Friday 25 August 2023

Navigating Open Science and Open Access with Intelligent Automation

By Sureshkumar Parandhaman, AVP Publishing Solutions and Pre-Sales, Integra

Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

Integra logo

The democratization of research, spurred by the Open Science movement, is rapidly transforming the scholarly publishing landscape. Open Science promotes unhindered access to research findings and articles for the public, and collaborative research, supported by digital tools. It fosters greater transparency in research, creating an environment conducive to the sharing of knowledge and trust through open access.

The basic tenets of Open Science are open data, open materials, open analysis, pre-registration, and open access. By increasing transparency, Open Science increases the replicability of research, bringing a systemic change to how scientific research is conducted. According to the OECD, Open Science:

  1. Fosters more accurate verification of research results.
  2. Reduces duplication in “collecting, creating, transferring, and re-using scientific material.”
  3. Enhances productivity, especially during times of tight budgets.
  4. Leads to better innovation potential and improved consumer choice.
  5. Promotes trust in science.

Challenges to Meeting Open Science and Open Access  Requirements for Journal Publishers

While Open Science has brought multiple benefits, it has also thrown up challenges for scholarly publishers, such as increased costs and time, reduced flexibility, incompatibility with existing incentive structure, the emergence of predatory journals, high article processing fees, open access charges, and lack of funding support.

Given that the majority of authors choose a journal based on its reputation, open-access journals are at a disadvantage due to the misconception that such journals are of lower quality. However, it is important to remember that most open-access journals ensure peer reviews and uphold stringent quality standards for all their published works.

Another area of concern is that the business models of traditional publishers don't align with the compliance needs of open science and open access.


Graphic illustration features of Traditional Publishing and Open Access Publishing

Information Source for Image: Researcher.Life

To remain competitive against the backdrop of increasing open access, traditional publishers need to look at leveraging the power of technology to innovate and streamline with publishing process while maintaining integrity, quality, profitability, and compliance.

Intelligent Automation: A Game-Changer

Between 2012 and 2022, there has been a major shift from closed access accounting for 70% of all publishing to the open access model being adopted by 54% of publishers. An AI-powered content creation and publishing platform can bring multiple benefits for journal publishers looking to make the transition, not the least of which is intelligent automation to accelerate workflows.

Some of the key benefits that a cutting-edge technology suite offers include:

  • Tracking and monitoring of detailed metadata across different publications with varied funding sources, multiple authors, etc.
  • Seamless repository integrations without compromising on open access compliance.
  • Capturing open access-related metadata from the inventory.
  • Automating language quality checks, compliance with journal guidelines, relevance of research data and findings, etc., for faster TAT.
  • Technical diagnosis to identify missing information and references, quickly and more accurately than manual checks. 
  • Configurable cloud-based style managers to automate XML tagging to format each manuscript to the journal’s style guide.
  • Analytics capabilities to support strategic decision-making for scholarly publishers.

Revolutionizing Every Step of the Publishing Cycle

Not only does AI-powered intelligent automation optimize workflows and increase productivity, but also supports DRM by effectively monitoring and detecting fraud and copyright infringement. By transitioning to a cloud-based publishing platform that offers such automation, scholarly publishers can also enhance user experiences for authors, editors, and peer reviewers. This is possible through incredibly user-friendly features that ease moving back and forth between runs at revising and updating the manuscript to meet quality standards.

In addition, all parties can be assured of transparency, replicability, and data sharing, while complying with open access requirements. Supplementary materials can be seamlessly integrated to add value for the end reader.

Elevating Open Science and Open Access via Automation

Automation is the key to creating and publishing accessible, user-friendly Open Access content. It offers multiple tools and functionalities to speed up the content creation, editing, and peer review processes, such as assessing language quality via automated grammar checks and offering recommendations and NLP-based editing tools to facilitate guided editing to enhance quality and speed.

By automating tasks, manpower and time are freed up, leading to reduced costs and faster time to market. All these benefits are available on Integra’s full-cycle authoring and publishing platform, powered by artificial intelligence. Its rich functionalities and intuitive interface can ease your transition to producing Open Access content. Integra can transform your workflows and ensure minimal disruptions and data loss while shifting to a cutting-edge technology platform.

