The STM Mobile Landscape

Heather Staines

Heather Staines surveyed mobile internet usage by STM publishers and presented an excellent summary of some of their efforts to date.  Mobile internet usage is growing much more rapidly than desktop usage, and this boom is being driven by smartphones such as the iPhone and the Android.  One report predicts that by the end of next year, the penetration of smart phones in the STM market will increase to near 50%.

Some of the questions when developing a mobile strategy include:

  • What are the goals?  Should the mobile application be commercial or only for promotional use?  Should it contain original or repurposed content?
  • What platforms should be supported?  Options include the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Symbian (now used on “feature” phones).
  • What business models should be developed?  Are all books apps, or should there be different apps for each product?  Should apps be free for marketing or should they only be offered as commercial products?
  • And what should we do with the iPad?

Springer’s mobile strategy includes creating mobile-optimized versions of all products, focusing first on the iPhone platform, then distributing content through as many channels as customers want.  Discovery and alerting apps will be free, and added value apps will be paid.  Books are the first content to be offered, but there is a large demand for journals or journal articles as well.

Other publishers’ efforts include:

  • ACS Mobile
  • IEEE Xplore
  • IEEE National Electric Safety Code
  • AIP iResearch (DL 2500 times in 3 months!)
  • Nature.com mobile apps
  • EBSCOhost Mobile
  • OCLC

OCLC has been particularly active in developing relationships with mobile partners. And libraries are also going mobile and are delivering their information to users on mobile platforms.

It is clear that multi-channel delivery of information is a very complex landscape.

Don Hawkins
Columnist, Information Today and Conference Circuit Blogger

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