Friday, November 06, 2015

BPN 1716: Internationalisation of the four main Dutch publishers

Surfing in my digital archive I noticed that this month 31 years ago I wrote an article on the internationalisation of the four main Dutch publishers: Elsevier, VNU, Kluwer and Wolters-Samsom Group. They mainly aimed at expanding in the US, but also aimed at getting into new business such as databasepublishing. Looking back it is clear that Elsevier (RELX these days) has come out as a real survivor and winner. VNU turned from a consumer info publisher into a professional info publisher, but lost and is no more. Kluwer and the WoltersSamsom Group have merged and survived internationally.

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Friday, October 16, 2015

BPN 1715: Linguists start to move towards Open Access

The editorial boards of prominent language journals are  say goodbye to their commercial publishers. With the support of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) they are moving to the Open Access platform to promote the accessibility of their scientific results with less limitations. NWO supports two linguistics publications  to exit, while the editorial boards of another two or three linguistic publications negotiate a departure with their commercial publishers, among which Elsevier. 

Open Access
Open Access has been brewing ever since the introduction of internet. This new way of publication was seen as a replacement for the expensive way of distributing the results of scientific research. In the publishing chain universities were paying three times for their own results: universities pay/paid the salaries of the scientists; the scientists do not get paid for their articles, if accepted; universities pay subscriptions for the journals. Of course the publishers pay desk editors, the peer review as well as the printing and distribution. Yet the expensive subscriptions do not weigh up to the costs made by the universities.

In the Netherlands a turn to another way of academic publishing has been coming since the nineties. Were scientists of optical technologies of the Technical University in Eindhoven already using e-mail and repositories for their publications in a fast changing area of technology in 1998/1999, university boards were not yet interested in addressing  the issue. I In the new century Open Access came on the agenda of university boards and scientific institutes such as the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Association of universities in the Netherlands (VNSU) and the Dutch academic network SURF. By 2004 the online database of scientific publications NARCIS was started. Besides academic support, there is now a political drive as State secretary Dekker of the ministry of Education, Culture and Science insists that in five years 60 per cent and in 10 years 100 per cent of the scientific publications will be Open Access. Publications of scientists are financed with public money and need to be accessible without any financial thresholds. 

Project LingOA 
Now a unique initiative, named LingOA, commences. Editorial boards of five journals for linguistic research will say goodbye to their present publishers, among others Elsevier, and start publishing their articles, accessible for society. Two of the editorial boards of LabPhon and  Journal of Portuguese Linguistics have received 20.000 euro to start up their publications. Lingua and Journal of Greek Linguistics as well as a third journal are still negotiating with their publishers, among other about the ownership of the journal’s title.
Articles will be published by the online platform Ubiquity Press from January 2016 onwards. Besides online, LingOA concluded an agreement with the Open Library of the Humanities (OLH), guaranteeing at least a five year existence of the LinOA journals.

One small step 
The step by LingOA to Open Access is important. It can be made as the academic linguistics world is small and close and the subscriptions of the journals are not extreme. But the journals in categories as bio-medical publications the subscription prices are extreme and might still take some time to exit the realm of commercial, academic publishers. LingOA has set one small step, but an important one to change academic publishing.

Update 8 November 2015: 
Just read that the linguistic journal Lingua has left the Elsevier stable. The 5 editors and 31 member editorial board will start a new competing journal Glossa in January with the British publisher Ubiquity Press.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

BPN 1714: Libraries and subscriptions engine behind growth Dutch ebook sales

Press release CB: October 14, 2015 - Media

Today the Dutch e-book distributor CB presents at the Frankfurt Book Fair, the E-book barometer in the Dutch-speaking region for the third quarter of 2015. The e-book sales grew by 127% as compared to the third quarter of 2014. The figures show that the e-book reader finds his way to libraries and e-book subscriptions.Consumers will read more and more digital. Readers dot not buy just e-books, but also rent them from the library or subscribe to a service that offers 'unlimited' titles

A fifth is a top-100 title 

In addition, the share of e-books in the total book sales increased from 5.5% to 5.8% (only in online book sales the increase was from 27.6% to 28.7%). New is the figure of CB concerning the share in bestsellers: "Of all e-books only one-fifth is top-100 title." This figure has been derived from the title barometer published by CB today showing the development of Dutch-language book titles as expressed in titles, genre division, some self published titles and bestsellers share in the total.
 (Sorry an English version of the infographic is not yet available) 

