Conclusion

Reflecting on what we have achieved in the past year, the Rebus Foundation team are confident we stand in good stead to move forward with the next phase of this project. Our discussions with publishers suggest a strong interest in, and incentive for, new models for digital reading. We’ve also confirmed that (non-profit) aggregators are interested in partnering with us to deliver better reading experiences to readers, who are the ultimate end-users of their platforms. Libraries are key potential partners in developing a new digital reading ecosystem for their patrons and are well placed to drive discussions on readers’ needs, and responded positively both to our prototype and proposed business models. Libraries also have, collectively, the potential financial leverage in the ecosystem to effect change. And finally, we know that readers, the end users of any software we develop, represent the part of the ecosystem with the most to gain from a new approach to digital scholarly reading. Focusing on development of the highest priority features for readers will be critical, and we have a clear vision for what those features should be.

Over the course of our research, we have had some hunches confirmed, some concerns allayed, and gained some significant insights into reader behaviour that we could not have without going through this process. We are deeply indebted to all those who took the time to share their thoughts and ideas with us over the course of the project and are excited to continue working with them. As this report is part of what we hope to be ongoing work, it is difficult to find a single, summarizing note to end on, except to say that there is clearly enormous potential for innovation in the support of digital scholarly reading. We at the Rebus Foundation believe that, through an open, collaborative approach to the problem at hand, we can help lead the way in shaping that future.

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