Moving out of Oldenburg's Long Shadow: What is the Future for Society Publishing?

Learned Publishing, Vol. 20, No. 4, October 2007

13 Pages Posted: 5 Jul 2007 Last revised: 31 Aug 2014

See all articles by Chris Armbruster

Chris Armbruster

10,000 Data Scientists for Europe


The internet and the rise of e-Science alter the conditions for scholarly communication. In signing declarations against open access mandates, society publishers indicate that they feel most threatened by the emergence of institutional repositories and the self-archiving mandates that these make possible. More attention should be paid to the impact of e-Science, the rise of internet-based guild publishers and the entrance of players from the new economy. Society journals should stop aspiring to such functions as registration and archiving and should shed electronic dissemination, while enhancing certification and investing in (new) navigation services.

In the Philosophical Transactions, Henry Oldenburg (or: Oldenbourg) in 1665 provided the model of academic journal publishing, conjoining dissemination and certification, and setting up the journal as a register and archive of knowledge claims. With the internet, however, the time has come to step out of Oldenburg's long shadow. From the table of contents: Moving out of Oldenburg's long shadow; The technology and economics of internet-based scholarly communication; The impact on societies; What is the role for mission-oriented publishers?; Faculty reluctance?; Shifting from 'content' to 'service'.

Keywords: Scholarly Communication, Electronic Publishing, Society Publishing, Not-for-profit Publishing, Learned Societies, Professional Societies, Open Access, Institutional Repositories, Digital Libraries, Peer Review, Navigation Services

JEL Classification: D23, H41, L31, L86, O31, O33, O34

Suggested Citation

Armbruster, Chris, Moving out of Oldenburg's Long Shadow: What is the Future for Society Publishing?. Learned Publishing, Vol. 20, No. 4, October 2007, Available at SSRN: or

Chris Armbruster (Contact Author)

10,000 Data Scientists for Europe ( email )


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