Title Barometer CB: Wide range of titles success factor in book salesCB publishes today at the Frankfurt Book Fair for the first time the title Barometer, with figures on the development of Dutch-language book titles. The infographic includes the development of new titles, the number of sales of  best sellers on the total and the number self published titles.The figures are compiled based on registered Dutch titles at CB and the movements thereof.Mathijs Suidman, Business Unit Manager at Media CB: "With the development of the title Barometer, we want to give the market a concrete understanding of relevant developments. A good example is that the number of new titles has increased in recent years despite the fact that we were dealing with a shrinking book market. "BestsellersIt is clear that the top-100 has become of less importance in book sales. Suidman: "In the past 12 months, only 13.2% of all sales concerned the top 100 titles. Moreover, the figures show that 20% of the bestsellers are bought by booksellers on publication. A bestseller is often a bestseller after its publication, supported by attention on television and social media. That the reader is not only interested in the top-100 underlines the importance of the wide availability of Dutch books. 'Self publishingOf the currently available titles 6.2% is self published; self publishing authors, are possibly assisted by others. Print on demand at CB (a book is only produced when it is ordered) also makes an important contribution to a wide range of titles.

  (Sorry, an English version of this infographic is not yet available)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


40 Winners from 24 countries, selected from 386 nominations. WSA 2015 once more presents a diameter of innovation from Indonesia to Argentina, from Iceland to New Zealand. Be it a tool for accurate diagnostics of wounds, a webpage to organize international meetings for you or a political think... The WSA World Congress and Gala - World's Best in e-Content  will be held in Shenzhen, China  from Dec. 7 - 9, 2015. Check the World Summit Award site!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Shortlist WSA2015

The World Summit Award announces the 97 international projects chosen by the WSA Online Jury to go to the second round of evaluation. Selected from 386 nominations from 86 countries, these 97 digital innovations have been evaluated by the WSA Grand Jury, that stepped together in Baku, Azerbaijan. The WSA World Congress and Gala - World's Best in e-Content  will be held in Shenzhen, China  from Dec. 7 - 9, 2015.

To review the shortlist yourself:

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

PRESS RELEASE: 13 European Youth Award winners

An app encouraging people to discover pretty streets by walking instead of taking cars, and motivating youth to engage creating a trendy brand of ‘social projects’ through an online portal are just two of the aims this year’s most outstanding and creative digital initiatives from all over Europe pursue. 17 international experts selected 13 projects having impact on society as Winners of the European Youth Award in the European Youth Capital Cluj-Napoca (Romania).

Two intense days full of constructive debates, passionate discussions and fruitful collaboration led to the most important result of the European Youth Award 2015: thirteen projects winning this year’s contest for young & smart digital social start-ups.

“From the projects I have seen in this competition, there comes out a sense of “wow, I wish I could do that” and the feeling of pride and effort that these people put in their projects.”, says Marsha Tarle, Communications Manager at Telecentre-Europe and member of the EYA Grand Jury.

Among the change-makers of tomorrow who convinced the 17 members of the EYA Grand Jury are two brothers, trying to fight worldwide killer number one with the means of technology: coronary artery disease. In Sweden, they developed a screening and early diagnosis tool based on a machine learning getting smarter over the time. Ultimately, this tool may save many lives.

Although each of the winning projects is unique and stands out for itself, they have one thing in common: high-impact on society through the creative use of digital technologies.

The winning teams come from 10 different countries: Austria (2), Czech Republic, France, Germany (3), Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine. They are invited to showcase their projects at the Winners Event (EYA Festival) in Graz, Austria, from November 18-21. This three-day-long Festival is a unique event combining knowledge, innovation, networking, inspiration and motivation. On the basis of their presentation, the EYA Festival Grand Jury will select the Overall Winner 2015.

Apart from being recognized on this international stage and getting access to the vibrant EYA network, EYA winners gain much more: for instance, students from all over Europe will develop project analyses and each project will be taken under a mentor’s wing for two months. “GovFaces has benefited enormously from the award which played a central role in helping to affirm, validate and legitimize the quality and aspirations of our work.” concludes Jon Mark Walls, CEO of GovFaces his expierience of winning the EYA in 2014.

The complete list of winning projects and Festival program can be found on

Saturday, September 19, 2015

BPN 1713: The Trouble With Digitizing History

The Netherlands spent seven years and $202 million to digitize huge swaths of AV archives that most people will never see. Was it worth it?

Driving through the Dutch countryside near the town of Hilversum, I have an overwhelming feeling that the surrounding water will wash out the road, given that my car is almost level with it. So it’s surprising that the Netherlands’ main audiovisual archives at the Sound and Vision Institute reside in a multilevel underground structure here, ostensibly below sea level.
Sound and Vision, together with two other national institutions, finished digitizing the bulk of the Netherlands’ audiovisual archives last year, for a cost of $202 million over seven years. The project ran smoothly and transparently, digitizing 138,932 hours of film and video, 310,566 hours of audio, and 2,418,872 photos.

Read further at: