Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Careers Come First

What the 2021 Wiley Society Member Survey tells us about careers and DE&I

By Dr Jonathan Roscoe, Partner Engagement, Wiley – Gold sponsor of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2021



Career development, especially in academia, is never easy. Combine this with issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) and some might say it’s more difficult than ever. We’ve seen over the course of seven Wiley Society Member surveys how important career success is to members, which is why every year the survey looks at how societies are helping their members with career development, and how satisfied members are with their society’s offerings. We’ve identified three main drivers of society membership: content, community, and careers with content usually being the front runner. However, this year we’ve seen careers increase in prominence and become arguably the leading reason for membership

The career support challenge

From a society perspective, members view career support as a top benefit of society membership. 44% of survey respondents across all disciplines told us they were satisfied with the level of support for promoting members’ careers, but this has been falling year on year. Given that, it seems clear that a strong careers support service, especially when combined with publishing ethics and a clear society mission, will not just win new members, but will engage and keep the members you’ve got. There are warning signs, however. 15% of those who left a society in the previous 12 months did so because of a lack of support for career advancement. It was the second most significant reason after ‘lack of professional value’, but even more significantly it resulted in a much lower than average satisfaction rating. Societies who put effort into their career offerings have a motivated, engaged, and loyal group of members. Those who don’t, risk losing members and maybe even their society reputation.


Careers for all

Last year, 62% of members told us that they were satisfied with the representation of members across genders, but this year that has dropped to 56%. There has been a similar fall in satisfaction with the representation of members across racial and ethnic groups too, down to 50% from 57%. The past year or more has seen the pandemic disproportionately impact certain members of the research community. The Brave New World research study supported by Wiley, confirmed similar findings. They found that the pandemic had increased gender disparity and highlighted racial inequalities, saying that 59% of responders had taken on additional household chores, 51% had taken on responsibility for home-schooling, 33% had dependent care, and 46% had other caring responsibilities. 

The study found that professional responsibilities had also increased with 53% spending more time on lecture preparation and planning and 48% spending more time supporting students. When broken down, however, the disparities are once again striking. Although those in the BIPOC community were less likely to report additional home-schooling responsibilities and care of dependents, they were more likely to have increased responsibility for household chores. Research was also impacted with 37% of Black responders saying they had less time to produce and consume research compared to 30% of white responders. Similarly, 45% of women said they spent less time on research compared to 37% of men. Indeed, 50% of women compared to 44% of men said they had increased caring responsibilities and 68% of women faced an increase in household chores compared to 55% of men. 

In the face of these increased and unequal pressures, career progression inevitably goes onto a back burner.


What societies can do

It is to be expected that in time, as the impact of the pandemic recedes, many of these additional responsibilities will reduce or disappear and societies can once again offer the career support their members so badly need. So, what can they do?

  • Create more opportunities for under-represented groups by increasing recruitment for prestige roles or by supporting scholarships and other initiatives 

  • Devise a career support service in tandem with open attitudes to research, strong support for publishing ethics, and a positive society mission that members can relate to

  • Make sure your leadership is representative. Change starts from the top. If members don’t see themselves reflected in the society leadership, then they won’t see the value of joining and career progression will stall

  • Ask what career service members want. According to the Wiley survey over a third of members have participated in a society survey and those that do show the highest membership satisfaction rates

  • Don’t just focus on early career researchers (ECRs). It may not be surprising that career support services are most used and valued by ECRs , but societies should find out why older and more experienced members aren’t participating – and if it even matters. If it does matter, ask questions to boost engagement with career offerings. What type of support are older members seeking?

It’s obvious that not all members will share the same set of values, but all members are looking for equal and fair career opportunities. Done correctly, the career support service societies offer can be the catalyst for positive change. Which is something everyone in academia wants. 

Wiley is a gold sponsor of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2021. To find out more and book your place, visit the ALPSP event website.

Wiley is also running a Sponsor Satellite Session - Wiley Presents 2021 Society Member Trends on Thursday 16 September (12:00-12:45, BST). Read more details.


About the author

Dr Jonathan Roscoe, Partner Engagement, Wiley

Jonathan has worked in academic publishing since 1997 and is currently a member of Wiley’s partner engagement team focusing on society and member relationships. He has published extensively on the topic and writes a monthly blog for The Wiley Network. Jonathan also lectures on undergraduate and masters courses at Oxford Brookes University, where he’s also published on matters relating to book history.




