Keynote Speech
Association of American University Presses' Electronic Publishing Workshop,
New Orleans, June 15, 2006
Michael Jon Jensen
Listen to the Audio Recording including introduction, 24MB streaming WAV file, about 45 minutes + 15 minutes Q/A

Evolution, Intelligent Designers, Climate Change,
and the Scholarly Publishing Ecosystem

Part of my job, as opening speaker, is to be a little irreverant, a little amusing, a little unsettling, and a little context-setting. I gave a version of this talk as a keynote for the Illinois Association of College and Research Libraries in March, and it was a little of all those things for them. I've framed this version for the community with which I've been most closely involved for twenty-plus years: scholarly publishing.

Some of you don't know me, so let me give you a bit of background -- I've been engaged in publishing technologies since before press-wide databases. Since before CDROMs. Since before email addresses. Since before the Internet. Since before desktop publishing. Since before PCs. And I've been talking, and training, and proselytizing, and evangelizing about the potential of technology within the AAUP for a couple of decades.

I was at the University of Nebraska Press for almost a decade, then at Johns Hopkins University Press where I helped get Project Muse off the ground, and for the last eight years I've been at the National Academies Press.

I put together the very first AAUP Electronic Publishing Workshop, 13 years ago, in Snowbird, Utah. That was 1993, a year, you may remember, in which the WWW traffic on NSF's Internet backbone amounted to 1%, to 200 known http servers.

In my keynote for that meeting, I said:

I see the Internet as the early proving ground for intellectual- and information-property problems -- and solutions -- that will be faced internationally. In five years I'm certain that there will be a wide web of communication networks available, many at very low cost. Already there are companies providing inexpensive Internet connections to anyone with a modem. Freenets and their equivalents are popping up like crocuses. The communications industry is ramping up for an intriguing and potentially chaotic blend of cablephones, online VCRs, cellular online links, realtime video conference calls over copper wires, user-choice video and audio, and virtual-reality online games. Interconnections between all these networks will be demanded by the public. And they will be made. The business sector servicing that infrastructure will blossom. We need to be ready for it.

The following year, in the keynote at the second EP Workshop prior to an annual meeting, this time in Washington, DC in 1994, I said:

... I'm more convinced than ever that we're in a war, folks, a war for the heart of our culture and the minds of our children, our students, our teachers, and eventually our scholars.

The nonprofit, educational, and governmental publishers must, absolutely must, begin to look beyond the next three years. We must realize that ten years from now we will look back upon these years as being the birth of the online environment. It is a new baby, and one whose character is being formed. It is our responsibility to assure that its character is formed with the best interests of our citizens in mind, not the best interests of the corporate bottom line.

This may seem too extreme for you, for an introductory talk--almost sociopolitical commentary. After all, it's only publishing, right? Just books that people choose to buy or not buy, right?

Wrong. We do more than print books. We Publish--make knowledge, research, information, even occasionally wisdom, Public. We judge, improve, publicize, and distribute that material for the advancement of education, scholarship, and eventually, for [the advancement of] humankind.

If you look at my writings over the last 15-20 years, for the most part my predictive capacity has shown itself to be pretty good. But I've made a few real lulus -- for example, later in 1994, I predicted that the book would disappear in five years. I believed, at the time, that technology was marching so fast that we'd have digital readers, easy access to content, and would be walking around with e-books only, by 2000.
Slide 2

My fundamental error was in thinking that technology was the driver. It's not: it's the human culture using the new technologies that is the driver.

I teach a course on electronic publishing for George Washington University's "master's in publishing" program, and because my most recent class had 24-year olds through 55-year-olds in it, we got to explore in some detail the differences the generations had, in terms of their relationship to the online world.

Those under 30 grew up with the computer, and the Internet is like a faucet they've always been able to turn on. For those over 40, however, the Internet is, and always will remain, something of the Other. For us, paper will always be the reality artifact, of which the digital version is a transitory imitation. For those under 30, paper is just another format with particular advantages and disadvantages.

