Friday 31 July 2020

The place of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace 2030

Guest blog by Mandeep Kundi, Head of Talent Development (Global), BMJ

Artificial intelligence (AI) is big business. It is the future and its impact on businesses everywhere will be three-fold. Embracing a world of AI means being more dependent on cognitive technologies, or robots, to run all our systems, make faster business decisions, and to help us avoid mistakes and human error.

I recently delved into the depths of the work of the futurist Richard Watson to tighten up my presentation I was invited to deliver at the ‘Academic Publishing in Europe conference’ in Berlin. Up on stage, I gave senior publishers from many organisations including the likes of Wiley, Springer Nature and Oxford University Press, an idea of what BMJ could look like in 10 years’ time.   
We can expect a much greater globalisation of talent and many more flexible working spaces. We will be reliant on automated processes that use big data and predictive technology to make many decisions on how we operate. With these changes, questions around ethics will find their way to a position that is also on the rise – the chief ethics officer.

These new ways of working will free up much of our time, liberating us from a life filled with the mundane. It will give us more time to hone our creativity and inspire us to work across multiple roles, and build expertise in many facets of life.

One risk in this tech-driven world is that loneliness, jobless growth and continual virtual communication could replace many real social and professional interactions.

The impact of COVID-19 can be felt by everyone across our world, and this pandemic has exponentially increased the speed at which we were working towards 2030. All of my initial thoughts and research around what would be in 2030, seemed to have moved closer, and we now find ourselves working remotely and also listening to conversations of loneliness and the need to have interaction with our colleagues, friends and family - do we need a Chief Ethics Office now rather than in 2030?...I think so!

With this in mind, think of two or three things that you don’t want to change in the next decade. And equally, ask yourself what are you desperate to change but know it never will? I am sure the answer to these questions will be very different now in comparison to five months ago!

Mandeep KundiHead of Learning & Talent
Development (Global), BMJ

Mandeep Kundi, Head of Learning & Talent Development (Global), BMJ

Mandeep is a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and a member of the panel of judges for UK Employee Experience Awards. He is a Licensed Practitioner for SHL/Hogan/EQi2.0/Talent Q Psychometric tools with experience in providing life and career coaching to all levels of management, often using proven tools such as Insights™ Personal Discovery.

Thursday 23 July 2020

Spotlight on Select Crowd Review - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

We shall be announcing the winners of the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing on 16 September, at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference.  In this series of posts, we meet our finalists and learn more about each of them.

In this post, we hear from Kathrin Ulbrich, Scientific Editor at Thieme about Select Crowd Review.

Tell us a bit about your organization.

Thieme is a leading supplier of information and services contributing to the improvement of healthcare and health. Employing more than 1,000 staff, the family-owned company develops products and services in digital and other media for the medical and chemistry sectors.

Operating internationally with offices in 11 cities worldwide, the Thieme Group works closely with a strong network of experts and partners. The products and services are based on the high-quality content of Thieme’s 200 journals and 4,400 books. With solutions for professionals, Thieme supports relevant information processes in research, education, and patient care. Medical students, physicians, nurses, allied health specialists, hospitals, health insurance companies and others interested in health and healthcare are at focus of Thieme’s activities.

The mission of the Thieme Group is to provide these markets with precisely the information, services, and products they need in their specific work situation and career. Providing top-quality services that are highly relevant to specific audiences, Thieme contributes to better healthcare and healthier lives. For more information about Thieme, please visit

What is Select Crowd Review?

Select Crowd Review offers secure, fast and substantive reviewing in today’s fast-moving scientific world.

The Select Crowd Review process is an interactive and safe way to improve the quality and speed of publishing. It was first introduced for Thieme's chemical synthesis journal SYNLETT in 2017 and allows editors an evaluation of a manuscript within a very short time. Since 2018 it has also been available for SynOpen.
Select Crowd Review uses the mechanisms of social media communication to make the review process much faster than classical peer review, and with the same or even better quality.

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

The initial idea came from the editor-in-chief of Thieme’s journal Synlett, Professor Benjamin List of the Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung in Mülheim an der Ruhr. Working together with the Thieme Chemistry editorial team, the Thieme Group partnered with Filestage to deliver the technical platform.

A selection of about 50-100 experts, who are exclusive members of the crowd, receives a link to the manuscript and can comment on it anonymously via a secure web-interface, provided by our technology Partner Filestage. Only the editor knows who the reviewers are while monitoring the process.

Copyright © Filestage 2020

Each reviewer decides if he or she has time and expertise to comment on the respective article. Participating reviewers see each other's comments and can discuss the research featured in the paper to improve the manuscript further. They can respond, interact, and enhance it in parallel.

Copyright © Filestage 2020

After 48 – 72 hours (on average) the review period ends, and the manuscript is taken off the platform. In the next step, the editor evaluates the comments of the reviewers, decides about accepting (with or without revision) or rejecting the article and sends the feedback of the crowd to the author for consideration and implementation.
Please note that both the crowd size and the review duration are flexible and up to the decision of the editor.

In what ways do you think Select Crowd Review demonstrates innovation?

Since the first ever peer-reviewed journal launched in 1731, peer review methodology has remained unchanged. Select Crowd Review is shaking that model up, leveraging a key driver of digital disruption - the power of the crowd -  in a simple yet very modern, innovative way.

What are your plans for the future?

