As the world marks the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, lines from Julius Caesar have bearing on the world of scientific and scholarly publishing.

There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life

Is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves.

The deliberations last December of the STM Future Lab provided a memorable image of such a tide in the affairs of STM publishing. On such a full sea are we now afloat – borne along by the force of computer power and the explosive growth in information.

This year’s version of STM Tech Trends looks further ahead than previous ones, says Sam Bruinsma, SVP Business Development at Brill and Chair of the STM Future Lab. “In the area of user data privacy, for one, publishers will need robust solutions and best practices soon to ensure that new information opportunities can be utilized within the boundaries of appropriate privacy protection,” he explains.

STM Tech Trends Outlook 2020

At the annual STM conference in Washington last month, the new version of Tech Trends was presented by Eefke Smit, STM Director of Standards and Technology. A panel of publishing representatives from Brill, IEEE, Proquest and Digital Science later gave their views on what these Tech Trends may imply for their businesses and scholarly communication in general; CCC’s Christopher Kenneally moderated the discussion.

Panelists included—

  • Sam Bruinsma, Senior Vice President Business Development for Brill, based in Leiden, The Netherlands. Brill’s publications focus on the Humanities and Social Sciences, International Law and selected areas in the Sciences. Sam is the chair of STM’s Future Lab Committee.
  • Michael Forster, Managing Director for Publications at IEEE, the world’s largest technical professional organization. Previously at John Wiley and Sons Inc., Michael held key management roles including as Vice President in Wiley’s Physical Sciences and Engineering, Research Innovations, and Research Publishing businesses.
  • Phill Jones, Head of Publisher Outreach at Digital Science, a technology company working to make scientific research more efficient; Digital Science is operated by global media company, the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. In a former life, Phill was a multi-disciplinary research scientist, publishing in several fields including physics and neuroscience.
  • Heather Ruland Staines, Director, Publisher and Content Strategy, at ProQuest, whose technologies serve users across the critical points in research, helping them discover, access, share, create and manage information. Heather works on the SIPX course materials platform and Discovery services. She holds a Ph.D. in History from Yale University.
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