There is tension in this question that gets to the heart of where a publisher should be putting its resources, and perhaps more importantly what the reasons are behind those investment decisions.
The side of the argument that says they are not technology companies might say that at the heart of what publishers do is content, and so they are content and service companies. Invest then in acquisition, in reach, in marketing, in branding, in distribution and in making the sales process as cost effective asa possible.
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I took some notes on some of the sessions at the conference yesterday.
Dave Smith - object oriented publishing. Dave makes a good case here about how we should think about the future of scholarly publishing — in terms of objects that can be reformed based on the needs and competencies of the readers. He points out that while we do have in place good ontologies and domain models, our entire view of publishing and our publishing infrastructures, remain laggy and are a barrier to moving in this direction.
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Thoughtworks have created a tool to allow you to build your own “Digital Radar”. The one linked to here was put together a few years ago by people at the BMJ to look at the technology landscape in STM publishing (There are some really interesting things in there in some interesting locations).