Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Open Annotation for Researchers and Publishers

Hypothesis Logo

This month's Featured Member - Hypothesis provides our latest Guest Blog, penned by their Director of Partnerships - Heather Staines.


Created as a nonprofit, based on open source technology, Hypothesis is an independent industry voice that listens to community partners, not shareholders, to create a solution that serves researchers through all stages of their workflow. Our 145,000 users have already created more than 3.1 million annotations in the research, education, and journalism sectors. In 2015, we launched the Annotating All Knowledge Coalition, for publishers, universities, and technology companies wishing to explore interoperable annotation. Free to join, the AAK Coalition invites ALPSP members to learn more. We also host I Annotate, the world’s largest conference dedicated to annotation technologies, now in its sixth year. Join us in San Francisco on June 6–7 2018.

Workflow tools that silo content and data and require researchers to cut and paste notes or reenter information result in frustration and loss of productivity. Visit Hypothesis to create a free account that you can use to annotate content across the web. Deep-linking through annotation creates unique persistent web addresses for content at any level: page, paragraph, sentence, word, or data object across HTML, PDF, and EPUB formats. Embed Hypothesis on your website or platform with just a short piece of javascript code to enable anyone to annotate — whether they have the browser plugin already or not. If you want more control over annotations, consider our Publisher Group functionality.

With the successful launch of the first Publisher Group for eLife in January, 2018, we are pleased to announce further refined group technology for publishers, platforms, and societies.  Publisher Groups are branded and moderated annotation layers that enable conversations, the creation of additional content, private note-taking, and private collaboration groups over publisher versions of record. Increase reader engagement with interaction on your content through annotations, which also populate to your publisher group page.

Publisher Groups enable world-readable annotation layers that are open for anyone to create annotations or are restricted to authors, members, or invited experts. Society publishers can establish a group that spans both their content site and their member site to create a cohesive conversation to benefit members. Societies with similar interests can collaborate to create a discipline-specific layer that spans multiple content sites. The W3C standards-based Hypothesis client can connect to existing account systems to avoid the need for users to create separate accounts, and it can be configured to match the styling of publisher websites and platforms. Hypothesis works with all of the popular hosting solutions across the industry.

Annotations in groups can also be explored through activity pages, giving publishers and societies quick snapshots into annotation activity on specific sites and documents. Full analytics on public annotations and aggregated anonymized data on private and group annotations are available through Hypothesis' robust API. Public annotations are included in the Crossref Event Data project for indexing by Google.

Publishers are discovering additional use cases for annotation every day. eJournal Press has integrated Hypothesis with its peer review dashboard to offer reviewers the option to provide feedback through inline annotation. Discussions with all major manuscript submissions systems are underway. Taking the popular SciBot account functionality as a model, publishers are exploring annotation technology to connect external data to specific identifiers already embedded in their content. SciBot searches papers for RRIDs (Research Resource Identifiers) — key for reproducibility and used by more than 125 journals — then displays information on each RRID in the form of an annotation card on the publisher site. Readers no longer need to navigate away to see the data behind the identifier. The Qualitative Data Repository at Syracuse University has partnered with Cambridge University Press to connect citations to their sources and underlying data through Annotation for Transparent Inquiry, an innovation that puts quotes and sources in context with author notes. Production departments are using annotation to handle questions on thier xml staging sites or in editorial processes to plan journal migrations. Preprint services such as bioRxiv are considering making society groups visible by default on top of their servers. The possibilities are endless.

Let's talk about how annotation and Publisher Group options can serve your goals for publication and user engagement.

Photo of Heather Staines

Heather Staines is Director of Partnerships for Hypothesis, working with publishers, platforms, and technology partners to promote open annotation. She has worked at Proquest, SIPX, Springer SBM (now Springer Nature), and Praeger Publishers, and she is active in many industry associations and task forces, including ALPSP, SSP, STM, Charleston, Force11, and more.


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Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Understanding how to get your journal article in front of the reader

Understanding how to get your journal article in front of the reader and working out how to navigate the multitude of discovery resources and authentication barriers is essential to the success of a publishing organisation. It is also the topic of one of our most popular training courses. Here, we spoke to Online Journal Discovery and Delivery: Working with Libraries and industry intermediaries to maximise readership co-tutor, Tracy Gardner, about the challenges of keeping up-to-date in this area.


"One of the biggest challenges publishers face is making sure their content can be easily found in the various discovery resources readers use to find journal articles, and then to ensure the steps between the reader finding the content and reading it are seamless and without barrier. There are so many potential pitfalls along the way, and this issue therefore concerns people working in production, IT, editorial, sales, marketing and customer service.

The pace of change is fast, technology is evolving all of the time and the driver for much of it has come from the libraries. Libraries are keen to ensure their patrons find and access content they have selected and purchased and by keeping them in a library intermediated environment they feel they can improve their research experience overall. Ultimately the library would like the user to start at the library website, find content they can read and not be challenged along the way.

Simon Inger and I have been running the Online Journal Discovery and Delivery course two or three times a year for twelve years now and we have never run the same course twice - it constantly needs to be updated.

Those working in customer facing roles such as sales, marketing and customer service may not fully appreciate how much library technology impacts on the way researchers find and access their content. Many people are surprised to learn that poor usage within an institution is often because something has gone wrong with the way the content is indexed within the library discovery layer, how it is set up in the library link resolver, or issues with authentication.

For those in operational or technology roles, the business technology side of journals can seem unnecessarily complex and, especially for those new to the industry, the way the information community works can seem counter to the way many other business sectors operate. What makes sense in classic B2B or B2C environments will not make sense within the academic research community.

By helping people who work in publishing houses understand how the technology supporting journal delivery works, and how they can most effectively work with libraries to maximise discovery and use of their content. Many people who have attended our course have not been aware of the impact some of their decisions have had and our course has helped them understand why they need to work in certain ways."

Tracy Gardner will tutor on the upcoming Online Journal Discovery and Delivery course on 20 March. Full course details can be found here

Monday, 12 March 2018

Realising 'Wa' in the East: A Sales Manager's findings

In this blog Martin Jack, Senior Sales Manager for IPR License and Course Tutor for our fantastic new course - Introduction to Sales Management in Scholarly Publishing: Selling to libraries, academics and institutions shares his pointers on doing business in Japan. 


Before I started doing business in Japan I read a number of books offering practical advice on how to be successful across the Japanese business table. “Bow from the back, not from the neck!” I repeated to myself mantra-like as I entered my first meeting and didn’t come to my senses until some-time afterward: a clumsy, graceless and inelegant 6”4 Scot is surely going to appear sillier the more he tries to imitate deep bows! My mistake was in thinking that I was going to win points for emulation…and to think, I had both watched and read James Clavell’s 1 million words+ Shogun! Oh well, Richard Chamberlain aside, at least I wasn’t in the position of Lord Macartney, whom 200 years prior was to head the first British diplomatic mission to China. “To kowtow or not to kowtow?”, in front of the ruling Qianlong Emperor of Beijing, was his predicament. And yet, his kowtow and my bow had no relevance whatsoever to the success of our meetings (one slightly more anticipated than the other perhaps). Then, as now, the essential requirement to successful international business is trust built on mutual cultural understanding – protocol is a secondary factor. As for imitation, Wilde’s judgement is final: ‘imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness!’ And so, I’ve put together some pointers of my own for when you find yourself preparing for your first Japanese business meetings, which I hope are of some help.


Focus on the Relationship


Focus on the relationship entirely. You won’t succeed in your business in Japan if you can’t establish a relationship. Try to be friends first, develop a relationship, and earn and build some trust in each other. Start by taking a genuine interest in who you are meeting and remember their name, even if you have to write it down in front of them (they’ll invariably give you a business card at the beginning of the meeting with a transliteration of their name in English which you can refer to) and get them to help you intone the pronunciation if you struggle.


Setting the Pace


You won’t be the one to set the pace, no matter how much time you have for the meeting and no matter how many topics you’ve prepared to discuss. You have to defer to the pace at which your hosts are willing to proceed. Mirroring the pace of your hosts will show respect, save yourself from being seen to show impatience, and show that you are willing to spend as much time as necessary on any point raised. Those points may not appear to be important in the grander scheme of things but at the juncture when they are raised they should be treated with all the seriousness accorded by your interlocutor. Best to keep in mind what you aim to achieve in the meeting whilst preparing mentally for not achieving anything (see ‘Manage your Expectations’ below). The discussion over details of your agenda points can be picked up again afterwards over email or over the phone. 


Manage your Expectations


Don’t expect decisions to be made over the table and don’t put your counterparts on the spot, no matter how good your offer is. Many decisions are made in Japan on a consensual rather than individual basis, after much discussion, so that amongst other things, harmony (wa) is maintained. When a poor decision is made in Japanese business, the blame is generally shared amongst employees rather than it being attributed to any one person (which would result in a loss of face which the Japanese are careful to avoid). Try to avoid tipping the balance and spoiling the progress you’ve made by persistently chasing for a decision. Have patience (an invaluable Confucian trait!) or try to incentivise for a quicker decision. Remember, the Japanese are not necessarily working on the basis of your financial year.


Attention to Detail


A key feature of Japanese culture which has a direct bearing on the way you will do business is that of detail, detail, and more detail. Expect and prepare for detailed questions on your offering and proposal throughout and towards the end of your meeting. You will get the sense of the amount of detail the Japanese are used to absorbing by checking out any Japanese book on your favourite rock band. Not only will you get profiles of the band members and detailed album listings, you’ll get descriptions of their preferred guitars and each of the effects pedals they use. ‘Paisley!’, retorted an avid Japanese fan, ‘Paisley, not Glasgow!’, when I made claim to Gerry Rafferty as a fellow Glaswegian. Check your facts in advance!


