Insights on the 2023 publishing landscape

Maverick’s comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the scientific and scholarly publishing ecosystem provides a unique perspective of the micro and macro trends impacting the market.  We have identified several key factors behind the shifts within the market that fall under the ‘megatrends’ of Sustainability and Digital Transformation.

These trends can include pathways to implementing a sustainable business case for financial viability, providing equitable and inclusive publishing and operating programs, or committing to initiatives for achieving net-zero carbon emissions. The primary drivers include the transition to a customer and user centric business focus, government and funder mandates, technology innovations, Open Science policies, economic friction, and approaches to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Accessibility (DEIA).

Publishers are reassessing their vision and goals and realigning their business strategies to meet these challenges and realize opportunities. For example, efforts may include incorporating cost control practices, experimentation with new business models, and securing growing and diversifying revenue streams.

Publishers are reframing how they are thinking about content platforms and engagement with their communities and what that relationship will look like in the future. This refocusing is resulting in major strategic pivots, such as committing to fully open access models, transforming into curators of knowledge and information, or using data/technology companies.  Maverick is seeing a continued surge in inorganic growth through acquisitions, mergers, and partnerships as publishers seek buy-in to expand their expertise and service offerings.

There is a growing acceptance of the inherent value of robust and enriched metadata and the opportunities conveyed by improving user experience and changing the nature of the relationship with the “prosumer” through extended indexing, enhanced curation, and better author and researcher services to meet the needs of the modern scholar.

For ease of consumption, the trends have been categorized under the following headings: Business Strategies, Equity of Access, Community Engagement, and Technology and Content.

Business strategies

Maverick is seeing an increase in the adoption of new business strategies, including pivoting to open access and open science, reframing of research dissemination as knowledge, and information curation and provision.

While publishers support sustainability goals, they have struggled with ways of operationalizing them. We see these barriers falling in 2023 as publishers develop sustainable business cases, including embedding DEIA practices, reducing environmental impact, implementing resilient and sustainable supply chains, and operating as socially responsible organizations. Learn more in Maverick’s panel discussion, Sustainability in Publishing.

Finally, we expect an increase in acquisitions, and strategies to manage a reduction in revenue return to societies.

Equity of access

While the industry is united in the merits of DEI, we are still in the early stages with publishers who have questions about implementing such an initiative. Nonetheless, the movement is strong and gaining steam with a move towards human centric design and increased engagement with underrepresented user groups. For more information, see Diversity & Inclusion from a Publisher’s Perspective an informative Q&A with Maverick’s Head of Technology & Content, Nancy Roberts.

It is estimated that as much as 30% of our target audience having some form of disability, there will be an emphasis on greater personalization to support accessibility, such as increasing development of tools to support making content platforms more accessible. Metadata will be improved to support scholarly SEO, including closer integration with information management systems, reading list software, researcher tools, and corporate knowledge systems.

Community engagement

The drive to increase engagement across all constituencies will continue in 2023. We expect a recalibration of relationships between publishers, prosumers, institutions, and funders, increasing the importance of establishing the value proposition of publishers throughout the research lifecycle.

Organizations are developing new corporate services to support upskilling and reskilling of internal workforces along with an emphasis on communicating socially responsible programs and strategies. For instance, Amazon is investing $700 Million in retraining and upskilling approximately 100,000 employees to give them the skills needed to thrive in the new economy and move into technical roles.

Businesses rely even more on making data driven decisions and generating a 360° view of customers and users through closer integration of back office and forward-facing systems. It will be more important than ever for publishers to support societies and associations as they navigate the impact of Open Access and to provide OA and author tool kits to support librarians and their users.

Technology and content

Digital transformation will continue to accelerate, impacting all aspects of the publishing ecosystem, such as a move to JATS and BITS xml first workflows, legacy modernization and decentralization for example. Intelligent and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) will solve issues of scale, cost, quality, and velocity while new metrics and KPI frameworks will be developed to track different forms of evaluation, including societal, political, and economic.

Accessibility will be improved through embedded human-centered and inclusive design principles to build digital products and services that serve the entire community while taxonomies and ontologies will be implemented to support automatic tagging, curation, and indexing.

There will be more platform migrations (less choice on the market) and potential for proprietary builds and a move to incorporate new NISO standards for books, including a continued move to consolidate digital estates and transition to content agnostic technologies.

Experimentation with machine learning and natural language processing technologies will continue to improve the authoring, submission, and peer review of manuscripts. And problematic papers will be addressed through the integration of third party and proprietary tools.

Maverick has a global network of Associates ready to meet with you to review the 2023 Trends Tracker and explore opportunities to grow your organization in the year ahead. To schedule a virtual appointment, contact me at

By Rebecca Moakes, Maverick Head of EMEA Business Development

Rebecca Moakes is an accomplished senior publishing professional specialising in product and platform development. With extensive experience of working for and with publishers, she offers a combination of strategic, commercial, and technical insights to deliver measurable business goals.