Thursday, 26 August 2021

Spotlight on PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP)

 

Shortlisted for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021

This year, the judges have selected a shortlist of six for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing. Each finalist will be invited to showcase their innovation to industry peers at the ALPSP Awards session on Wednesday 15 September at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2021. The winners will be announced on the final day of the Conference on Friday 17 September. 

In this series, we learn more about each of the finalists.

Tell us about your organization

PLOS is a non-profit, Open Access publisher empowering researchers to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. We’ve been breaking boundaries since our founding in 2001. PLOS journals propelled the movement for OA alternatives to subscription journals. We established the first multi-disciplinary publication inclusive of all excellent research regardless of novelty or impact, and demonstrated the importance of open data availability. As Open Science advances, we continue to experiment to provide more opportunities, choice, and context for readers and researchers.

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

PLOS Community Action Publishing is a new, non-APC-based business model PLOS launched in Fall 2020 that uses collection action as a means of making highly selective publishing APC-free. PLOS' aim with non-APC-based business models is to ensure that the open access business model ecosystem doesn't get ‘stuck’ with APCs in the long term. While an appropriate business model for some, APCs are highly exclusionary for many in the global publishing community and PLOS wants to be part of innovating for more diverse, inclusive business models. PLOS CAP is our first attempt at that. We followed it closely with the new PLOS Global Equity model in May 2021.

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

Developed in consultation with libraries and consortia globally, PLOS' Publishing and Partnerships team and Raym Crow (from ChainBridge group) built PLOS CAP over nine months, iterating based on library feedback. We identified the cost we need to cover for the three titles currently involved in the model, an appropriate margin on top of those costs, and worked from that revenue target to determine an inclusive fee structure to spread the cost. Innovations including counting contributing author publication activity (not just corresponding authors), being transparent about our revenue target, and committing to redistributing revenue overages to community members as discounts.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

If you understand innovation as applying ‘creative invention’ to solve a challenge, that is the PLOS CAP model from start to finish. The problem we were trying to solve was making highly selective publishing equitable and accessible -- meaning sky high APCs were not an option for cover cost. The creative invention came in examining ‘collection action’ (it's possibilities and challenges) to address the problem and committing to the transparency and openness the library market requires to engage with a new model. So far the enthusiastic uptake by our library parnters during the worst budget crisis in our lifetimes, speaks to the power of open, transparent collaboration amongst like-minded organizations.

What are your plans for the future?

We aim to report annually on uptake against our targets, and we current share our partners publicly on the PLOS site. We will use conferences, webinars, and other public fora to continue reporting on the ongoing challenges with implementing such a model as well as the positive outcomes it generates. Additionally we've parlayed the ground work required to build PLOS CAP into another new business model focusing on a different equity facet -- geography -- with PLOS Global Equity, which we launched in May 2021. 

For both of these models we intend to report on success/challenges and engage with other publishers. and institutions on how to make these models more successful.


Visit the ALPSP Annual Conference 2021 website for more details and to book your place. 

The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021 are sponsored by HighWire


About the author

Sara Rouhi, Director of Strategic Partnerships, PLOS 
In her role, Sara focuses on developing new business models for sustainable, inclusive open access publishing. As part of the PLOS Leadership Team, Sara's work is reintroducing libraries and consortia to PLOS as essential partners in PLOS' next stage of growth.



Thursday, 12 August 2021

Spotlight on Lean Library Futures, Lean Library, a SAGE Publishing Company

 - Shortlisted for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021

This year, the judges have selected a shortlist of six for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing. Each finalist will be invited to showcase their innovation to industry peers at the ALPSP Awards session on Wednesday 15 September at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2021. The winners will be announced on the final day of the Conference on Friday 17 September

In this series, we learn more about each of the finalists. 

Tell us about your organization

Founded in 2016, Lean Library is a browser extension for libraries that brings their collection and services into user workflows. We do this by integrating with the library’s holdings, authentication systems, patron services and publisher content. From our early beginnings streamlining remote access, to our latest developments embedding library search, support and content into sites like Google Scholar and Wikipedia, we have always kept the library at the heart of what we do, with an overriding mission to increase the library’s visibility and impact in the university. Over 140 libraries subscribe to Lean Library, including Cambridge, Harvard and Melbourne, and over 200,000 patrons use the extension every month.

