A Change in the Conception of Academic Edition. From Knowledge Centered in Products to Knowledge Oriented to Services

Universitas Psychologica, vol. 17, no. 1, 2018

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Wilson López López

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia

The traditional chain of knowledge production that starts in making research, goes through assessment processes and nails down in a publication, is included at the same time in data bases that generates diverse information of new knowledge uses, accompanied by the creation of indicators that feed the assessment processes, counting with multiples forms of investments in human resources, technology and finances. Currently, this chain appears to be in a transformation process due to technological developments that have allowed the existence of new actors in it.

Today, millions of articles are published every year, and several models of knowledge production had been generated. To what concerns scientific publications, the business models of scientific journals are diverse. The big editorial houses such as Reed-Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Springer, and Taylor & Francis, which are a huge oligopoly that funnel more than 50% of the total knowledge production, only in social sciences more than 70%, and in humanities 20%; sell each published article through journals that they own, becoming one of the most productive business areas in the world (Larivière, Haustein, & Mongeon, 2015). The problem comes then when countries with low resources to pay are not able to access this knowledge, what creates the paradox of researchers that do not have access to their own product; besides, emerges the contradiction that with public resources new knowledge is being generated but cannot be access in a public manner. Thereby, this model have been controversial, provoking declarations as the one from DORA, and innumerable movements against it.

Another model is the one of the mega journals such as Frontiers or Plos One, that transfer the costs to the researcher. Each day, more journals incorporate this model since, though the costs are high to the countries that have precarious investment resources, knowledge and part of their metrics are public. This model has been named golden route.

Nonetheless, the most popular model in Latinamerica until today is the one known as the diamond route of open access, in which the costs of the editorial production, the content management, the accessibility, the visibility and the diffusion are assumed by the publishing institutions, which in the region are the universities.

These last ones, have been in constant rising and as Laakso and Bjork (2012) affirm, they entered to compete to the market in a growing way, and in the case of the mega journals, they’ve been looking to create a wide number of diffusion strategies that today are measure in what it’s been called altmetrics, which is changing the dynamics of knowledge management, passing from a knowledge centered in products to what Björnmalm (2017) name knowledge oriented to services; the technological platforms in open access allow to generate discussions about the articles in real time, and even to modify the assessment and knowledge transformation processes in real time. The speed of discussions decrease the impact centered in the prestige of the journals or researchers metrics, and open the path to new questions. Initiatives as Google Scholar Metrics, Microsoft Academic, or Dimensions, are opening a space to visualize uses as never before, although they still are improving their platforms and fixing the errors, they are allowing to identify the actors and dialogs, and even opening themselves to several types of scientific knowledge consumers.

The editorial projects should aim to be oriented to develop platforms that assure multiple communication services that allow the most possible interaction with the contents and the metrics that they derived, as well as, to potentialize the interaction between researchers, contents and other users.


Björnmalm (2017). The future for academic publishers lies in navigating research, not distributing it [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2018/01/29/the-future-for-academic-publishers-lies-in-navigating-research-not-distributing-it/

Larivière, V., Haustein, S., & Mongeon, P. (2015). The Oligopoly of Academic Publishers in the Digital Era. PLoS ONE, 10(6), e0127502. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0127502

Laakso, M., & Björk, B.C. (2012). Anatomy of open access publishing: A study of longitudinal development and internal structure. BMC Medicine, 10, 124. http://doi.org/10.1186/1741-7015-10-124