I have to say the worst thing about electronic publishing (at least in a journal about same) is that people go on and on and on.
This guy is imagining the world of 2020, a world of climate change and peak everything. How will that affect University Presses? Yes, that's the first question I would ask, too. (<-- Sarcasm.)
Here are some highlights:
"So, let me posit two dystopian economic/scholarly publishing futures, and explore what they might mean for university presses.
In both scenarios, on the positive side, by 2020, I expect to live in digital ubiquity, where digital “devices” are as quaint as a vacuum-tube stereo, since we each have a digital presence that simply surrounds us. My personal engagement with the digital world is by now facilitated by the systems’ knowledge of the activities, interests, concerns, and enthusiasms of the other seven thousand people just like me, who are each also “one in a million.” We will have almost forgotten that once upon a time we had to ask a question with “key words.” Walls and kiosks and foldable screens and NetSpecs will provide access to whatever degree of content bandwidth we desire, for whatever purposes we choose."
Someone has read _Neuromancer_ and its ilk several thousand too many times.
This is funny: "For university presses, in both scenarios, I expect to see routine “smart crowdsourcing” of peer review". Okay, that might not be funny. I like Amazon's reviews, and I have a pretty good sense of how to interpret them. I know there are some real issues with peer review as it works today. But I have a bad feeling about "smart crowdsourcing peer review".
"In both scenarios, tenure and review remain necessary elements of scholarly validation, and the desire for high-quality, high-touch, high-authority products, produced by publishers and facilitating authority for that validation, remain high." Words fail. Tenure not going anywhere, even if the world goes to shit. Ya gotta love that kind of bedrock certainty. Most of the rest of this dystopian scenario makes absolutely no sense, however, this will give you some flavor:
"Publishing innovation, in this scenario, will be nearly all reactive, a sort of whack-a-mole tamping-down of the next unexpected problem. By 2020, when it is crystal clear that repair of the physical world is nearly impossible (and/or when geoengineering schemes have caused massive “unintended consequences”), the economic contraction will be staggering. Beyond that, there be tygers."
The rest of it made so little sense that I sort of gave up. Good luck if you give it a shot.
There's actually some reason to suspect this author has real competence at electronic publishing, and just has a real fanciful bent to his personality, particularly when brainstorming about the future. It's always nice to find someone who can find the funny in the truly appalling.