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




Whether as a physical building or a digital infrastructure, the library has often been seen as a destination for its patrons – as somewhere they have to come to. As patron behaviours and expectations change, accelerated by the shift to remote working in the pandemic, there is an appetite amongst both patrons and librarians to bring the library, and all of its valuable services and resources, directly to the patron. Lean Library Futures is a new product from Lean Library designed to help achieve this. It is principally an application for the library that can sit on the patron’s desktop, deploying relevant library support or resources wherever and whenever they need them. 

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

Lean Library has always been built upon the understanding that interoperability is at the heart of the digital library. Over the last few years our product and technology teams have built an infrastructure to scalably ingest a wide range of APIs and data files, whether directly from the library or via third-party technology providers and publishers.  Lean Library Futures uses this infrastructure to integrate library services and resources directly into our browser extension. Examples include library chat tools, discovery services, Sharepoint, Confluence, publisher databases and more. We are then able to deploy these library services and resources via the browser extension on websites determined by the library.

There are two ways these services and resources can be deployed ‘in the workflow’ (i.e. on any relevant website the user is working in). The first is via automated pop-up. This does not require the user to trigger any action and appears by default. The second is via a trigger from the user. This is achieved by the user accessing a discrete app for their library which appears on any website where the library may have relevant services or resources (it does not appear on other websites). We call this app ‘the Workflow Librarian’. It is branded with the library’s logo and, when clicked, it expands to provide a menu of options for the user. When the user clicks the relevant option, it will trigger the delivery of that library service or resource. The library decides which of these two options to use for each service or resource, and it can even configure them to work in tandem. For example, the library can configure a library service to appear as a pop-up ‘by default’ the first time a user comes across a relevant site, but thereafter only via the Workflow Librarian. In this way we balance awareness and onboarding with user experience, knowing that the patron will always welcome helpful and convenient support from their library, but on their terms. 

The below example (see Figure 1) illustrates our integration with ExLibris Primo. In this example, the user has clicked the Workflow Librarian, expanded the menu to see library services on offer and selected Library Search. Having scraped the search term the library user has entered into Google Scholar (‘global citizenship’), and used this to query the ExLibris Primo API for the library in question, Lean Library Futures then returns the top search results from that library’s instance of Primo – overlaid onto the webpage.


Figure 1

Figure 1: Ex Libris Primo embedded on Google Scholar 



In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

The potential benefits of embedding library services and resources into patron workflows have been known and promoted for several years. For libraries, it’s as fundamental as maintaining ‘mission relevance’, reaffirming that the central mission of the library is not buildings or collections but serving their patrons to achieve their learning goals and research impact (Evans and Schonfeld, 2020). For patrons, studies have shown that point-of-need, customized library support can reduce cognitive load and accelerate learning and discovery (Little, 2010). Lean Library Futures achieves this by taking library services and resources into user workflows for the first time. (As far as we know, there is no other browser extension which embeds the library into user workflows to this extent, since most focus only on specific elements such as access or referencing.) We believe it is the library which can best serve and support patrons to achieve their goals - with Lean Library Futures we’re giving them the means to do so more effectively. Our initial pilots have also shown that embedding library services and resources at the point of need increases both discoverability and usage. One such pilot, with Utah State University, showed a 450% increase in LibGuides usage after integration with the Lean Library browser extension and deployment at the point of need. If we can extend this to other library services and resources, we believe we can support libraries to improve learning outcomes and accelerate research. We see our role as helping to enable libraries, library service providers and publishers to maximise their reach and impact.

What are your plans for the future?

We have launched a number of significant integrations this year, including with Springshare’s LibGuides and LibChat, EBSCO’s Discovery Service, ExLibris’ Primo, scite’s citation context and many more, including our publisher content integrations. We intend to continue this focus on integrating with the services and resources libraries want to see embedded in user workflows. Examples include expanding our integrations with library chat tools, including chatbots, to increase instantaneous librarian-patron communication at the point of need. We also want to expand our publisher partnerships to surface expert material when patrons are searching relevant terms on sites like Google or Wikipedia. To achieve this, we are focusing on publisher outreach but also the design of an easy-to-use integration schema, akin to what LTI has achieved for LMS integrations. We have a dedicated resource page for publishers and library service providers and are always eager to hear from interested parties at partnerships@leanlibrary.com. In addition, we also want to work with libraries on building out the productivity tools our browser extension offers library patrons. This would include supporting students and researchers with reading, writing and other common workflow tasks.

