Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Spotlight on preLights - shortlisted for the 2019 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

We will be announcing the winner of this year's ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing at the ALPSP 2019 Conference.  In this series, we meet the finalists...

logo preLights
In this post, we speak to Claire Moulton, Publisher at The Company of Biologists, and Mate Palfy, Community Manager for preLights.

Tell us a bit about your organisation.

The Company of Biologists is a not-for profit publishing organisation dedicated to supporting and inspiring the biological community. We publish five journals in the life sciences, we host workshops and meetings and provide a wide range of charitable grants. Community initiatives are important to us, for example we support a long-standing blog (the Node) for the developmental biology community, and our latest community project launched in February 2018 is preLights. preLights is just 18 months but has already gained significant name recognition in the biology community.

What is the project/product that you submitted for the Awards?

We submitted preLights, which is a community platform for preprint highlights. An early-career team selects preprints of interest across the biological sciences, provides relevant comment, and engages authors in further discussion. The preprint highlight and comments are freely available on https://prelights.biologists.com/ .

Tell us a little about preLights and the team behind it.

At the heart of preLights is a team of early-career researchers (called ‘preLighters’) who come from four continents and work in many different research fields. They select which preprints to feature and then highlight the key findings of the preprint. These highlights are somewhat similar to ‘news and views’ articles in that they give a background to the topic and summarize the results in the context of the literature. But preLights posts also have some unique features. For example, the preLighters give their personal opinion on the preprint and directly question preprint authors about their work. The resulting discussions are published at the end of the article – we know that authors find the discussion process useful, as some have provided feedback on resulting revisions to their preprints/ published articles.

A dedicated community manager helps build the community of early-career researchers around preLights, provides them with support, and is involved in evolving and promoting this initiative.

graphic preLights

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

So far there has been very little public commenting happening on preprints, even though preprints could open up discussion of non-peer-reviewed research. preLights promotes such discussions by getting young scientists to write about the work and engaging preprint authors. Therefore, as the first platform of its kind, we believe preLights will change the way in which scientists engage with preprints.

preLights is also innovative in that it builds on a community of early-career researchers, who are often not asked directly by journals to take part in peer-review. preLights gives them an opportunity to hone their scientific writing skills, helps build their profile and credibility, and at the same time harnesses ideas from them for extending the product.

What are your plans for the future?

We have just launched a new feature on the preLights website called preLists in order to further help scientists navigate the preprint literature. These curated lists of preprints follow two main themes: preprints on a specific topic (e.g. CRISPR technology) or preprints which have been presented at a given scientific meeting. Following feedback from the community, we are now planning to make the creation of preLists open to any scientist.

We plan to expand preLights posts into new areas; for example now that medRxiv has launched we expect to have more team members covering biomedical fields.

We also plan to utilize preLights as a platform to provide educational insights into the peer-review process. The posts automatically link to the published version of the article, and we are planning to engage preprint authors to comment on the most important parts of their paper that changed during the peer-review process. We believe this can serve as a useful teaching resource for young scientists and help open up the ‘black box’ of peer-review.


Twitter handles:

The ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2019 will be held at the Beaumont Estate, Old Windsor, UK from 11-13 September. #alpsp19
The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2019 are sponsored by MPS Ltd.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Spotlight on Scite - shortlisted for the 2019 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

On 12 September we will be announcing the winners of this year's ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  In this series of posts, we meet the finalists to learn a little more about each of them.

In this post, we hear from Josh Nicholson, co-founder and CEO of scite.ai

Tell us a little about your company

logo scite
The idea behind scite was first discussed nearly five years ago in response to a paper from Amgen reporting that out of 53 major cancer studies this company tried to validate, they could only successfully reproduce 6 (11%). This paper sparked widespread media coverage and concern and since then this problem has come to be known as the “reproducibility crisis.” While this paper received the most attention, perhaps because the numbers are so dire, it was not the first or only paper to reveal this problem. Indeed Bayer had reported similar findings in other areas of biomedical research, while non-profit reproducibility initiatives revealed the problem in psychology and other fields, suggesting a systemic issue. This is worrisome, to say the least, because scientific research informs nearly all aspects of our lives, from how you raise your children to the drugs being developed for fatal diseases and if most work is not strong enough to be independently reproduced, we are wasting billions of dollars and impacting millions of lives. scite wants to fix this problem by introducing a system that identifies and promotes reliable research.

We do this by ingesting and analyzing millions of scientific articles, extracting the citation context, and then applying our deep learning models to identify citations as supporting, contradicting, or simply mentioning. In short, allowing anyone to see if a scientific article has been supported or contradicted.

As a funny, aside my co-founder, Yuri Lazebnik, and I first proposed that someone else, like Thomson Reuters, Elsevier, or NCBI should implement the approach used now by scite. After some waiting, we realized that if we wanted it to exist we would need to build it ourselves and here we are, five years later, with over 300M classified citations citing over 20M articles!

Tell us a little about how it works and the team behind it

As mentioned, scite is a tool that allows anyone to see if a scientific paper has been supported or contradicted by using a deep learning model to perform citation analysis at scale. In order to do this, we need to first extract citation statements from full-text scientific articles, which in most cases means extracting citation statements out of PDFs. To accomplish this, scite relies upon 11 different machine learning models with 20 to 30 features each. This is very challenging as there are thousands of citation styles and PDFs come in a variety of different formats and quality. We’re fortunate to have Patrice Lopez on the team, who has been developing the tool to accomplish this for over ten years. Once we’ve extracted the citations from the articles, we use a deep learning model to classify citations as supporting contradicting or mentioning.

To show the utility of the tool, I like to show my PhD research as it is seen with and without the lens of scite. This study looked at the effects of aneuploidy on chromosome mis-segregation, that is, if you add an extra chromosome to a cell does it make more mistakes during cell division. Our work was published in eLife and was a collaboration between our lab at Virginia Tech, and labs in Portugal, and at the NIH. It has been cited 40 times to date and viewed roughly 4,000 times. In general, these features are what we as a community look at when assessing a paper–who the authors are, the prestige of the journal it appears in, affiliations, and some metrics like citations and perhaps social media attention (Altmetrics). This information is used to decide if we want to read or cite a paper, if we want to promote this author, join their lab, or give them a grant. These are our proxies of quality. Yet, none of them have anything to do with quality. With scite, in just a few clicks, you can see that my work has been independently supported by another lab (i.e. it has a supporting cite). To me, this is something like a super power for researchers, because without scite one would need to read forty papers to find this information or consult an expert and even then they might miss it.
screenshot demonstrating cite

To make scite happen requires a special team and I believe that is what we have created and continue to create at scite. I like to joke that scite is a multinational corporation with offices in Kentucky, Brooklyn, France, Germany, and Connecticut. While true, it is not an entirely accurate representation of the company, just as citation numbers are not an entirely accurate representation of a paper. In fact, scite is a small team of six scientists and developers united not by geography but by a passion to make science more reliable. 

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

The idea behind scite has been discussed as early as the 1920’s, as there exists a similar system in law called Shepardizing (lawyers need to make sure they don’t cite overturned cases  as they will quickly lose their argument this way). However, despite such discussions happening nearly a hundred years ago and multiple attempts to bring something like scite to fruition, even by juggernauts like Elseiver, it did not happen until scite came to life. scite is innovative in that in unlocks a tremendous wealth of information by successfully pushing the latest developments in technology to its limits. With that said, there is so much that we still need to do and we’re excited about the future and working with many stakeholders in the community.

What your plans for the future?

In the near future, we think anywhere there is scholarly metadata, there is an opportunity for scite to provide value. We are working with publishers to display scite badges, citation managers to display citation tallies, submission systems to implement citation screens and are in discussions with various pharmaceutical companies to help improve the efficiency of drug development. Moreover, we will start to expand out citation analytics from articles, to people, to journals, and institutions.

Longer term, we envision scite as being the place where people and machines go to identify reliable research and researchers. We have plans to explore micro-publications, so as to offer more rapid feedback into our system, plans to further invest in machine learning to see if we can predict citation patterns as well as promising therapeutics in drug development, and I think much more that we can’t even predict right now. The scientific corpus is arguably the most important corpus in the world. It’s a shame that it is easier to text mine twitter than it is cancer research. However, it’s also an opportunity, one which we’re seizing now.

photo Josh Nicholson
Josh Nicholson is co-founder and CEO of scite.ai, a deep learning platform that evaluates the reliability of scientific claims by citation analysis. Previously, he was founder and CEO of the Winnower (acquired 2016) and CEO of Authorea (acquired 2018 by Atypon), two companies aimed at improving how scientists publish and collaborate. He holds a PhD in cell biology from Virginia Tech, where his research focused on the effects of aneuploidy on chromosome segregation in cancer.

Chrome plugin: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/scite/homifejhmckachdikhkgomachelakohh
Firefox plugin:


See the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing Finalists lightning sessions at the ALPSP Conference on 11-13 September. The winners will be announced at the Dinner on 12 September.

The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2019 are sponsored by MPS Ltd.  

Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Taking baby steps towards making academic publishing conferences more welcoming to parents of young children

Nisha Doshi
Senior Digital Development Publisher

 Cambridge University Press
In the run-up to my maternity leave a couple of years ago, I was keen to identify as many ways as possible to keep in touch with colleagues and friends at work and in the wider academic publishing industry, and to keep up-to-date with news and developments in publishing and scholarly comms. I had attended several medical conferences in my former life as a commissioning editor of medical books and I had been delighted to be able to meet there with clinicians who were also new parents – mums and dads who had been able to participate in the conference thanks to the existence of a ‘parent and baby’ room, where they could listen to a live feed of conference proceedings while looking after their baby, and also network with their colleagues at coffee breaks, poster sessions etc. At the time I wasn’t thinking ahead particularly to having a child of my own but I was struck by comments from several of these mums and dads about how valuable it was to be able to combine the demands and constraints of parenting a young baby with the benefits of continuing to be a part of their clinical and academic community.

Fast forward to my own maternity leave – I tried to keep up-to-date as much as possible by following industry events on twitter, reading blogs and newsletters, and so forth. However, a twitter feed really isn’t the same as being at an event in person and I wasn’t able to identify any scholarly comms conferences or events that were explicitly welcoming to new mums with babies. Attached to my little one pretty much 24/7 (he wasn’t the easiest of babies!), I felt rather isolated from the academic publishing community and commented to a few colleagues/twitter contacts about how great it would be if we could replicate the facilities provided at conferences in other disciplines. The response I got, quite reasonably, was that academic publishing doesn’t have the resources of clinical medicine and this wouldn’t really be practical.

Fast forward further to a call for ideas at Cambridge University Press for next year’s University Press Redux event – I tentatively suggested the possibility of a facility to enable parents to attend, perhaps particularly parents of young babies. I was delighted that this idea chimed with the views of the conference organisers and even more pleased to learn that the provision of ‘mum and baby’ rooms was in fact a norm in other academic disciplines beyond medicine. In fact, in North America, it appears that 94% of scientific conferences provide a lactation/breastfeeding room while 68% provide childcare support. While it might be assumed that the need is greater in the US than in the UK, where parents tend to take longer periods of parental leave, it could also be argued that the feeling of isolation from the work community and the sense (perceived or actual) of career disadvantage associated with longer periods of parental leave creates an equal need for facilities for new parents at conferences held in the UK.

Next year’s University Press Redux Conference will be held at Churchill College, Cambridge, UK on 17-18 March.  Whilst the college are unable to allow full childcare facilities on site at this time due to students revising for exams, I am delighted to say that, in a bid to support new parents, they have offered to make a room available for the use of parents with babies (up to a maximum age of 12 months) who wish to attend the event.  The room will have a live feed to the main conference sessions, which means parents can participate in the proceedings, whilst still looking after their little person’s needs.  Of course, parents and babies would also be welcome to participate in coffee breaks, meals and so forth in order to spend time with their colleagues and new acquaintances.  We would also ensure questions were invited from and taken from the ‘parent and baby room’ as well as from the main session rooms.  Parents would need to supervise their babies at all times and also be mindful that students will be revising for exams in close proximity to the room.

The organisers of Redux 2020 (The Association of Learned& Professional Society Publishers and Cambridge University Press) would really love to be able to make this work and to enable new parents to be full participants of next year’s event.  So, if this facility is something that would be of use to you or you would like further details then please register your interest  by Friday 30 August with me, Nisha Doshi, Senior Digital Development Publisher, Cambridge University Press at ndoshi@cambridge.org or comment below.

Booking for the above event will open in the autumn.  View more details and the provisional programme here.  

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

The Marketer's Tool Kit: Leveraging social media - three steps to move beyond broadcasting

We spoke to Emma Watkins, Marketing Manager at IOP Publishing and co-tutor on our Effective Journals Marketing training course about how to get the most out of social media. Here's what she said.

It’s over ten years since Facebook became available to the general public and Twitter was launched (and even longer since long forgotten and yet somehow still in existence MySpace began). In that time we’ve seen numerous new networks rise (and fall) and yet for many marketers the social web is still a daunting place to be.

For those companies who aren’t afraid to try, there is an awful lot of value to be found in engaging researchers in the social sphere – here’s how to start.

1. Start listening

Social networks are a great place to find out exactly what the community wants, needs, and thinks of you. Make sure you’re set up to find those conversations – there are tonnes of social media listening services out there which will aggregate content by keyword or product name. Take the time to skim through these regularly, as there can be valuable insight nestled amongst the pictures of people’s breakfasts.

Helpful link: Brandwatch Blog's Top 10 Social Media Monitoring Tools

Top tip: Conference hashtags are the perfect place to start – search for relevant events and keep an eye on your timeline when they are on (for example #alpsp19)

2. Conversations are a two-way thing – but make sure you’re speaking the same language

So you’ve done some great listening, perhaps even followed a conference hashtag or two – what next?

Time to start having some conversations! If you can add value to a blossoming conversation, perhaps with a link to some free (and highly relevant) content, or some advice on a publishing problem, then do it! But make sure you enter the conversation as a human being, not as a brand automaton. Where possible include your name – ASOS do this really well on Facebook.

Helpful link: Harvard Business Review - 50 Companies that get Twitter - and 50 that don't

Top tip: Once you’ve joined a conversation remember to stay with it – don’t just log off as people may respond to you.

3. Embrace different forms of content

It’s easy to get stuck on just sharing text content and links, but if you really want to make a splash then you should vary the content you share. Vlogs, infographics, images, podcasts – all of these offer unique ways to get your message across, so make sure you don’t just choose the right channel but also the right content.

Helpful link: Hubspot - 45 Visual content marketing statistics you should know in 2019

Top tip: Audit your current content store (leaflets, blog posts etc…) to look for new ways to repackage this information for social sharing. You could turn an FAQ page into an infographic, or make a video out of a press release on a product launch.

Emma is a Marketing Manager for IOP Publishing (IOPP), where she oversees the academic marketing strategy for the entire journals portfolio, as well as community websites, B2B products, and ebooks programme.

The next Effective Journals Marketing course runs on Wednesday 17 July 2019 in London. Further information and booking available on the ALPSP website.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

'Making the case for embracing microPublications: Are they a way forward for scholarly publishing?'

Albert Einstein said: “An academic career, in which a person is forced to produce scientific writings in great amounts, creates a danger of intellectual superficiality”. 

Researchers have been working with the pressures of ‘Publish or Perish’ for decades. The default response is to question the value of microPublications that are produced as a result. But what about when microPublications are carefully defined; peer review is stringently completed; and they enable publishers to more efficiently produce the ‘longer story’ research articles with pre-validated research outputs? Are there largely unknown opportunities and values to be gained quickly? Can microPublications enable synthesizing and distilling of information and integrate this information in established repositories to create a more meaningful and greater corpus of knowledge - dare we say, global knowledgebase?

In this blog we hear from scientific curators with new roles as editors of a microPublication, and from a publisher who encourages this new publishing genre.

Chair: Heather Staines, Head of Partnerships, MIT Knowledge Futures Group.


  • Daniela Raciti, Scientific Curator for Wormbase and Managing Editor, microPublication Biology
  • Karen Yook, Scientific Curator for Wormbase and Managing Editor, microPublication Biology
  • Tracey DePellegrin, Executive Director, Genetics Society of America

Heather Staines: As an historian and former acquiring editor for books, I’ve long thought of articles as short-form publications and have struggled with the ‘less is more’ school of thought. When I started to hear about microPublications a few years back, I was intrigued. I wondered how researchers would define the scope of these postings, how they would be viewed within their respective disciplines, and how they would fit within the larger scholarly communications infrastructure. I was thrilled to be asked to moderate the ALPSP webinar, to get to hear directly from the folks at microPublication Biology and at the Genetics Society of America. Here is a bit of what I’ve learned in preparation for the session.

Question 1: How would you define a microPublication?

microPublication Biology: A microPublication is a peer-reviewed report of findings from a single experiment. A microPublication typically has a single figure and/or results table, the text is brief, but has sufficient relevant background to give the scientific community an understanding of the experiment and the findings, and there is sufficient methodological & reagent information and references that the experiment can be replicated by others.

Genetics Society of America (GSA): I’ve got to agree with my colleagues on this one. I think one key here is that the findings in microPublication Biology are in fact peer-reviewed. They’re also discoverable, so they’re not lost in the literature. And I love the idea that these are compact yet powerful components scientists can build upon.

Question 2: What was the driving force behind the decision to move forward with microPublications?

microPublication Biology: There are two driving forces. The first is to increase the entry of research finding into the public domain. These findings are of value to the scientific community, they give the authors credit for their work, and publication fulfils the agreement researchers make with funding agencies (and taxpayers) to disseminate their findings. The second is to efficiently incorporate new data into scientific databases, such as WormBase. Scientific databases organize, aggregate and display data in ways that have tremendous value for researchers, greatly facilitating experimentation (increasing efficiency, decreasing cost). Databases are most useful when they are comprehensive; the microPublication platform allows efficient and economical incorporation of information into databases. We hope that in the long term, other scientific publishers will come on board to directly deposit data from publications into the authoritative databases.

GSA: GSA is supportive of microPublications for several reasons. First, incorporating new data into scientific databases is critical. Researchers in our fields depend on model organism databases like WormBase, FlyBase, Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD), the Zebrafish Information Network (zfin), and others, many of which are supported by the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) and included in the Alliance of Genome Resources. These databases are critical in understanding the genetic and genomic basis of human biology, health, and disease, and are curated by experts in the field. The microPublication platform helps authors by incorporating their findings into these databases in a way that’s seamless and painless for busy scientists. Second, microPublication Biology reduces the barrier of entry for scientists hoping to freely share their peer-reviewed research in a credible venue. Also, it’s terrific that microPublication provides the opportunity to publish a negative result. Negative results are important, yet too few journals publish them. The bottom line is that microPublication Biology addresses a need in scholarly publishing, serving authors and readers alike by filling a gap existing journals don’t serve.

Question 3: How does the peer review process differ, if at all, from the peer review of longer articles?

microPublication Biology: The peer-review process is similar to other journals, with a few distinguishing features. First, since the publication is limited in scope and length, it is simple and quick to review. Second, the publication criteria are straightforward – is the work experimentally sound? - does the data support the conclusion? – is there sufficient information to allow replication? – and, are the findings of use to the community? The last point goes along with the categorical assignment of the microPublication as a New finding, Finding not previously shown (unpublished result in a prior publication), Negative result, Replication – successful, Replication – unsuccessful, and Commodity validation.

GSA: Because I’m not an editor at microPublication Biology, I can only generalize here. But I will use this opportunity to underscore the importance of high-quality peer review as well as editors who are well-respected leaders in the field. One glance at the editorial board of microPublication Biology shows that these scientists are in a position to guide the careful review and decision on submitted data in their respective fields. I also find the categorial assignments interesting – especially the idea of a successful (or unsuccessful) replication.

Question 4: What do you see as the future for microPublications?

microPublication Biology: Huge! This publishing model will help change how researchers communicate with one another, how a researcher’s accomplishments are evaluated and tracked, and provide an earlier step for budding researchers to be introduced to scholarly communication. The microPublication venue easily lends itself to expansion into entirely new fields. However, such expansions need to be driven by the field’s scientific community (the group that will submit manuscripts, peer review the manuscripts, and maintain community standards).

