Scholarly publishing is the bedrock of scientific communication worldwide. In the last couple of decades, we have seen scholarly publishing encountering both challenges and opportunities, much of these due to radical technological developments and new business models such as Open Access (OA). Web revolution and crowd knowledge sourcing, which brought about free access to information and technologies, are putting up credible challenges in terms of rendering services that are usually provided by publishers.
Meanwhile, the number of publications is rising annually with global output of scientific content doubling every nine years. However, publishers are unable to keep their revenues steady, thus causing them to raise subscription fees, which are climbing faster than the price increase of many commodities. OA movement, initiated to challenge traditional subscription-based print publishing, now provides free access to a lot of information—but with the cost shifted to researchers.
The world of academic publishing, diverse and with thousands of players, has five big companies as the global gatekeepers of scientific communication, taking up the lion’s share of the $10-billion industry. Then there are many discipline-specific associations and university presses. While traditional publishing is facing stiff challenges and sometimes boycott, OA is seen as a revolutionary path. However, OA has not received universal acceptance, especially from researchers in the social sciences and business fields, who have not followed the path of science researchers. Indeed, there is still resistance to OA publishing by some academics who consider newer OA journals to be lacking in legitimacy and credibility.
The bulk of the reasons academic publishing has to go through these obstacles lies in the cost—cost of the entire publishing processes, which have manifold layers, including acquiring content, editing, peer reviewing, content polishing, printing, delivery, and marketing. A portion of the cost, such as copyediting and peer reviewing, for instance, may be transferred to the authors. Not all of these costs can be offset but technology-enabled publishing services can chip away at the load carried by inhouse operations. Providers of publishing services to authors and publishers can assist in content acquisition to standard and expert editing, journal selection, expert scientific review, marketing, brand awareness, author outreach, social engagement, and a host of other services ranging from education to on-campus activities.
Technology-led authoring solutions, editorial workflow solutions, submission management platform, and peer-review systems to the rescue
The journey from article authoring to journal distribution is unbelievably slow and long, and it consists of multiple processes. Peer-reviewing is as important as authoring itself, and it takes weeks for an article to be peer-reviewed. An article that gets published may have six or seven contributors behind it. Authors, peer reviewers, and editors work hand-in-hand during the review and submission process despite the availability of software interface that streamlines the entire submission process. It takes months for an article to be ready for publication.
Readers, on the other hand, demand faster and better products. And only a consistently reliable journal that produces authoritative and relevant content can maintain reader loyalty in this age of rapid information proliferation. Also, readers want to access the articles wherever they are, in different devices and formats, and of course, at lower prices.
Edanz Group of Japan, for instance, provides authoring and publishing support to researchers. Edanz’s Author Path helps author throughout the processes. It brings journal selection, writing, collaboration, and submission management into one powerful platform. Authors can create a new manuscript project and automatically get relevant journal recommendations from the Edanz Journal Selector database. They can invite co-authors to collaborate and start writing. The writing process is made easy with expert writing guidance provided for all sections of the manuscript while Author Path's integration with submission management software allows authors to track submissions right through to acceptance. Author Path compiles projects into manageable sections: each section gives expert writing advice and tips using real examples from successfully published papers. The integrated Journal Selector tool further allows authors to search, refine, and save journals that best suit their project. They can search for references online and save them under their Resources section.
English is the dominant language of scholarly communication. However, almost 30% of researchers are from East Asia while over 20% are from the European Union and less than 20% of the scientific journals published worldwide are non-English. What does this mean? Chinese, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and many other researchers with English as their second language (ESL) have to communicate their ideas in English to reach their global audience, and non-English journals that carry valuable scientific information are simply not accessible to speakers of English or other languages. Translated manuscript can be free of errors but still written in a way that makes understanding difficult. It is also usually poor at conveying the substance and is tedious to read. Such weaknesses can get in the way of having the manuscript accepted.
So what if all non-English content can be translated and edited, and the authors provided with services connecting them to the world of English journals? A vast amount of science and research can then be made available to the world, which has hitherto been restricted to native speakers. This is an opportunity for publishers and service providers to assist ESL researchers, and acquire a large amount of scientific content for publication. And Edanz Group is doing exactly that.
Edanz Group provides an extensive authoring and publishing support to ESL researchers (who know their science but are not able to communicate their findings in conventional academic publishing English and methods) and connects them to publishers in English language. Edanz Group provides translation, editing, journal selection, and related services to these researchers.
Technology can also greatly help in post-production activities such as delivery and marketing. Today’s readers are exposed to a variety of multimedia formats, and publishers can provide their readers with a different experience, e.g., by creating a simulation video explaining a biological process. This will help readers to understand the concept better, and can be an alternate source of revenue for publishers.
Impelsys’ flagship content delivery platform, iPublishCentral Scholar, provides branded web and mobile platforms for delivery of journals, ebooks, videos, courses, and other file formats. It provides publishers with a platform to distribute their content in various formats, helping them to generate more revenue through varied content. Impelsys also offers content transformation services, infusing appropriate media, data presentation, and infographics to make the document easy to read while adding an aesthetic touch.
While peer review, OA, and business models continue to be hotly debated issues in publishing, there are many other processes that can be outsourced. Academic publishing is going through a transformation and is struggling to stay relevant. There are various technologies that can automate processes and provide publishers with different revenue streams while also assisting authors in getting published and getting people to read and use their work.
The partnership of Edanz Group and Impelsys provides comprehensive publishing services to authors and publishers. Edanz Group provides abovementioned upstream services while Impelsys’ delivery platform iPublishCentral Scholar provides world-class content distribution capabilities in formats such as e-books, journals, and videos, and with features that include mobility, content security, and consumer analytics. Together, Edanz Group and Impelsys is a one-stop shop for all academic publishing needs, eliminating the need for other vendors or technologies, helping publishers to bring efficiency in their operations and cut costs while helping to streamline and automate processes.