The Open Access Sector Outperforms the Scholarly Publishing Market

As a sector, Open Access has been found to outperform the publishing market in terms of growth rates and value generation.
The Open Access Sector Outperforms the Scholarly Publishing Market

According to the recently published STM Global Brief 2021 - Economics and Market Size report, Delta Think analysis results indicate that the Open Access sector can be expected to increase its revenues by 11.5% and output by 12.5%, in the 2021-2022 period, based on the projections and figures for the years 2019, 2020 and 2021, as compared to the scholarly publishing market as a whole. Whereas the global science, technology and medical publishing market has only grown by around 4.6% to 28 billion USD in 2019, in 2020 it has demonstrated a contraction of 5.4% to 26.5 billion USD, under the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, based on an Outsell report,  “Segment View: Scientific, Technical & Medical,” published in July, 2021.

At the same time, between 2015 and 2020 in this sector article output has been found to increase in the 5%-6.5% range, even though in the Social Sciences and Humanities sector annual content growth rates have been moving between 1.7% and 3.8% in the 2018-2020 period, as a presentation by Simba Information indicates. Furthermore, according to a market outlook for the 2021-2025 period, print book publishing has sustained a significant negative impact, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In contrast,  digital-format scholarly content represents a globally dominant market sector, while accounting for circa 89% of scientific and technical output in 2020 and demonstrating a yearly growth rate of 10%, as compared to 2019, based on market segmentation reports of Outsell. For the scholarly book market, digital content primarily comprises paywall-protected electronic books and digital Open Access books in e-reader, desktop or mobile phone formats.

The market value of the Open Access sector derives from its underlying revenue models. According to Delta Think estimates, Open Access accounted for 7% of the total journal publishing market in 2020. Thus, for 2019 the worth of the Open Access market was appraised at 760 million USD with a yearly growth rate of 13%.

This market was  estimated to grow to 850 million USD in 2020, while accounting for over 30% of total scholarly output for that year.    


Featured image credits: The New Library in Birmingham, UK, August 11, 2014  | © Courtesy of  Neil Howard/Flickr.