Roger Schonfeld is moderating a panel on “The Future of Access” at STM’s US Annual Conference on Wednesday, April 25, at 3:15. The panelists include Gaby Appleton, managing director of Mendeley, Yann Mahé, director of innovation & business development at MyScienceWork, and Rob McGrath, CEO of Readcube. The conference is taking place in Philadelphia, and registration is open through the STM website.

Panel abstract:

The fate of the music business looms over STM publishers like darkening storm clouds. Content providers wonder who will be our Spotify? Where will users go to get a legal, seamless aggregated search and discovery experience and what sort of sustainable business models will emerge?

Mendeley and Readcube propose syndicating content and brokering institutional access directly in their researcher productivity tools and reporting usage back to publishers in support of existing business models (Distributed Usage Logging). Search engines like Google Scholar & Dimensions are serving up content directly now, expanding on their traditional role of referring traffic to publishers – and using services like unpaywall.org to fulfill a user’s requested article with legal, freely available versions online – even if the user doesn’t have access to the version of record. What is the future of the publisher’s own platform in this scenario? How will these new efforts to create seamless access impact traditional aggregators like EBSCO, ProQuest, and the document delivery market (CCC)? And most importantly, how will libraries be brought along in all of this?

The industry debate has focused quite a bit on standards development in the past two years, with initiatives like RA21 and Tapas. But innovative companies like the ones on this panel are not necessarily waiting, pushing forward with bold initiatives and product visions to solve the problem of seamless access before time runs out on the publishing businesses they serve.