GSA: The sky’s the limit. I agree with everything (above). In times where we’re trying to encourage grant review panels and others to evaluate scientists by the data they’re publishing (rather than the impact factor of the journal in which the article appears), such venues as microPublication Biology provide a chance for researchers to get credit for contributions that might not otherwise be recognized. And that’s progress!


Heather Staines: I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our panellists for taking the time to weigh in on these questions. I hope you will now agree with me that microPublications provide an interesting and useful twist on the traditional journal publication model.

To learn more, please register for the ALPSP webinar: 'Making the case for embracing microPublications: Are they a way forward for scholarly publishing?'

Wednesday 26 June.
16:00-17:00 BST, 11.00-12:00 EDT, 17:00-18:00 CEST, 08:00-09:00 PDT.

The webinar is ideal for: publishing executives, editors, librarians, funders and researchers.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Growing your content’s family tree: Life after primary sale

So much effort in our industry goes into new content: the launch, the debut, the first run. Yet, there is a complex, profitable second life for content after it serves its initial purpose. Often, it is up to publishers to become the guardians of that second act, spawning “children” from the original content that can flourish after primary sale.

Content creators and publishers shape the primary “parent” work in a certain format, for a certain audience, so it can be challenging for them to accept that the world might reinterpret that work in ways they can’t control. The use of child content can be so unpredictable and so detached from the original work that publishers might find it impertinent, trivial, or undermining.

Like a dysfunctional family, some publishers are stricter than others when it comes to sending child content out into the world for fresh creative or commercial endeavors. It’s a balancing act for publishers to protect the value with which they have been entrusted, without stifling the possibility of a productive future. The more inspiring the original work, the more likely that it will yield offspring that flourish beyond the scope of the primary sale. As surprising as the opportunities may appear, reinterpretation of child content can produce immense value to publishers who are open to the concept.

Over the past several years, I have been exposed to companies seeking reuse of creative output of all kinds. Excerpts, charts, and graphs are common, but we also hear about requests for instructional videos, posters, and secondary text created to support website features. These requests are often very difficult to process. I sometimes see bias on the part of content creators and publishers for the primary work to be protected just as it is, cut off from the potential of a second life. Beyond that, the creators of the content can be hard to find, and the intended reuse is hard to describe. When not a lot of money is involved, it’s easy for the trail to go dead.

Taking the widest view of the “permissions” landscape, which my job at Copyright Clearance Center allows me to do, I encourage creators - and custodians of creative works - to embrace the inspiration that others receive from an original work. The inspiration may seem “less than” because it has a different audience, format, or purpose, than the original, but that contribution could take the achievement to a new realm.

I don’t mean that creators should abandon control, allowing every proposed reuse. I’m also not implying that creators should not be compensated for their contributions. Rather, creativity should be encouraged as the seed of further achievement. When creating child content will cause no harm to the parent content, why not embrace the experiment of that creative output? Consider the options carefully, but trust that the intrinsic value of the parent content will be amplified by the life of the child content. If the significance is not apparent to you, take that as testament to the power of independent thought.

Unusual second lives of content in mainstream media

Parent content
Child content
Scene transition cartoons from variety show The Tracey Ullman Show
Television series The Simpsons
AOL’s trademarked email greeting sound, “You’ve got mail.”
Romantic comedy You’ve Got Mail
Nashville-area commercials featuring simpleton Ernest P. Worrell
Ernest children’s television show and nine-part movie series
The Pink Panther cartoon character
Owens Corning building insulation
Star Wars movie series
Scented candles, aquariums and terrariums, a grocery line of fresh fruit, furniture
Disney theme park rides
The Country Bears and The Pirates of the Caribbean movie series
Trading cards and sticker packs
B-movies Mars Attacks and The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
Board games
Movies Clue, Battleship and Ouija
Smartphone apps
Movies Angry Birds and The Emoji Movie
The Lego Movie series, UglyDolls, Bratz: The Movie, G.I. Joe, Transformers movie series, Toy Story movie series, My Little Pony television series
Television show theme songs
Ringtones for smartphones
“It’s the Hard Knock Life” from Broadway musical Annie
Hip hop track “Hard Knock Life (Ghetto Anthem)” by Jay-Z
Theme song from television series MacGyver
Hip hop track “Put Ya Signs” by Three 6 Mafia
Windows 98 chimes and tones
Hip hop track “Windows Media Player” by Charles Hamilton

Jamie Carter

Jamie currently works as manager of publisher account management at Copyright Clearance Center, where she has worked since 2011, finding opportunities to license content and increase royalty revenue.

