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How Do We Find Ourselves Here? Context for Increased Institutional Investment and Ownership of Infrastructure

Published onMay 28, 2020
How Do We Find Ourselves Here? Context for Increased Institutional Investment and Ownership of Infrastructure

The Knowledge Futures Group (KFG) builds technology for the production, curation, and preservation of knowledge in service of the public good. It was founded, in the words of MIT Press Director Amy Brand, in the hopes of galvanizing “a real movement towards greater institutional and public investment in that infrastructure.”1 But why is there a need for institutions to invest in infrastructure? This post hopes to provide context by highlighting some key trends and offering a selection of articles for further reading.

Publishing generally has long been an industry with a wide variety of offerings. However, the latter half of the twentieth century (and early twenty-first) has been characterized by increasing consolidation of content by four large publishers (Elsevier, Wiley, SpringerNature, and Taylor and Francis), who now controlling the vast majority of journal publications in Science, Technology, and Medicine. More recently, a similar consolidation has taken place among the technology vendors that online content providers depend upon to host their content. Atypon, for example, now owned by Wiley, hosts a bit less than 50% of English language journal content.

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