Yet, these are not the only changes in peer review innovations. An article in Wiley suggests that ‘Digital innovations, especially AI-driven tools, promise to revolutionise peer review processes, from manuscript screening to reviewer selection and evaluation’.[6] You can also read more about the use of AI in peer review in our blog, ChatGPT Implications in Academia and Peer Review.

The purpose of such innovations is to make the review process more inclusive, transparent, and efficient.

Short-form and Interactive Content

In an era of shrinking attention spans, researchers and readers are increasingly seeking concise and interactive formats for consuming and sharing research.[7] Micropublications, short-form articles, and video summaries are gaining popularity as alternatives to traditional lengthy papers. These formats provide bite-sized information that can be easily digested and shared.

Publishers can cater to this trend by developing platforms for micropublications, partnering with video platforms to create research summaries, and offering modular content formats. The use of video as a conveyor of research is also expected to expand in 2024, enhancing research comprehension and adding a personal touch to scientific ideas.

The power of video, coupled with the potential of AI to streamline the video creation process, holds great promise for science communication.

Financial Sustainability and Access

Financial sustainability is a key challenge for academic publishing, with economic pressures shaping the industry. Libraries and institutional budgets face constraints, making it crucial to find sustainable publishing models. OA initiatives have helped increase accessibility but also require funding to cover operational costs.[8]

Academic publishers will continue to explore innovative approaches in 2024, such as collaborative funding models, institutional partnerships, and supportive policies, to ensure financial sustainability while maintaining access to research.

Balancing the need for financial viability with the goal of widening access is a crucial aspect of the future of academic publishing.

The Future of Academic Publishing: Looking Ahead

As we look ahead to the future of academic publishing in 2024, it is clear that the industry is undergoing significant transformations.

OA, diversity, equity, inclusion, ethical considerations in the digital age, collaboration, and innovative publishing models are shaping the landscape.

Academic publishers must adapt to these trends, embracing digital technologies, fostering collaboration, and exploring sustainable funding mechanisms. By doing so, it can continue to facilitate the dissemination of knowledge, promote impactful research, and contribute to the advancement of science and society.

About PA EDitorial

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Our focus is on supporting contributors and editorial boards in the peer review process. We specialise in improving peer review administration, and we are known for our ability to help problematic journals.

Our services are exceptional and personalised, and we offer both permanent and temporary services. We are always ready to adapt our services to your needs to help you achieve success. In addition, we offer copyediting, proofreading, academic and teaching material formatting, and journal social media services.

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[1] Open Research Journey in 2023: How We’re Paving the Way for Research Quality and Community in 2024 –

[2] Lafferty, D. J., McKenney, E. A., Hubbard, T., Trujillo, S., & Beasley, D. E. (2024). A Path Forward: Creating an Academic Culture of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America105(1), e2117

[3] Veretennik, E., & Shakina, E. (2024). Beyond borders: Achieving research performance breakthrough with academic collaborations. Higher Education Quarterly

[4] Májovský, M., Mikolov, T., & Netuka, D. (2023). AI Is Changing the Landscape of Academic Writing: What Can Be Done? Authors’ Reply to: AI Increases the Pressure to Overhaul the Scientific Peer Review Process. Comment on “Artificial Intelligence Can Generate Fraudulent but Authentic-Looking Scientific Medical Articles: Pandora’s Box Has Been Opened”. Journal of Medical Internet Research25.

[5] UCL, Altmetrics at UCL: one year on! –

[6] Calamur, H., & Ghosh, R. (2024). Adapting peer review for the future: Digital disruptions and trust in peer review. Learned Publishing37(1), 49-54,

[7] Pal, Avishek., Portegies, Wesley., Schwinn, Jennifer. et al. (2024) Measuring the impact of scientific publications and publication extenders: examples of novel approaches, Current Medical Research and Opinion, DOI: 10.1080/03007995.2024.2320849

[8] Røttingen, J., & Sweeney, D. (2019). Financing open-access publication after 2024.

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