OUP’s Academic publishing had a strong year, producing 4,835 print and digital titles, with particular growth in journals and licensing. There is a continuation of many familiar themes, when considering some of the challenges and market changes across academia and Higher Education. Concerns around copyright, pricing, and piracy focused the industry on issues such as security, authentication, usability, convenience, and discoverability. Additionally, the ongoing frustration around the high cost of textbooks caused more students and universities to favour rental and second-hand models, while customers actively chose to source books across the world to take advantage of local price variations, leading the Press to more closely monitor this trend.
Once again, library budgets grew very slowly, particularly in developed markets. As a result, journals are often prioritized over books, and purchase and renewal decisions are becoming more driven by usage statistics. Growing expectations from funders for Open Access and Open Educational Resources affected library sales, as well as sales in Higher Education. In response, OUP agreed combined Open Access and subscription deals with two major consortia for the first time this year. This is a positive step for the industry, although it will add future complexities for authors, librarians, and therefore for OUP.
There has also been more focus in the industry on developing end-to-end research, discovery, and publication services, which has subsequently driven a movement towards open standards by researchers. As a result, OUP joined the Initiative for Open Citations (I4OC) this year, and continues to look for opportunities to support open standards.
Digital technology is still reshaping the industry, with academic publishers increasingly expected to invest in digital technology to enhance their products; ensuring a high-quality user experience is now a requirement to secure major society journal contracts. Thanks to OUP’s efforts in this area, there was a 10 per cent increase in journal visits.