Etiquette and Manner


It’s important to get an understanding of what is and what isn’t culturally acceptable amongst the Japanese so that you gain an insight into how they think and so you can conduct yourself in a manner that will be acceptable or even admired by them. Honne and tatemae are Japanese words roughly equivalent to the common concept of private and public face which is part of all cultures, however, in Japan this is something that is used in daily life and not in a negative sense – you could say that tatemae is a form of social lubricant. From a Western point of view, to conceal the truth is usually not taken well, however as it is so important to the Japanese to maintain harmony, most of the time true feelings and thoughts are not expressed directly in order not to hurt the feelings of others. Take that into consideration when you are approaching negotiation. There may not be much opportunity to negotiate prices, for example (certainly not as hard and fast and enjoyably as in mainland China), and so you might find it useful tailor your offerings so that they are as initially attractive to your counterpart as possible.


Profile photo of Martin Jack
Martin Jack
Martin is Senior Sales Manager for IPR License, the official rights and licensing solution of Frankfurt Book Fair. He has over eight years' experience in international sales in academic publishing with Taylor & Francis, having lived and worked in England, Singapore, China and Japan. 


For more info on our new course: Introduction to Sales Management in Scholarly Publishing: Selling to libraries, academics and institutions running on 28 March visit:
https://www.alpsp.org/Training/Sales-Management/52774


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Highlights from the 2018 University Press Redux Conference: A Sponsor's Perspective


Virtusales was delighted to sponsor the 2018 University Press Redux Conference, which was held at The British Library and completely sold out with an atmosphere that reflected it. Filled with lively discussions on policy, open access, disruptive innovation and the opportunities it presents, the importance of publishers providing genuine added value, and even Brexit and Trump.



In the opening keynote, Timothy Wright, CEO at Edinburgh University Press, presented the challenges for 2018 as: monographs, new models in print and distribution, ebooks, content, the skills gaps, open access, institutional support and the financial challenges facing the industry.

Richard Fisher from Yale University Press said that discoverability remains the number one challenge for most university presses and explained how marketing for individual titles has diminished but is still vital. Michael Jubb of Jubb Consulting reiterated this, stating that 50% of university press sales are sold through global retail channels such as Amazon, making it essential for content to be easily discoverable amidst the proliferation in formats, business models and retailers.

As a software supplier operating globally, we were particularly interested in the parallel session on Global, which looked at university presses outside of Europe, UK and USA. Another compelling topic was Digital, which was covered in the plenary session with Allison Belan from Duke University Press and Charles Watkinson from University of Michigan Press, chaired by Nicole Mitchell from University of Washington Press. The session included stimulating debate on the pros and cons of buying vs building systems and platforms. Allison explained that it is of utmost importance for university presses to understand and own their own content, data and business rules, and Duke’s decision to buy in technology expertise and systems allows the press to focus on what they are good at - creating content.

Author engagement and support was another recurring theme throughout the conference with an emphasis put on the need for publishers to add genuine value throughout the supply chain and for authors, contributors and stakeholders to recognise the value added. This was at the heart of Tuesday’s parallel session on Production where delegates heard from Andy Redman from Oxford University Press, Neil Clarke from CPI UK, Bret Freeman from LifeVroom, and Wednesday’s session on Commissioning with Simon Bell from Emerald Group Publishing, Brian Halley from University of Massachusetts Press and Katherine Reeve from Bath Spa University.

On the policy front, the requirement for all long form works to be available as open access in order to be eligible for the 2027 REF was by far the most impacting point mentioned, with Steven Hill from HEFCE suggesting how it could be achieved using different models such as Freemium, author pays, and mission orientated new university presses.

Closing Keynote: Richard Charkin
Finally, Richard Charkin from Bloomsbury Publishing gave an engaging closing keynote on academic publishing. Technology was mentioned in virtually all presentations, in one form or another, and it seems clear that publishers need its support now more than ever. It is essential for platforms and systems to be flexible enough to manage metadata at content, article and chapter level, bring efficiencies to the production process and supply chain, and liberate publishers so that they can focus on creating, curating and enriching content to engage with their consumers.

At Virtusales we are committed to streamlining publishers’ workflows and bring efficiencies to their business processes with innovative software, exceptional service and a collaborative approach. Our recent white paper looks at the current landscape of academic and educational publishing, some of the disruptions that publishers are facing in today’s arena and ways in which they can capitalise on the changing environment.

Virtusales Publishing Solutions is the creator of the Biblio suite of publishing software and works closely with some of the world's leading academic, scholarly, professional and trade publishers including Harvard University Press, Bloomsbury Publishing, Manchester University Press, Pearson Education, Penguin Random House, Hachette and Macmillan Publishers.


Find out more about Virtusales and the Biblio suite or request our white paper, please visit our website: www.virtusales.com
Follow us on Twitter: @virtusales 
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/virtusales-publishing-solutions/

For further information on the University Press Redux conference and to access slides and audio from the event please visit: https://www.alpsp.org/UPRedux