Because of these demographic realities, I now believe that the book is likely remain a marketable, if declining, commodity for at least another decade. There are so many of us who love books that a market for them will exist -- but that audience is literally dying off, and isn't being replenished. For the now 20-30somethings, the drivers for their scholarship, their research, and their teaching during that decade will be the Internet's increasingly easy social networking technology applications. Most of their scholarship will be *outside* the printed book. Scholarly publishers will need to find ways to be part of that, if we're to continue to be relevant to scholarship.

I'm going to build an extended metaphor this morning, about the gardens that librarians, publishers, and scholars built over the 20th century; about the information ecosystem we inhabit; and about the climate change of the Internet. It's a metaphor that leans on the rules of evolution, and which warns about the dangers of abundance.

This extended metaphor helps my over-40 mind better understand the principles of the strange new digital world into which we're constantly being pushed. It's a metaphor that I hope is useful even for the under-30 minds among us.

Slide 3
Evolution is a remarkable thing. My father was an evolutionary biologist, a psychologist, and an animal behaviorist, and so I grew up with evolution at the dinner table. We didn't say grace; we talked about the evolutionary bases for the development of pairbonding; of teenage risk-taking as innate behavior with evolutionary, but not individual, advantage; of innate fight-or-flight responses to threats. Evolution is in my blood, much like Genesis is in the blood of those raised on a daily dose of the Bible.

Evolution is not survival of the strongest, or failure of the weakest. Evolution is not fair; it's not predictable; it's not kind. Nor is it cruel, or chaotic, or unfair, for that matter. Evolution is what happens when environmental pressures change, and when variability of DNA enables new species to develop into new niches.

In a stable ecosystem, evolution happens very slowly, if at all.
Slide 4
There are few if any advantages that accrue to any unusual genetic fluke, so there is no unusual likelihood of any genes being disproportionately represented in the next generation of a species' offspring. In an ecosystem with no pressures, little changes.

Dramatic ecosystem changes, however, cause dramatic evolutionary pressures. Pressures where a high proportion of a species die, leaving the more adaptable or more genetically extreme to reproduce disproportionately. Countless individuals die off because they happened to be born to parents whose genetic traits were disadvantageous in the face of a new pressure.

Conversely, that extra-hairy individual has a better chance of surviving a cold snap, and therefore a better chance of passing on her genes, and therefore a better chance that five generations later that species has a more hairy population.

Publisher DNA

Publishers are by nature hyperconservative -- the huge investment involved in traditional acquisitions, printing, warehousing, and distribution forced that hyperconservatism upon us. Nonprofit publishers, without venture capital, are even more risk-averse. So it's no surprise that we've been wary of this newfangled evolutionary fad called the computer, much less the Internet.

We haven't been sitting on our hands, of course. More than a dozen university presses have tried a few dozen experiments over the years. Some of the earliest experiments in "surfing the wave of change" ended up in costly fiascos. Ken Arnold (?) with his floppy-disk books which sold barely more than none at all; CD-ROMs like University of Nebraska Press's Encyclopedia of Frontier Biography that I engineered in the early 90s, which sold barely more than 100 copies. There were a few exciting examples of early successes like Columbia's CIAO, Hopkins' Project Muse, and even the National Academies Press online books.

Most of the bigger successful enterprises got venture capital in the form of grants, and were focused on journals.

Few were the university press projects addressing our bread and butter, the scholarly monograph. Most of the experiments in that arena were driven by non-publisher entities (ACLS, in the case of the History Ebook Project, or library-facilitated ventures like UVA's EText Center, Columbia's CIAO, etc.

And tellingly, nearly all of these projects were locked into the pricing, publishing, and packaging models of the 20th century print.

Our fundamental DNA remained largely unchanged from when our species initially developed.

That DNA evolved to work within a supply chain of sales intermediaries -- wholesalers, retailers -- who would sell our product. It evolved within a world of scholarly scarcity: it was the scholar's job to be a filter and interpreter of difficult-to-find primary sources; it was the scholarly publisher's job to identify the best scholars with the best perspective and the best access to scarce resources. Therefore the DNA evolved to survive within that world of scarcity and costliness.

This "information scarcity and costliness" environment is what drove the evolution of publishing throughout its history, but especially in the 20th Century, and that's the DNA that currently predominates in the university press genome, as well as in many other areas of academe.

Slide 5

Intelligent Designers

Now let me take you into the surprising part of this talk's title: Intelligent Designers. For many of us, that term means creationism. In this context, however, it's more about conscious choices the Academy made to accommodate that information scarcity and costliness: about selective inclusion, filtration systems, collection and distribution systems, and about how librarians, scholarly publishers, scholars, and universities have been intelligent designers of the scholarly communications ecosystem for the last century.

Scholarly publishers and librarians strive to impose order on the multiple flowerings of academe. We endeavor to enhance access and readability, seek to improve the comprehensibility and the organization of those works, we labor to enable the works of the finest minds of our cultures to enrich the minds of the next generation of learned thinkers.

Historically, scholarly publishers and libraries have been the epicenter of scholarly communication. We were both vital for centralization, validation, production, and dissemination of scholarly discourse.
Slide 6

Publishers were essential, being the pre-filters of relevance, mining gold from the ore of submission piles, or of annual meeting presentations. Publishers who polished the prose, making those brilliant original minds more comprehensible; who found readers and markets, and who gambled a year's salary on publishing a book, to ensure it was the best possible product. We published only the best we could locate, and then filtered out what was too specialized, too outlandish, or too unfocused, because the financial risk was too great to do otherwise.

Librarians were essential, being those who centralized the marketplace of ideas, who organized and catalogued and invented finding aids for the vast diversity of content. Librarians were also the selectors, the filters, the discerners, driven by the necessities of time, space, and budget. Libraries were neither omnivorous, nor complete. The financial cost of gathering everything was too great, so systems for selectivity were required.

That synergy between publishers and librarians created what I think of as "an ecosystem of quality." All the material, in any library, had been vetted several times over -- by the acquiring editors, by peer reviewers, and by collection developers. When you went into a library (or a publisher's catalog), you could pretty much be certain that any book pulled from the stacks was worthwhile in some way.
Slide 7

That ecosystem of quality was driven by a presumption of information scarcity and substantial financial risk, and so our DNA evolved to accomodate that. Throughout my time in the print era, the cost to acquire, prepare, print, market, warehouse, and distribute a scholarly monograph was about a mid-level annual salary's worth of risk. So to make books happen, there had to be a business model, and the business model drove the publishing choices.

University presses found their own niches, evolving specialized DNA to take advantage of their unique position. From a business model perspective, it made sense for university presses to be financially independent from their universities (to prevent outside, uninformed influence on publishing choices, and to avoid the costly waste of essentially "vanity publishing")

It also made evolutionary sense to be editorially independent from their universities (to enable Press specializations, "list-building." A press with strength in, say, Native American Studies, can develop expertise in that market, that discipline, that community). This drove the habit of UPs generally *not* publishing from within their university

It also was an evolutionary advantage to avoid being or performing any "service" to the campus (to enable the press to specialize its focus on the costly enterprise called "the business of scholarly publishing")

These choices all made perfectly good sense in the old, "scarcity and costliness" model of scholarly publishing, in which it was expensive to print, expensive to transport, expensive to collect, expensive to select, and expensive to locate information.

It also made perfect evolutionary sense for university presses to consider libraries mostly as a market, if a threatening one; to consider scholars mostly as an audience and an author pool, not a participatory community; and to consider their universities useful "branding support," rather than as a resource of intellectual and financial support.

The visuals I've been using for the "intelligently designed scholarly ecosystem" period are the manicured gardens of estates, and the careful beauty of the National Arboretum. These are crafted ecologies, and their beauty and value shouldn't be minimized. We garden to be sure there are no weeds; we fertilize the works of the authors; we tend to the flowerbeds of academic disciplines.

But as intelligent designers of these ecologies, we are at peril of becoming moot -- especially because we've entered an era of tremendous evolutionary change brought on by the warm, moist winds of the Internet.

Slide 8
Climate Change

That climate change is creeping slowly over our controlled environments.

New, alien species have begun to run riot without natural predators or constraints. Fewer bees are pollinating our manicured flowers. Trees whose roots could handle dry cold now have to handle wet heat.

Worst of all, for the garden's potential visitors, there's often more interesting flora and fauna Out There.
Slide 9

Out There, in the wild; Out There, where there's so much biodiversity. Out There, where it's not necessarily vetted or peer reviewed or validated, but it's really, really interesting.

I have long believed that *any* time spent on interesting stuff, is time well invested. These days, I find that there is a functionally infinite amount of interesting stuff, Out There in the wilds of the Internet.

The amount of material I can find from my chair -- without going to a library, without buying a book, and essentially for free -- is endlessly interesting, for any purpose I can name. Worse for us "intelligent designers," it is generally sufficient to answer my question or give me perspective. I don't need centralization of resources, I need resources I can access that are well indexed by Google or Yahoo. The raw convenience of time, plus the endless fascination of endless content, means I don't take advantage of the distilled, controlled, high-quality resources provided by traditional publishing.

This is the resource pressure of abundancy driving evolutionary change in our ecosystem -- our customers have not only distractions, but legitimate alternatives.

The New Ecosystem

In the New Ecosystem, a wide variety of formal material is available as Open Access, and this is what tends to be increasingly read, and cited, and linked-to.

In the New Ecosystem, plenty of legitimate authors can make legitimate content available for free, to anyone with a Web connection. In the New Ecosystem, usefulness and ease-of-use are the necessary calling cards. Quality and dependability, while perhaps appreciated, can still be overwhelmed by that abundance.

Economics of Attention

Information itself had a slower pace ten years ago. Twenty years ago it was dramatically slower. For good or ill, we are now an impatient people with seemingly infinite, instant resources. We pay now with our time, as much as our wallet, in the Attention Economy.

Attention is shifting, I'm afraid. That's part of the climate change metaphor -- I'm afraid the glaciers are melting, and the ocean is rising, as attention is shifting away from our beautiful gardens.

Today, if something's not available digitally, it's rapidly becoming as good as invisible.

That's the worst fate possible for a scholar, or for any meaningful content -- to be invisible.
Slide 10

Attention is the currency -- even the food supply -- of the New Ecosystem, and librarians and publishers can't participate if we're locked down and self-barred from participation.

For the last decade, my own Press, the National Academies Press, has been putting up its content, for free, in readable format, designed to be found by search engines. Long before Amazon's Look Inside, or Google's Book Search, we were making our stuff available for online reading and browsing for free. Consequently, we now get 1.5 *million* visitors per *month.* We're doing this while still being financially self-sustaining. Almost 18 *million* visitors per year, and still we make almost a third of our overall (and steady) publishing revenue through online print book and PDF book sales.
Slide 11

We do much more than just plop it up, too -- we have a chapter skim tool, and search builder tools, and more. We are trying to be sure that our material doesn't go invisible -- and is maximally available to the Attention Economy. I can show'n'tell at the end of the presentation or later, if there's interest, but I don't want to get too sidetracked from the extended metaphor.

Scholarly publishing is moving from an ecosystem information scarcity into a participatory online culture of abundance, which is a dramatic change in the weather. If publisher resources aren't available to that population, we may not be considered part of that culture. Bluntly, if something is locked away, and if the integrating systems of search engines can't index it, then fewer people will quote from it, and nobody will link to it, and it may functionally disappear.

The Information Ecosystem: Web 2.0, the Web as a platform
Slide 12

Tim O'Reilly, a publisher and Internet luminary, has written eloquently about some of the changes going on in the developing information ecosystem. One of his now overused and overhyped memes is that of "Web 2.0" -- the idea that the Web has reached such a level of ubiquity and dependability that businesses can build entirely new models, using the Web itself as a platform upon which to build.

These are businesses which could not exist without the Web. The "participatory culture" I mentioned a moment ago is essential to these new kinds of businesses, and may point to some of the ways the Web will be applied by scholars.

There are 30 million blogs that people update more than once per month. Vox populi indeed.

From, as of March 11: "The Pew Internet study estimates that about 11%, or about 50 million, of Internet users are regular blog readers. According to Technorati data, there are about 70,000 new blogs a day. Bloggers - people who write weblogs - update their weblogs regularly; there are about 700,000 posts daily, or about 29,100 blog updates an hour."

Slide 13

From On February 15th, the 100,000,000th photo was uploaded -- each photo tagged in some way, and available for free browsing. Flickr depends on the engagement of people -- people willing to spend a moment entering some descriptive words about the content of a photo. There is no controlled vocabulary, no official taxonomy, no authority files -- this is the iconic example of the term "folksonomies."

These and other "social networking"-driven sites demonstrate a different information model than we are accustomed to seeing.

Do I need to even mention that Encyclopedia Britannica was first published in 1771, while Wikipedia is just over 5 years old, and yet a recent study found them of similar accuracy?
Slide 14

Myspace is free, famous, and used by 70 million people, and is used intensely and daily.
Slide 15

Craigslist makes classified ads useful and free, nation- and world-wide, has millions of users, and has only a handful of fulltime employees.
Slide 16, a bloggish "directory of interesting things," produced by a group of 5 unpaid "interesting people" and no staff, gets more traffic than
Slide 17

Google Video and Yahoo Video and dozens of other video repositories mean anyone can provide fast, free downloads of their video material.

I can -- and have -- spent hours reading and watching fascinating stuff produced by some guy in Toledo, or Fresno, or Tuskaloosa.

In terms of the Attention Economy, that means that for those hours, I was *not* watching television, I wasn't reading a book I purchased, I wasn't reading a journal I bought access to -- I was watching a participatory culture's creations via the platform of the Web.
Slide 18

Here's a selection from Tim's O'Reilly's list of key elements and lessons learned about the "Web 2.0 world":
  • Services, not packaged software, with cost-effective scalability
  • Control over unique, hard-to-recreate data sources that get richer as more people use them
  • Trusting users as co-developers
  • Harnessing collective intelligence
  • Leveraging the long tail through customer self-service
  • Lightweight user interfaces, development models, AND business models
Slide 19

Tim's original focus was mostly on the business-model end, but most of these lessons have real significance to the questions we are addressing here.

They are also in some ways antithetical to our traditional "intelligently designed garden" model. "Services, not products"? "Customer self-service"? "Trust users as co-developers"? How can we integrate user interaction to help content "get richer as more people use them"? How do those approaches fit into the current model of scholarly publishing? It's not part of our DNA, but it may need to be.

Scholarly Communications

I recently had a conversation with the new head of the Social Science Research Center, which has heretofore worked with university presses to publish a handful of booklength works every year. They are in the process of shifting to a Web-driven model, with print as simply an artifact, not the culmination. They recognize that for their audience, Google and other search engines are the primary centralizers now, not the publishers or even the libraries. They need to be able to be nimble, quick to respond to key issues, and be able to publish smaller works that may not have a print market -- so they'll take publishing "in house," use Lightning Source to print on demand, and publish mostly for the Wild Web "Out There," consciously engaging their audience as participants.

The Web 2.0 realities of participatory engagement may be perfect for scholarly communities -- apart from the issues of tenure and accreditation. The number of, say, Latin American History scholars is small, but they care a great deal about the topic, and will engage directly with the content. Their need for a participatory community may outweigh some of the benefits of traditional publication -- or may simply be considered a different form of publication.

I anticipate -- and even hope to help develop -- new Web-based mechanisms for group collections and tagging of distributed scholarly resources online. But especially with those tools, if material isn't available online, it may gradually disappear from the immediate consciousness of those scholars -- as I think is beginning to happen already.

The Scholarly Ecosystem

In 1993, I tried to outline for a Harvard/MIT Workshop on Scholarly Communications and Intellectual Property what I thought was likely in the coming Internet era. What I saw, and what I *didn't* see, is I think illuminative. On the one hand, I foresaw many of the financial and intellectual-property arrangements between various entities -- the new businesses that were started by the intellectual property industry. The "Potential Sales Web" was pretty accurate -- the online bookstore = Amazon and Google, the for-profit library = NetLibrary and Ebrary, the license transactions with libraries are what Project Muse, CIAO, and many others implement.
Slide 20

What I didn't see was what the loss of centralization would mean, and what the rise of the participatory culture, and the New Ecosystem, would mean.

