In the final weeks of 2021, Velocity of Content is looking back at the past twelve months of programs.

A common observation on the COVID-19 pandemic is that the virus has illuminated the fractures and failures in society. In the teeth of tragedy, we can see what we have long ignored and now requires our immediate attention.

While economic growth and scientific advancements in our digital age rely on technology, it’s clearer than ever that everyone’s full participation in innovation is crucial, says Jeff Joseph, president of Washington, DC, based SIIA, the principal US trade association for the software and digital content industries.

When it comes to infrastructure, Republicans in the US Congress prefer to limit their sights to traditional projects like roads and bridges, while for the Biden White House, infrastructure includes internet access, childcare, schools, and even drinking water. Prof. Victor Pickard at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication makes a case to add infrastructure support for public news media. Pickard calls for creation of a public media safety net that would deliver trustworthy information along with access to democracy.

According to a World Health Organization analysis, African countries receive less than one percent of global research funding, yet research has also shown that Africa has by far the strongest-growing scientific production in the world. And the number of African authors is growing at an equally astounding rate. Joy Owango, founding director of TCC Africa and board member of AfricArXiv, says African researchers are eager to share their work with the world.

When the pandemic struck the year in 2020, forecasts for publishing were dire. Yet in many sectors and across formats, the industry has survived and thrived. Thad McIlroy, co-author of COVID-19 and Book Publishing: Impacts and Insights for 2021, reviews publishing’s pandemic performance from multiple angles.

“This year, the New Normal started to crack through the COVID cocoon. Its shape isn’t yet entirely clear – but this New Normal will need to be adapted to changes in the environment that require all of us to be more inclusive, more tolerant, and more resourceful”

Author: Christopher Kenneally

Christopher Kenneally hosts CCC's Velocity of Content podcast series, which debuted in 2006 and is the longest continuously running podcast covering the publishing industry. As CCC's Senior Director, Marketing, he is responsible for organizing and hosting programs that address the business needs of all stakeholders in publishing and research. His reporting has appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, The Independent (London), WBUR-FM, NPR, and WGBH-TV.
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