Strategic Positioning Options for Scientific Libraries in Markets of Scientific and Technical Information - the Economic Impact of Digitization

Andreas Geyer-Schulz, Andreas Neumann, Annika Heitmann, Karsten Stroborn


As a key resource of the 21st century, information goods might displace industrial goods as key drivers of markets. The foundation of the economic prosperity of developed countries is not only based on the efficient conversion of information to knowledge, but also in imparting this knowledge in the educational system. In this context, scientific libraries play a decisive role as a provider of scientific and technical information (STI). After introducing the 2-3-6-concept, an analysis concept based on a special value chain, the paper examines the roles of the different players - author, scientific library, publisher, bookstore and scientific association - involved in the production of STI. A structural model for the value chain of the STI market is developed to analyse in detail the opportunities for scientific libraries offered by technological progress within the current economic, legal and regulatory framework. The analysis reveals that none of the players can be expected to stay within their historical core competencies. Due to technical developments and associated changes in the structure of transaction costs, each player can cover more fields of value-adding activities. The roles of the different players are merging more and more. Further, analysis of current direct and indirect monetary flows reveals considerable potential for conflict. As a consequence, players such as university libraries need to reconsider their strategic position in order to persist in the STI market. The paper proposes paths for possible strategic repositioning of university libraries.

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