The publishing industry is constantly evolving with improved workflows and processes. Traditional workflows have been challenged by the new age of publishing. Simultaneous print and digital production, digital-first production, and instant production are now the norm depending on the product. As a result, there have been several changes and key trends in the last three to five years.

Structure: Most publishers, for instance, have moved towards public domain DTDs like NLM. This is seen as a significant move for some of the publishers as they had their own publisher specific DTD/Schema for several years. Some publishers implement this by rolling a customized version of NLM DTD suiting their content and requirements. This is a welcome step not only for publishers who adopt a standardized tag set. The move towards standardized workflows are also beneficial to suppliers, online platforms, retailers, and aggregators.

Automation and standardization: Players such as MPS have been relentless in automating workflows and processes to every extent possible. Having noted the benefits of automated workflows, publishers in collaboration with vendor partners have been working toward simplifying requirements for achieving further automation thereby leading to higher content accuracy and faster turnaround times. Many STM publishers have started considering standardized layouts and minimizing title-to-title design variations. Publishers have been increasingly open to moving toward automated page proof generation for standardized layouts to get advantage from efficient and streamlined workflows. In some case, publishers have impemented automated composition from XML files. Another way of tackling the faster turnaround requests from publishers is to avoid rework in the production process. To achieve this, activities such as text and artwork completeness checks are moved upfront in the workflow. This is also seen during the submission of the initial author content.

Cloud-based content creation and continous update solutions: On the technology front, publishers have moved toward embracing SaaS (Software as a Service) models for certain services and processes with increased vigor. This has happened as a result of partners coming up with innovative solutions such as MPS’s DigiCore, a cloud-based digital publishing platform. It allows publishers, authors, production, and reviewers to work on a centralized cloud-based platform and perform different activities online. These activities include copyediting, incorporating author corrections, collating proofs, proof-reading, editorial reviewing, etc. As a result, this has enabled even conservative users to move on to these cloud-based systems to achieve better workflow efficiencies. Cloud-based MPS DigiEdit, for instance, enables authors, reviewers, copyeditors to review and edit content using a WYSIWYG-based system with XML in the background.

Online production management and tracking: Publishers have been either overhauling or revamping their legacy tracking systems, thus paving the way for rolling out dynamic cloud-based workflow management platforms such as MPSTrak. Implementation of a highly configurable online production management and tracking platform tightly integrated with other platforms has given publishers the much needed operational agility for constantly evolving editorial and production processes in a rapidly changing publishing world. For seamless exchange of jobs and metadata, there has been increased focus on integrating different systems and/or platforms and stages, thereby eliminating redundancies and making the entire workflow more streamlined and efficient. As a result, even submission systems and peer review systems which were more like standalone systems are increasingly getting tightly integrated into the production workflow.

MPSTrak is an intelligent hosted platform offered in software as a service model for publishing workflow management. The platform offers a plug-and-play model where clients can choose between components for editorial, production, and content management. The platform offers integration with our online XML-based editor DigiEdit, which can be used by copyeditors and authors for quick edits. In addition, MPSTrak also provides integration with our composition engine DigiComp for on-the-fly generation of PDF proofs, followed by integration with our content enrichment tool DigiEnhance for adding interactivity to the content. MPSTrak is a comprehensive WMS in this space and has been rolled out to several publishers since its launch few years ago.

Single-source to multi-product publishing: It has becomes a norm for publishers to support some of the popular mobile devices such as iPad, Kindle, etc. EPub has become a de facto deliverable requirement in addition to PDFs for many publishers. The workflow has been designed in such a way that the content is processed as a single standard, say XML, and once it is finalized, the content is transformed into various products for online platforms including PDF, ePub, Mobi and HTML. With users becoming increasingly adaptable to online products than the print version, the demand for the availability of online-only materials with multimedia-enriched content has been growing rapidly. The publishing workflow has adapted to accommodate different deliverables for online and print products. We have experienced that publishers are also looking at distributing their content across mobile platforms. MPS successfully implemented an efficient workflow for delivery of final content as issue folios to iTunes store.

Semantic enrichment: Given the large amounts of data that is being processed, it is now mandatory for publishers to ensure that relevant data/content is easily accessible during searches. Semantic enrichment of content based on various taxonomy databases for relevant field has been implemented by various publishers. MPS has implemented validation against databases like CrossRef and PubMed for several customers for the purpose of DOI lookup and accuracy-checking by retrieving missing biblio metadata info.

With the above products and services, publishers are able to gain from transparent insights into the end-to-end production process, identification and simplification of specifications, faster turnaround times and increased speed-to-market.