STM Online Services to Grow Despite Brexit, Trump

Press Release
Jan 31, 2017
Rockville, Md. – January 31, 2017 – Brexit and the Trump presidency have introduced uncertainty into the market for scientific, technical and medical (STM) information, but burgeoning online services are expected to weather the storm—this according to the most recent report from media and publishing intelligence firm Simba Information.

The report, STM Online Services 2016-2020, found that online services continue to be the fastest growing of all content delivery segments, faster than journals and much faster than books. Before elimination of trading between publishers, STM online services are estimated to have grown 3.6% to $5.8 billion in 2016, and are expected to deliver a similar pace of growth annually to 2020.

“STM publishing is linked global economic performance, so it’s important that we watch the Brexit process and Trump’s policies very closely,” said Dan Strempel, senior analyst, professional group, Simba Information. “Europe is already one of the weakest performing economic zones. The uncertainty hampers investment and depresses currencies. Publishing centers throughout the world’s second largest regional STM publishing market will be impacted by Brexit, and should Trump start a trade war, the reverberations will be felt in every corner of the market.”

The online services market is well positioned as it is comprised of electronic content and tools that scientific, technical and medical professionals rely on to conduct research quickly and accurately. The driving force for this market is to increase speed and productivity by imbedding information into a professional’s workflow.

Growth rates for online services, which were sky high at the start of the decade have leveled off considerably, but are still growing faster than other STM publishing activities. Book and journal publishing have been the backbone of the industry, but those businesses are in transition due to the growth of the open access movement and challenges such as book piracy. Competitors see online services as a key to driving future growth.

Must have specialist databases like Inspec and PsycINFO have long driven this market. However, libraries and institutions buy multiple databases and their users are after answers regardless of their origin. Even the largest content owners Clarivate and Elsevier have responded by striking deals to add third-party content discoverable through a single search. Publishers large and small have benefited reaching a larger global market, but there are secondary effects. Platforms will be able to leverage not only their owners’ content and licensed content, but the growing body of data made open under funder mandates.

All of the top STM publishers—Clarivate Analytics, Wolters Kluwer, Elsevier—are well into a strategy focused on electronic media and workflow solutions. True online services are not derivatives of existing book and journal content. They are stand-alone services. Publishers have also begun adding user-generated content, such as blogs and wikis, as well as social networking capabilities.

STM Online Services 2016-2020 breaks the online services market into two categories—abstracting and indexing services (A&I) and online content. Simba provides market sizing for A&I and online content in both the scientific and technical and medical segments. These market slices are forecast to 2020. Competitor coverage includes: Clarivate Analytics, Wolters Kluwer, IHS Markit, Elsevier, American Chemical Society, EBSCO, Truven Healthcare Analytics, ProQuest, Hearst Health Network and Pearson.

About Simba Information

Simba Information is widely recognized as the leading authority for market intelligence in the media and publishing industry. Simba's extensive information network delivers top quality, independent perspective on the people, events and alliances shaping the media and information industry. Simba publishes newsletters and research reports that provide key decision-makers at more than 15,000 client companies. For more information, please visit

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