Q&A with Elsevier CEO in Research Information

Ron Mobed talks about industry trends, open access and profit margins for publishers

Elsevier CEO Ron Mobed was interviewed by Research Information Editor Dr. Siân Harris for the publication's October/November issue.

In an article titled "A changing environment," Mobed talks about trends in publishing, such as funding requirements that make it necessary for researchers to demonstrate the benefit of their work to taxpayers, and the more "dynamic" nature of research information, made possible largely by advances in technology.

[caption align="alignright"]Ron MobedRon Mobed[/caption]He addresses changes in the field of research and how publishers can best support researchers:

We are starting to see more attention to the discipline mix of research, and which areas institutions spend money on. There is enormous competition for the very best researchers, and we start to see specialisation. This allows us to think how to support researchers in different disciplines. The needs of a neuroscience group are very different from those of an astrophysics group in, for example, speed of dissemination, structure of the data, the number of authors on each paper, and how people search. We are thinking about different needs, drilling down discipline by discipline and thinking: 'If you are a research scientist in this field, this is the information you'll probably want...'

Mobed also points out that a growing proportion of research is being done in developing countries.

Even 10 years ago, the research spend in developing countries was small. This has changed drastically. Many good industry-wide initiatives have been going on for some time to help give these researchers information access free or very cheaply. In addition, we see some emerging countries – those countries that have seen rapid GDP growth like China and India – starting to put much more funding in research.

In addition, he talks about addressing criticism of the publishing industry, pricing and profit margins, and open access as part of the research information "ecosystem."

Read the interview in Research Information.

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