For further information, please visit: 

Visit the ALPSP Annual Conference 2021 website for more details and to book your place. 
The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021 are sponsored by HighWire

About the author

Matthew Hayes is Managing Director of Lean Library. He has held leadership roles in both start-ups and established research information organizations, including Publons, Taylor & Francis and Springer Nature. Matthew studied Modern History at the University of Oxford and has continued his research interests alongside his career: he is currently completing a PhD in Global Education at the Institute of Education, UCL. 


Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Spotlight on Antiracism Toolkit for Allies, an initiative of C4DISC

 – Shortlisted for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021



This year, the judges have selected a shortlist of six for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing. Each finalist will be invited to showcase their innovation to industry peers at the ALPSP Awards session on Wednesday 15 September at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2021. The winners will be announced on the final day of the Conference on Friday 17 September

In this series, we learn more about each of the finalists.

Tell us about your organization

The Toolkits for Equity project is now an initiative of the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communication (C4DISC). The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies is the first toolkit; it will be followed by antiracism toolkits for organizations and BIPOC, as well as toolkits around disability and inclusive language. The Toolkits for Equity started as a collaboration between  a handful of collaborators at the 2019 Triangle Scholarly Communications Institute, an Andrew W. Mellon-funded space for incubating projects that address pressing needs in scholarly communications, and later moved under the umbrella of C4DISC.


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

The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies provides readers within scholarly publishing with education and tools to disrupt racism and create work communities where everyone thrives.

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

Our project provides tools that can be used to construct an antiracist framework for scholarly publishing. The co-leaders for the Antiracism Toolkit for Allies are Niccole Coggins, Jocelyn Dawson, Melanie Dolechek, and Gisela Fosado. We were joined by 50+ volunteers across scholarly publishing. Our volunteers included designers, copy editors, and production coordinators, who all worked with the desire to create something new and revolutionary for our industry that could accelerate change around antiracism efforts. 

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

In recent years, numerous DEI committees have started around our profession. Our project started out of a belief that the work of these committees could get a kickstart if we could provide tools and training materials.  

We also wanted to reframe the discussion - a lot of DEI efforts to date have focused on pipeline programs and recruitment. But these programs do not get at the root of the problem: the role of white supremacy in our workplace culture. 

We thought it was crucial to bring an explicitly antiracist framework to the discussion, to explicitly name white supremacy, and to talk frankly about the work that white people in our industry need to do to change workplace culture.

Our toolkits are based on antiracism work by the Racial Equity Institute and Allies for Change.

The guide is free to download and is published under a Creative Commons license, which was done with the hope that others might adapt the toolkit for their particular region or situation.

As of 1 June 2021, the page has been viewed over 9,000 times and downloaded over 3,500 times.

What are your plans for the future?

The Antiracism Toolkit for Allies will be followed by antiracism toolkits for organizations and BIPOC, as well as toolkits around disability and inclusive language. The Toolkit for Organizations, which also involved around 50 volunteers, launches in late August 2021.
 

For further information, please visit: 

https://c4disc.org/toolkits-for-equity/ 


Visit the ALPSP Annual Conference 2021 website for more details and to book your place. 
The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021 are sponsored by HighWire

About the author

Jocelyn Dawson is the Journals and Collections Marketing Manager at Duke University Press and a co-leader of the cross-organizational Toolkits for Equity project. She has served on committees of the Association of University Presses and the Society for Scholarly Publishing and is a previous member of the SSP’s Board of Directors. 



Thursday, 5 August 2021

Spotlight on Mindscape Commons, Coherent Digital

 – Shortlisted for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021


This year, the judges have selected a shortlist of six for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing. Each finalist will be invited to showcase their innovation to industry peers at the ALPSP Awards session on Wednesday 15 September at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2021. The winners will be announced on the final day of the Conference on Friday 17 September

In this series, we learn more about each of the finalists.

Tell us about your organization

Coherent Digital was founded in 2019 by industry veterans Stephen Rhind-Tutt, Eileen Lawrence, and Toby Green. Our mission is to tame wild content. What does that mean? We create databases of critical research and learning materials composed of content that’s otherwise undiscovered, undigitized, uncatalogued, uncited, orphaned, or likely to disappear. We stabilize this content and preserve it in a permanent home. Most importantly, we make it available to our community of researchers and scholars around the globe.

