Wednesday 23 August 2017

Spotlight on Delta Think - shortlisted for the 2017 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

In the second of our series of interviews with our ALPSP awards finalists we talk to Ann Michael, President of Delta Think.

·         Tell us a bit about your company

Delta Think is a business and technology consulting firm focused on innovation and growth in scholarly publishers and membership organizations. Founded at the height of the transition from print to digital, our core purpose is helping organizations to manage change. We live at the intersection of content, technology and user experience, and help our clients through the many changes impacting scholarly publishers and membership organizations.

·         What is the project that you submitted for the Awards?

The Delta Think Open Access Data & Analytics Tool  (OA DAT) is a living compilation of industry data, anonymized private data and analysis, which provides a comprehensive view of the OA market.

The idea originated with questions arising during consulting engagements. We found commonality in questions clients asked about OA, with no clear consolidated, reliable data source to address them. We saw an opportunity to serve the industry more effectively by curating such a data set, and supplementing it with analysis, commentary, and visualizations.

·         Tell us more about how it works and the team behind it

The OA DAT includes several levels of analysis and data access to accommodate any organization’s available bandwidth, comfort level with data analytics, and budget. We’ve worked hard to build a consistent view of the market and to make existing silos of data interoperate to deliver new insights, supplementing them with publisher confidential data (de-identified and aggregated).

The tool includes interactive visualizations so users can extract meaning for real-world decision-making, while providing a quick way to tailor the tool to areas of interest with a few mouse clicks. There is a sample interactive visualization and a brief video on our website , and a few static images below.

Additionally, we curate and aggregate OA industry news and combine it with a short analysis to publish Delta Think’s OA News & Views, which is available free of charge with registration.

We launched the Delta Think Open Access Data & Analytics Tool in beta to pre-launch subscribers in December of 2016, with our full launch in January of 2017. The tool is continually updated. To keep the product current and the user base growing, we work with two core data analysts (one with deep database experience), a research associate, product manager, project manager, marketer, and a business development resource
© 2017 Delta Think, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reused without permission

·         Why do you think it demonstrates publishing innovation?

We had two key motivations in developing the tool: generally increasing industry data proficiency, and specifically supporting organizations as they make data driven strategic and ongoing decisions around Open Access. While several organizations have the bandwidth and budget to develop data analytics expertise, most find using data in decision making aspirational and, at best, episodic. It is not a part of their normal workflow.

On one level, our innovation is pulling disparate information together and continually updating it to provide benchmarks and genuinely novel insights into the Open Access market.

But the innovation goes much deeper: In a single product, we have created the means for any organization to use data in OA decision making on an ongoing basis.
·       Organizations not equipped to interact with the underlying data can read the analysis and benefit from its regular updates. They don’t have to wait a year or two for an analyst report to be refreshed.
·       Organizations looking to interact with the data can manipulate visualizations, narrowing in on elements important to them (e.g., geographic region, subspecialty, year, etc.).
·       Organizations equipped to gather, normalize, and analyze data and knowing the questions they want answered can export OA DAT data, combine it with proprietary data, and complete their own analyses. They can also use OA DAT to save time and effort in data collection, allowing them to focus more on their proprietary analysis.
·        For any of the above, our consulting resources support targeted research or produce custom reports.
The tool is valuable and accessible to the expert or the novice.

·         What are your plans for the future?

We currently focus on STM + Social Science, OA, Journals, as well as not-for-profit and commercial publishers. We plan to extend product coverage to books, open data, and even overall scholarly output (overlaying analytics on top of the usual indexes). We also plan to extend to institutional markets (both librarians and research departments) and other industry players interested in Open Access. Additionally, we are in confidential discussions with many potential data and tech partners.

Our bigger picture goal is to create extensions to the Delta Think Open Access Data Analytics Tool and develop other products or services supporting scholarly publishers, membership organizations, and the multitude of players in the scholarly communications ecosystem to build data and business analytics into their culture and their workflows.

photo Ann MIchaelAnn Michael is President of Delta Think, a business and technology consulting and advisory firm focused on innovation and growth in membership organizations and scholarly publishers. Ann is a Past President of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP), an NFAIS board member, a Board Director at Joule (a Canadian Medical Association company), a frequent organizer and speaker at industry conferences, and is a contributor to the SSP’s blog, The Scholarly Kitchen. 

Twitter: @deltathink @annmichael

See the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing Finalists lightning sessions at our Annual Conference on 13-15 September, where the winners will be announced. 

The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2017 are sponsored by MPS Ltd.

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