From paper-based towards post-digital scholarly publishing: an analysis of an ideological dilemma and its consequences

Authors : Jarmo Saarti, Kimmo Tuominen


Even though the current publishing model is based on digital dissemination, it still utilizes some of the basic principles of printed culture. Recently a policy emphasis towards open access has been set for publicly funded research.

This paper reports on a study of the practices, business models and values linked with scholarly publishing.


Conceptual analysis was conducted, drawing on literature on scholarly publishing policies, practices, values and economies, with an emphasis on the structures and conflicts between license-based and open publishing models.


Scholarly interests of sharing collide with commercial interests of generating profits. In the digital era, the scientific community might have a third economically viable alternative. This third way is based on what the authors call post-digital scholarly publishing.


Science should aim at as complete openness as possible. Scholarly activities advance best when the whole scientific community has access to both publications and research data.

What seems to stand in the way of scientific sharing is the global publishing industry in its present form. In the future, post-digital scholarly publishing might provide a means for finding an economically viable way between sharing economy and commercial interests.