Jamie’s publishing career began at Arcadia Publishing, a UK publisher with an office in Dover, New Hampshire. Hers was a start-up division; Jamie acquired titles, did production work and editing, and even sold books on the road from time to time.

In the earliest days of the internet, she worked at a web-design company, then worked for six years as a manufacturing buyer at Heinemann in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Jamie moved back online in 2007, when she became product manager at Publisher Alley, a subscription website for analysis of book sales. Publisher Alley was owned by Baker & Taylor at the time, and is now owned by EBSCO. In this position, she was the editor of Alley Talk, a free companion site for Publisher Alley featuring bestseller listings and industry white papers.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

AI, Blockchain, Open Source - separating the value from the hype

AI, Blockchain and Open Source are terms which continually grab attention, but are they merely buzzwords or will they really disrupt our industry? Ahead of our planned series of webinars on this subject, Jennifer Schivas of 67 Bricks and Nisha Doshi of Cambridge University Press consider how to distinguish hype from reality, and why publishers should care...

AI, Blockchain and Open Source have been generating a lot of attention in the press over the past few years, and high profile announcements from the likes of eLife, Elsevier and Digital Science generate a lot of excitement, but can these technologies really help us improve publishing processes and enhance customer experience?  Can they save us money or help us offer new products and services to authors and researchers?  If so, how do we engage at the right level and the right speed?  How do we ensure the opportunity, if there is one, doesn’t become a threat?

Working at the coal face of publishing innovation means that these are questions we wrestle with on a day-to-day basis, and when we spoke to others at the 2018 ALPSP conference we realised we weren’t alone. Across the industry many of us are exploring options, running pilots, launching products, platforms and systems and putting in place strategies that utilise these new technologies. Some are dipping their toes in the water, while others are diving right in. However, at the other end of the spectrum there are those who dismiss these technologies as mere trends or buzzwords: AI has been around since the 1950s afterall, and isn’t Blockchain regularly described as “just a slow database”?!

So, who is right and who is wrong?  This debate will be at the heart of the forthcoming series of ALPSP webinars, in which we’ll invite industry experts to examine each technology in turn to help us separate the hype from the reality.

In each webinar we will include a short, jargon-free introduction to the technologies and discuss examples of where they are already being used in our industry. We’ll then assess their potential for positive change as well as considering alternative courses of action - which could even include “do nothing” - and look at the recommended first steps publishers can take to begin capitalising on opportunities.

We believe that it is important for publishers to engage with these technologies and make clear decisions with their eyes open. It is not usually wise to invest in cutting edge technology for technology’s sake alone, however there are ways to trial them without undue expense or risk; R&D programmes, pilot projects or collaborative partnerships can all work well.  We will explore how these might be set up to test the waters and release some early benefits before making a major investment or committing to a long-term path.

Join us to start a clear conversation and to begin to separate the hype from the reality. You’ll come away with a better understanding of what these technologies offer in the short, medium and long term, how they might align with wider product, platform or technology strategy, and if and how they might help meet customer needs. There will never be one single answer or one size fits all… so we look forward to some lively conversation!

To find out more about the planned webinars or to book your place please visit https://www.alpsp.org/Webinars/What-is-Hype/62872

Jennifer Schivas Jennifer Schivas is Head of Strategy and Industry Engagement at 67 Bricks, a technology company that helps publishers become more data driven www.67bricks.com

Nisha Doshi
Nisha Doshi is Senior Digital Development Publisher at Cambridge University Press, where she leads the digital publishing team across academic books and journals www.cambridge.org