The "intelligently designed" garden ecosystem for scholarly communications includes serious adherence to copyright law; includes nonprofit and for-profit commercial enterprises that physically centralize certain skill sets; presumes a centralization of resources in libraries and on campuses. It presumes the book is the culmination, where ideas are fully explored. It presumes a kind of research that is measured, and thorough, and relatively conclusive. It also presumes that all information has financial value.

The New Ecosystem for scholarly communications is becoming very different because the niches mandated by physicality are in decline. This is the climate change in specific -- the change from physical weather to digital weather. Copyright law is just a nuisance and a barrier in the New Ecosystem, and Digital Rights Management technologies won't solve it, because they're also a nuisance. In fact, a solid argument can be made that mindless adherence to the principle of monetizing the value of content by restricting access may be counterproductive as an evolutionary strategy.
Slide 21

In the New Ecosystem, the physical centralization of editorial offices may be less necessary, and the network will enable ever more "virtual collaboratories" for scholarly development. These need not be 501(c)3 organizations -- they may be transitory, or Association-based, more like subcommittees of participants.

Centralization of physical resources becomes much less important in the New Ecosystem -- though centralization of virtual resources is still vital.

The New Ecosystem does *not* presume that the book is the culmination of scholarly research. The culmination project in the new ecology may be something entirely different -- which might have as many words as a book, but is likely have broader diversity, an active index, hypertextual navigation, more examples, and the possibility of external users tagging, commenting, and participating in the project. Perhaps most important, great gobs of it will not stay static. Instead, it may be a constantly evolving project, with material added, modified, deleted.

Finally, the New Ecosystem does not presume that all information has financial value. In the old model, it was a precondition. Nearly every word published had a price on it. In the new model, information forms and types are able to find their appropriate requirement for capital. And scholarly communications have a much higher social value than financial value -- so it may be that the economics of the existing ecosystem are actually relatively antithetical to the natural balance between scholars, their peers, and their audiences.

These are the ecosystem realities that seem to have developed over the last few years, for content online:

Principles of the New Ecosystem:
Slide 22

  • free trumps cost
  • open trumps firewalled
  • easy trumps intricate
  • fast sufficiency trumps clumsy quality
  • integrated/linked trumps siloed
  • findable trumps precise
  • recommended trumps available
  • updatable trumps static

    There are no doubt other principles, but these seem to hold true across Webspace.

  • Climate Change Speed
    Slide 23
    We tend to think of climate change as gradual -- weather patterns becoming one degree warmer, a bit drier over time, etc. We want to believe that, because anything else seems too scary. However, there's plenty of evidence that climate change can occur with startling rapidity -- over a decade or less.

    As I've said, while I've been flat wrong in my predictions a couple of times, I've mostly been pretty accurate about trends like those that I'm calling "the climate change of digital information."

    And my prediction is this: we have around five years to adapt, and another five years to adapt further. Books will have an audience for at least that long, and likely longer. But scholarly publishing and scholarly communications will change dramatically and quickly during that time, and without adaptation, many of us may not weather the change.

    What's to be done?

    The work we do is noble work, and is needed -- that work of identifying, enhancing, collecting, qualifying, providing access to the highest quality content. But the way we do that work will have to change. Unfortunately it may have to be rapid, even dramatic change, if we are to retain relevance in the New Ecosystem.

    What scholarly publishers do is important, but the importance of our work is independent of our ability to prosper in the Attention Economy. Just because we've always been central to scholarship, doesn't mean we will continue to be.

    What can university presses do?
    • Prove our value in the New Ecosystem by adapting to changes
    • Find new niches that take advantage of our existing strengths
    • Engage with our institutions, and with our faculty and staff. They are the customer base, each a "market of one."
    • Develop direct-to-consumer sales expertise. Get to know the consumers of your list at the individual level.
    • Dramatically increase speed-to-market.
    • Work with your institutional counterparts. Librarians have skills that publishers don't have, and vice versa. Both share understandings that can benefit the institution.
    • Develop, promote, and share specialized skills: assistance in editorial oversight of Web-based projects (with some fee); assistance in cost-recovery models and stable archivable resources; actively assist local university scholars in collaboration and publishing via other UPs, etc.
    • Experiment with "content partnerships" with other scholarly publishers
    • Ask our authors what their grad students are thinking about online scholarship
    • Develop Web brand recognition -- internally and externally
    • Make content more openly available to search engines.
    • Work with search engines, author collectives, scholarly societies, and even hobbyists to develop participatory scholarly arenas
    • Hew to your mission -- it's not about printing, it's about disseminating and promoting the fruits of scholarship.
    Slide 24

    Scholarly publishers, like others with fundamentally conservative institutional DNA, must learn to be driven less by fear and more by opportunity; we must encourage institutional support to explore new models that risk existing cost-recovery models.