We already rolling SCR out to our entire portfolio of Thieme Science titles, with a plan to have it in place by the end of 2020.  Filestage is also collaborating with another publisher, Emerald, who have tested it successfully with three journals.

The next steps for product development are to allow real-time collaboration on the platform, integrate the software into manuscript submission systems such as ScholarOne and to add keyword search within Scopus or Publons to make expert crowd recruiting easier.

photo kathrin ulbrichKathrin Ulbrich studied chemistry at the University of Regensburg in Germany. She did her PhD in organic chemistry in the group of Prof. Oliver Reiser. For almost 5 years now she has been working as a scientific editor for Thieme Chemistry with its journals Synlett, Synthesis, Synfacts, SynOpen and Organic Materials.


You can hear from all of this year's finalists at the ALPSP Awards for Innovation Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September.  Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.
The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing are sponsored by PLS.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Spotlight on Scholarcy - shortlisted for the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing

On 16 September, we shall be announcing the winners of the 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing.  In this series of posts, we meet our finalists and learn more about them.

We asked Emma Warren-Jones, co-founder of Scholarcy to tell us about the organization and their submission for this year's Awards.

Scholarcy was conceived as a result of the real-life experience of its founder, Phil Gooch, while he was researching his PhD. He became overwhelmed with the amount of reading and while there were lots of tools available that, given one paper would recommend several others, there was nothing that could help him distil the research in front of him and make it easier to digest. Eight years later, he built Scholarcy -  an online summariser and knowledge extraction tool that aims to make everyday research faster and more productive. 

Scholarcy reads documents in any format (PDF, Word, XML, TeX, html) and distils them into key highlights, structured summaries, key concepts, pulling out other important information such as study participants and statistical analysis.

Researchers, publishers and university libraries are all actively using Scholarcy’s knowledge extraction and summarisation technology to help manage the growing volume of published articles, preprints and manuscript submissions.

What is the product that you submitted for the Awards?

Scholarcy Library is a SaaS consumer app that helps academics sift the masses of research in their field faster, without missing any significant findings. It converts research documents into a unified, interactive summary flashcard format - which can be saved, shared, annotated on any device and exported to multiple formats.  See examples at

Key features:

  1. Highlights: distils a research paper, books chapter or web article into a tweetable headline, five key highlights, and a structured summary, with links to cited sources.
  2. Key terms: extracts the most relevant keywords from a document, and links these to their definitions to provide more background to a subject. Scholarcy keywords are also used by discovery services to promote content and aid discovery. 
  3. Mobile friendly format: our unified PDF/Word to HTML conversion technology makes the fine detail of a paper or chapter clearer and easier to digest on phones and tablets.
  4. Connects to RSS feeds to generate summaries of breaking research and news.

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

Scholarcy uses its own custom-built machine-learning models and proprietary knowledge distillation engine to automatically extract, clean and structure text from any document, while classifying each word according to its structural and semantic function. The output is then fed into our summarisation engine which creates multiple levels of synopses for different types of readers. We’ve fine-tuned the engine on a large corpus of research papers, government reports and book chapters.

photo Phil Gooch
Phil Gooch, Founder
Phil built Scholarcy’s technology. Before this he led the NLP team at Babylon Health. He has a PhD in clinical NLP and many years’ experience developing AI solutions for the publishing, EdTech, and healthcare sectors.

photo Emma Warren-Jones
Emma Warren-Jones, Co-founder
Emma has 20 years’ commercial and marketing experience in the EdTech, academic publishing and information industries, launching discovery platforms and analytics tools to the global research community. She has also worked as a freelance writer for academic publishers.

In what ways do you think it demonstrates innovation?

1. Versatile 
Scholarcy works on a wide range of formats and distils articles, book chapters and preprints into a unified summary flashcard layout that can be read on any device. It also serves a diverse audience, including: students, researchers, libraries, journalists and publishers.

2. Unique
Very few tools out there are tackling this problem specifically in the context of academic research and serving the needs of the academic community. There are a lot of lightweight summarisation tools available but they are unable to effectively work with the length, complexity or range of content (PDF, Word, HTML, XML, ePub, plain text) that Scholarcy does, nor can they extract the range of information we do.

3. Addresses a pressing global challenge
Scholarcy aims to help solve a significant and growing global challenge: the public understanding of science. From the beginning, one of Scholarcy’s core goals was to help make scientific literature and primary research more accessible to the lay community amidst growing levels of misinformation. We began addressing this by building extractive summarisation technology that could break long, complex documents down into easy-to-digest key highlights and sections that capture the essence of a piece of research. We have recently developed this technology further to be able to generate original plain-language summaries from scientific research (see

What are your plans for the future?

Up to this point, Scholarcy’s technology has focused on parsing and distilling individual documents. We’re now building an engine that will synthesise summaries, key facts and findings from entire collections of articles that could help automatically draft a review paper on a given topic, for example.
We’re also continuing to develop our deep summarisation technology that will create  research explainers for non-experts.

Flashcard generator:
Lay summary generator:
Twitter: @Scholarcy

scholarcy logo

You can hear from Scholarcy and the other finalists at the ALPSP Awards for Innovation Lightning Session on Tuesday 8 September.  Visit the ALPSP website to register and for full details of the ALPSP Virtual Conference and Awards 2020.
The 2020 ALPSP Awards for Innovation are sponsored by PLS.