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

We’re honored that one of our flagship products, Mindscape Commons, was shortlisted by the ALPSP Awards Committee.

Mindscape Commons is the world’s first and largest collection of immersive, interactive, and virtual reality video content for teaching, training and learning in mental health.  

A growing body of research confirms that immersive content builds empathy, brings better clinical outcomes, and trains students to handle complex and high-risk situations in a safe and repeatable way. But historically, many of these VR experiences and videos were “wild”—scattered across the internet, not stable or citable, in danger of disappearing. For the first time ever, Mindscape Commons brings open-access, research, commercial, and originally produced VR content together on a single site.
 
This is a community project. Our “freemium” model enables registered users to access open-sourced 360° videos and upload their own content for publication.

As part of our paid institutional membership, Mindscape offers hundreds of interactive, short-form, VR and 2D videos developed in partnership with faculty and students. For example, we collaborated with Mercer University in Atlanta to develop a series of 360° Virtual Microcases. Each three-to four-minute case features a client with anger, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, trauma, or another presenting issue, making learners more prepared going into field experience and practicum. Virtual Microcases are substantially more effective than written case studies in textbooks because they’re authentic, immersive, and experiential. Content is further enhanced with interactive quizzes, book chapters, discussion questions, and other tools to facilitate teaching and improve learning outcomes. 

Our content is developed to represent a diverse community, featuring topics and themes such as multicultural dynamics, LGBTQ+, international voices, first generation stories, immigrant experiences, and religion and spirituality. 

No VR equipment is needed; content can be accessed on a laptop or mobile phone. If a user wishes to watch immersively, the person can opt for simple and affordable “cardboard” device to use with a mobile phone or, for a more immersive experience, a head-mounted device (HMD), such as an Oculus.  

We believe that 21st-century learners (sometimes referred to as “digital natives”) are ready to embrace new technologies for better learning—and we’re proud to meet this need for faculty and students in mental health and related fields. 


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

Research and development began in 2019, and Mindscape launched in October 2020. For our original video content, we filmed in 4K VR stereo and then rendered it to be compatible with a wide array of devices and network connectivity, including laptop, mobile phone, mobile phone with “cardboard” device, as well as an HMD such as an Oculus.  Additional features in Mindscape include interactive elements to 360° video content, searchable and downloadable transcripts, and advanced search capabilities. Titles can be embedded into learning management systems. Content was independently tested for conformance with WCAG accessibility standards.

Mindscape is a collaborative effort among Coherent Digital team members Stephen Rhind-Tutt, Elizabeth Robey, Pete Ciuffetti, and Carolina Tobon. We collaborated with faculty and graduate students from a number of universities to create original 360° video content and teaching guides and for beta testing.  These partnerships were critical to Mindscape’s creation and success. 

What are your plans for the future?

Mindscape Commons will grow in both proprietary and open materials.  We will continue to develop immersive and interactive video content that is responsive to emerging research and social and cultural changes in the mental health field, and we will work with select partners to license more quality experiences. We will continue to create curriculum support materials for improved teaching and learning outcomes. We will also grow the open-source content through community engagement and member uploads. 

For further information, please visit: 


Visit the ALPSP Annual Conference 2021 website for more details and to book your place. 

The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021 are sponsored by HighWire


About the authors

Elizabeth Robey, Publisher of Mindscape Commons  
Elizabeth has worked in academic publishing since 2000 with a focus in the fields of counseling and social work where she has spent the last 20 years building relationships with faculty and organizations, translating their expertise into hands-on training materials.


Peter Ciuffetti, Chief Technology Officer, Coherent Digital 
Pete has held senior technical positions at seven different information providers over a 35+ year career, most of them startups or early stage. He speaks at industry events on the use of machine learning in electronic publishing.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Data Opportunities for Publishers

By Stephanie Lovegrove Hansen, Director of Marketing, Silverchair – Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2021

The past year and a half brought considerable change to our industry, accelerating business model shifts, driving further consolidation, and heating some industry dialogues to a boiling point. These changes have led publishers to examine and think creatively about their value proposition and how they can monetize their content and data assets. But despite the break-neck pace of some editorial operations last year, publishing more content is not a sustainable option for increasing revenue. Instead, many publishers are asking if they can do more with what they already have. How can the data, content, and audiences they already have be used in different ways? How can they be optimized? What venues already exist for expanding the value of our resources?