    We need to embrace what we are most averse to doing:

    Take More Risks

    Let me go back to one of those dinnertime conversation with my father and family, about evolution:

    Teenage boys are the greatest risk-takers across the primate species -- even across mammals in general. It's sensible, from an evolutionary sense -- young males are the most dispensable, in terms of maintaining reproduction. But if the risky behavior (in eating different foods, going farther afield, or leaping even farther across trees) ends up opening up a new environmental niche, then those genes may prosper. The older generation tends to take fewer risks.

    Scholarly publishers and librarians are primary actors in a very mature, stable ecosystem that evolved within the constraints of the physical world, and developed to maximize species stability within those environmental constraints of scarcity and costliness.

    The Open Web world is the gangly, risk-taking teenager in comparison. The participatory-culture folks are all taking leaps into unknown territory -- and what they are discovering and creating is a huge, self-defining, complex, informationally rich ecosystem, as satisfying, to them, as what we built was, to us.

    Bluntly, in the new scholarly ecosystem, we have to do a *lot* more risk-taking than we currently are. We have to recognize that our roles in the New Ecosystem will be different, and that our job descriptions will change even if the missions don't.

    Our missions must be to help build trusted, well-crafted content for our institutions and for our audiences, and to be agile while doing it, regardless of our historic habits. That is, we must be both stable *and* fleet of foot. Another behavioral paradox, not unlike the NAP paradox of making our content maximally open while still remaining financially sustainable.

    Climate change can happen abruptly, as I've said, and its ecological repercussions can also happen rapidly, for particular species. We are entering a complex, New Ecosystem, and it will keep on creating evolutionary pressures for the foreseeable future. Our publishing imperatives, our organizational and business models, our underlying funding streams, and our status-conferring confirmations, all of these will be changing, relatively continuously. This kind of change is something we have no history doing, but which we'd better learn how to do -- and do as partners with our institutions.

    Risk is a tough thing for us all, but is required for us to prosper in the New Ecosystem. We must find ways to integrate our intelligently designed gardens into the larger open ecosystems. Climate change is upon us, and we must respond.

    I'd like to close with some optimism. As I said, the NAP site gets 1.5 million visitors per month, which is an ocean of attention. Most of those visitors are people who would never have found our material without our open approach. A large proportion are grazers -- people with only marginal interest in a topic, but who may become interested because they can read about it, online, for free.

    The scholarly communications system, like the real world, has entered the climate change era. If we as humans are to weather the sociopolitical crises of the very real ecosystem trauma of the very real atmospheric climate change, as well as weather the diseases of zealotry, small-mindedness, and fear, we will need an educated, informed populace, whether officially "scholarly" or not. We need a nation of educated dilettantes, as well as specialists and scholars. We need a world where qualified, valid information acquires the "compound interest" of linking and confirmation from trusted sources -- like librarians and publishers. We have the resources, the drive, and the skills to help make the information ecosystem better able to inform the larger world.

    We have the capacity to help influence the developing information ecosystem -- by feeding it constant quality, engaging in the new participatory culture, and thereby helping this new jungle grow not only thickly, but also well.

    In the New Scholarly Ecosystem, we can continue to remain valuable, and we can survive. But we must take risks to take advantage of this New Ecosystem's possibilities. We can. Our job is to consciously address who we are, what we do, and how best to do it over the coming decade. And as I said at that second workshop, in 1994: "we must address what it is we want to look back on, ten years from now, and say that we did."

    It won't be easy, but then again, it's never been an easy business.

    Thanks for your attention. I look forward to further discussions in the days ahead of us.

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