Based on paper presented at the 31st UKSG Conference, Torquay, April 2008
The Internet is causing scholarly communication to lose its long-standing stability, and the players in this process – libraries, publishers, and others – are increasingly challenged to demonstrate their relevance in the digital world.This paper draws examples from another information industry that has also lost its stability: newspaper publishing. The objective is not to suggest that scholarly communications face exactly the same challenges that newspapers do. Rather, the purpose is to use the comparisons to provoke creative reflection for those who serve the academic enterprise. Both scholarly communications and the newspaper industry have historically been protected from significant external disruptive com- petition but are now seeing insulators stripped away in the networked environment. Going forward, both the scholarly communication community and newspapers must identify sustaining sources of competitive advantage and capitalize on them in order to survive and remain relevant in the modern digital world.