A recent report from Silverchair broke down the primary ways to extend the value of existing assets into the categories of data (audience data and content data) and content (existing content and new types of content). Below are some of the report’s takeaways related to publisher data, drawing on industry and technology insights, real world examples, and expert opinion.

Data Opportunities: Your Audience

Publications have long been a major source of revenues, but they are also a source of something that is now equally or more valuable: data. Relative to some analytics and information markets, our data is laying fallow. With many readers pouring through publishing artifacts every day, this data is often the richest source of real-time information on the interests and key concerns of a publisher’s audience. 

Publishers too frequently define their “audience” in narrow terms, focusing in on a relatively known or knowable set readers, subscribers, and potential authors, and ignore the broader ecosystem of individuals and organizations in which they exist. That ecosystem has, by comparison, countless users who haven’t crossed the threshold into becoming paid subscribers or members, but are interested enough to engage (and pay) at a lesser level. 

To identify the opportunities in expanding your audience, however, you first need to understand who your audience is. Societies, associations, and publishers are perfectly positioned to use digital tools to re-establish a connection to the ignored individual, who is too often lost in Open Science debates, institutional sales arrangements, and by the genericizing effects of scale. 

While these ignored individuals have always existed, only recently has it become viable to identify and engage with them in aggregate or in a meaningful market segment. We now have analytic tools that give us a far richer understanding of our users and how the interact with our content. By using data to address the constituency that is both most ignored and most foundational to publishers—individual readers, users, learners—organizations can generate new areas for growth.

Of course, data intelligence alone doesn’t translate to revenue. The data we collect and amalgamate about our audience has to be actionable in ways that provide a better, more valuable experience for those individuals. Having a detailed and evolving profile for every user allows organizations to then gather those users into audience segments that can be flexibly combined to create directly actionable opportunities. 

Ultimately, a society’s ability to interrogate and segment its data and to test and pivot based on real-time insights, also transforms its ability to do the things it cares most about: advocate for its mission and make a difference in the world, grow membership, and grow revenues. 

Data Opportunities: Your Content

In addition to using audience data to deliver more personalized content to your users, publishers can also harness data about the ways users interact with their content to inform their content strategy. By leveraging data about membership, meetings, education, advocacy, and more, publishers have a data-driven foundation for thinking about new journals, special collections or issues, and ideas for other publishing products, like video series. 

Key to getting more mileage out of your content is the ease with which users can find the content in the first place. Discovery and discoverability have been a high-priority moving target in our industry for years, as publishers look to fulfill the needs of researchers, librarians, Google Scholar, and other indexing companies. The first step is ensuring cleaned data and normalized content formats, which helps to future-proof content to be discoverable by the most users in the most places. 

Once a publisher’s content data is cleaned, the next step is content intelligence, which means having a data-driven understanding of how content is performing. This goes beyond knowing how many people clicked on a link - it’s about knowing how many people started to read the content, how many people partially read it, how many people read the whole thing, etc. With content intelligence, publishers can share the right valuable content at the right time to the right person. Not only does this connect back to personalization and audience engagement, but it also opens opportunities for other ways to drive revenue. The more granular the information an organization has about the ways their content is being used (or not used), the more actionable that data becomes. 

Publishers create and add value in myriad ways, which means both complexity and opportunity for monetization. Even now, when aggregation, consolidation, and dissociation of content feel inevitable in our industry, we’re in a time where the technology and know-how to experiment or pursue these strategies is increasingly available and affordable, even to a small society or independent publisher. There will always be a need to deliver expert and trusted content to specialized audiences, and we’re finally getting the digital tools to succeed.

For deeper insights into these data opportunities as well as the content-related opportunities for publishers, download the full report

Silverchair is a silver sponsor of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2021. To find out more and book your place, visit the ALPSP event website.

About the author

Stephanie Lovegrove Hansen is Director of Marketing at Silverchair. She has worked in the publishing industry for over 15 years, including at the University of Virginia Press and Clarivate Analytics.





Thursday, 29 July 2021

Spotlight on Standalone Plain Language Summary of Publication Articles (PLSP), Future Science Group

- Shortlisted for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021


This year, the judges have selected a shortlist of six for the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing. Each finalist will be invited to showcase their innovation to industry peers at the ALPSP Awards session on Wednesday 15 September at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2021. The winners will be announced on the final day of the Conference on Friday 17 September

In this series, we learn more about each of the finalists. 

