As the publishing landscape continues to evolve, driven by technological advancements and shifting audience expectations, publishers must adapt and innovate to unlock new revenue streams.

In our 2024 Publishing Tech Trends report, Hum and Silverchair consulted a panel of industry experts to ask: What do you see as the number one opportunity for publishers to drive more revenue in 2024? Here’s what they had to say. 

Building communities and enhancing the author/researcher experience

Cultivating strong relationships and providing an exceptional experience for authors and researchers emerged as a critical focus area. By fostering engagement and delivering value, publishers can strengthen loyalty and open new avenues for revenue growth. Several of our experts emphasized the importance of creating communities, focusing on the author experience, and developing relationships with the audience.

  • “Focus more on creating community and events.” - Dave Oakley, MEI Global LLC
  • “With regard to technology and AI, enriched data to better understand authors and readers at specific touch points along their respective journeys presents the biggest opportunity in 2024 and beyond.” - Rory Williams, Rockefeller University Press 
  • “If publishers can get the services offering right (and priced properly), that will become a significant revenue driver. Researchers lack time and making it easier for them to publish is something they may well consider paying for.” - Heather Staines, Delta Think
  • “Making the process and content work for the audience lets everything else come easier. Providing relevant content will yield more citations, citations will yield higher impact factors, higher impact factors will yield more submissions.” - Will Fortin, Hum

Leveraging data, AI, and machine learning

Data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning technologies represent a rapidly evolving frontier rife with revenue potential for forward-thinking publishers. By harnessing these powerful tools, publishers can generate valuable insights, surface hyper-relevant content, and create new monetization models. Many of our pros mentioned investing in data and AI to generate insights, surface relevant content, and create new revenue opportunities.

  • “Augmented intelligence tools that deliver insights and trends by synthesizing large volumes of content.” - Phoebe McMellon, GeoScienceWorld 
  • “Data is the number one opportunity. Using data to find topics of interest which then become special issues, webinars or news forums. Once topics are identified, there are often grants or sponsorships available to fund those topics. This will require thinking beyond a scholarly article to encompass content more holistically - in different formats and lengths.” - Ann Link, Linked Strategies 
  • “Monetizing AI and OA for the publishers that will find ways to leverage AI tools to bring additional use cases to their OA content. For paywalled content, there is still plenty AI can do to help drive the researchers to more relevant results across broad data sets. AI tools are not necessarily cheap or easy to implement, but they can save significant amount of time for researchers and create opportunities for publishers to surface better curated results than ever before.” - Emilie Delquie, Silverchair 
  • “Cleaning and organizing metadata for various AI uses.” - Avi Staiman, Academic Language Experts
  • Publisher behavioral data is the most plentiful, most valuable, and yet most ignored data in the publisher ecosystem. Publishers can now capture and understand the behavior, interests, and intent of every individual in their entire audience as they engage with their digital content, and they can put that understanding to use in communicating with and engaging them directly. This can transform author, editor, and reviewer recruitment; content strategies; and institutional sales.” - Tim Barton, Hum

Streamlining workflows and increasing operational efficiencies

In a hyper-competitive environment, maximizing efficiency is paramount for publishers aiming to boost revenue while controlling costs. By optimizing end-to-end workflows and eliminating friction points, publishers can drastically improve productivity and deliver an elevated experience. A few experts shared the need for end-to-end workflow efficiencies as a valuable revenue driver, reducing wasted time and effort.

  • “There is too much time and effort wasted by our industry. Publishers are increasingly efficient with their own time, but less efficient with the time of the people they serve and rely on for producing and reading content. There continues to be business opportunities in making lives easier and much more effective for the people that publishers serve.” - Neil Christensen, Morressier
  • “Focus on drop off rates. Publishers should streamline their funnel. It’s not all about attracting more; it’s about making yourself attractive by increasing efficiency, so you don’t lose authors to competitors. An example could be the transfer process.” - Christian Grubak, ChronosHub

New content formats, licensing, and partnerships

Venturing beyond traditional formats and revenue models allows publishers to diversify income streams and capitalize on emerging opportunities. By collaborating with strategic partners, licensing valuable content and data, and delivering new content experiences, publishers can tap into fresh sources of revenue. Some pros suggest generating revenue through new content formats (beyond scholarly articles), forming strategic partnerships, and finding sponsorships or grants for specific topics.

  • “More collaboration and partnership around cascades with external partners with complementary scopes, and the ability to transfer peer reviews. Improve the process for researchers, and save time and money on both sides.” - Lou Peck, the International Bunch
  • “Licensing content for machine learning.” - Tasha Mellins-Cohen, Mellins-Cohen Consulting

Want to catch up on all the predictions for 2024? Download a free copy of the 2024 Publishing Tech Trends report.