Tell us about your organization

Founded in 2001, Future Science Group (FSG) is a scientific publisher focused on breakthrough medical, biotechnological and scientific research. From our small beginnings to our evolution into a leading global publisher of journals, eBooks, digital hubs and events, the nature of FSG has remained constant: we are independent, future-focused, and passionate about the sharing of scientific ideas.

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

There is a huge amount of interest currently in plain language content – material that translates the findings of original research into a format that is understandable by non-specialists (from patients and their caregivers to Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) and decision-makers). We saw a real need to improve the availability and discoverability of this extremely valuable content, and to address this, we have introduced a new standalone article type – the Plain Language Summary of Publication (PLSP).

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

Over the past couple of years, we’ve both been lucky enough to be involved in various projects related to plain language content, including participation in a PLS of Publications Workshop held by Envision Pharma Group and working with Patient Focused Medicines Development on the creation of a how-to guide for multi-stakeholder co-creation of plain language summaries of peer-reviewed publications and conference presentations. We have also been focusing on FSG’s own plain language offerings, including the development of PLSPs. PLSPs provide a summary of a recently published research article (both from FSG and non-FSG journals) to be read and understood by non-specialists, and facilitate knowledge dissemination, patient–physician dialogue and the improvement of the care pathway.

PLSPs are submitted like any other article and undergo full peer review prior to acceptance for publication. Not only do we conduct internal review to ensure the information from the original study has been accurately conveyed in the PLSP, all PLSPs are sent out for external review by subject experts and experts in plain language content, including patients and patient advocates. To help with this, we have assembled an Advisory Panel of experts, listed on our dedicated website, who conduct these reviews for us, along with additional individuals we approach on a case-by-case basis for each article. 

Once accepted for publication, the PLSP is laid out using a specifically designed visually enriched template featuring graphics, call-out boxes and even audio clips, to ensure they are in a lay-reader-friendly format. They are published open access to ensure they reach their intended readership, and as standalone articles they have their own DOI (making them citable and discoverable) and are indexed in the same way as all the rest of the journal content.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

Many publishers are starting to introduce or even mandate plain language options, such as short-form lay abstracts or the opportunity to include slightly longer PLS within an article’s supplementary materials. However, finding this content, or even knowing it exists, is difficult, with the content often buried within the paper or online material. We felt that this type of content is so valuable for non-specialist readers, it deserved to benefit from the advantages that a standalone article confers – the quality assurance of peer review, accessibility, discoverability and the highest production standards.

We are already seeing that our target audience (non-specialist readers) are discovering PLSPs. Through Altmetrics, for instance, we can see that patient organisations are posting links to relevant PLSPs on their Twitter feeds.

What are your plans for the future?

We’ve been really encouraged by the positive feedback and enthusiasm we have received for the PLSPs so far – since the publication of the first article in August 2020 (which, at time of writing, has been downloaded over 1,800 times), further PLSPs have been published or are in process, and we have received a huge number of enquiries from those interested in publishing PLSP in future. In addition, following a high level of interest, we are now introducing a writing service for plain language articles, separate from our editorial process, to further aid our authors in the publication of this content.


What has shone through for us since the start of this project is that there is clearly a need and a desire for content of this sort; we are continuing to look at ways to fine-tune and improve the PLSPs we publish, and are also looking to introduce some further plain language article types in the near future.

To our knowledge we are the first, and so far only, publisher to provide PLS as standalone articles, with all the benefits this confers in terms of quality and discoverability, and we hope to continue to build on this success with the publication of more and expanded plain language content.

For further information, please visit: 

https://www.plainlanguagesummaries.com/ 

https://www.future-science-group.com/


Visit the ALPSP Annual Conference 2021 website for more details and to book your place. 

The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021 are sponsored by HighWire



About the authors

Joanne Walker is Head of Publishing Solutions at the Future Science Group, having been with the company since its conception. Joanne works across FSG’s journal and digital platforms to help medical publication/education planners identify the right publishing solutions for their content.



Laura Dormer is Editorial Director at the Future Science Group and has 18 years’ experience in the publishing industry. Laura is responsible for overseeing FSG’s journal portfolio, and has a particular interest in journal development, publication processes and publication ethics.