Integra is pleased to be a Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

About the author

photo Suresh Parandhaman

Sureshkumar Parandhaman is a publishing professional and AVP publishing solutions at Integra, with a distinguished background in scholarly publishing, particularly in journals and books. With over 20 years of experience, he has excelled as a Product Owner, Product Manager, and Business Analyst in the publishing industry, and has diverse experience spanning Information Services, Publishing, EdTech, Healthcare, and Enterprise software

Tuesday 15 August 2023

How Transitioning to Gold Open Access Grew Medicina Journal

By Dr Carla Aloè, Head of Societies and Acquisition, MDPI.

Gold sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

For many societies and institutes, switching their journals to a gold open access model is scary. Some do not want to renounce the high revenue that comes from institutional and consortia subscriptions, others are concerned that authors will not be able to pay the article processing charges (APCs), and others are worried about the quality of the articles in gold open access journals. 

At MDPI, our priority is to listen, understand and address these concerns. In this blog post, I would like to share the story of Medicina, one of the journals we publish on behalf of societies and institutes, transitioning to a gold open access model.  

The history of Medicina

When we took over Medicina in 2018, the owner of the journal, the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, had many concerns about transitioning to gold open access. The journal had a long history, as it was launched in 1920 and went through different changes due to the political and historical events that affected Lithuania during and after World War II. 

The journal was already open access in 2001, embracing the philosophy of making the latest research freely available to everyone without subscription or other paywalled restrictions. In 2014, Medicina was transferred to Elsevier and published in a diamond open access model, supported by an EU grant. 

In September 2017, we got in contact with the Editor-in-Chief of Medicina, Prof. Edgaras Stankevičius, for the first time. The EU grant was going to end soon, and the university was interested in knowing more about sustainable alternatives to continue publishing the journal. The introduction of APCs was a concern for the institution, as its members worried that they would deter authors from submitting to the journal.

Transitioning to gold open access

A series of meetings took place in the following weeks. In them, we explained how APCs not only allow publishers to cover the editorial and publication costs but also to reinvest in the journal and launch services and initiatives to support researchers. As MDPI does not work with external vendors, we are able to closely control the quality, timing and costs of publication, being able to charge APCs that are highly competitive on the market. 

Of course, we offer a range of discounts and memberships to financially support the authors. For example, the Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP) that counts more than 800 affiliated institutes offers discounts on APCs for associated researchers, and discount vouchers are provided to reviewers that submit comprehensive and timely review reports. Members of societies affiliated with the journal also benefit from discounts. 

We were confident that Medicina would develop nicely, strongly believing in its potential after transitioning to gold open access. 

In 2018, the contract was signed, a Managing Editor was appointed and a dedicated editorial team was organized to support the journal in all the day-to-day operations. The transition was smooth, and the first issue of Medicina was published that same year by MDPI.  

Gold open access leads to growth 

The newly established Medicina editorial team visited the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences in Kaunas, and the Editor-in-Chief and other representatives on the journal travelled to our headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. These personal interactions helped to develop trust in the relationship between the editorial board and MDPI, and to build the foundations for a long-term collaboration. 

For the first year and a half, to support the journal in its transition period, we heavily invested in the journal so it could completely waive the APCs. This is always a delicate moment, requiring a lot of collaboration and flexibility not only with the institute and the editorial board of the journal but also with the previous publisher. The authors, readers and other stakeholders of the journal also needed to be informed and supported throughout the process.  

In agreement with the university, in 2019, we introduced an APC of 1500 CHF to publish in the journal. The number of publications increased by more than 600% that year, and the good quality of articles published in Medicina led to a substantial increase in its impact factor. 

Medicina in 2023

Currently, the journal features 25 sections, of which many were established in 2020. The journal is still led by Prof. Stankevičius and is supported by an editorial board of more than 400 experts in all the different areas of medicine. The journal’s visibility on the MDPI website, which received more than 90 million monthly views in 2022, drew a lot of attention to it, attracting more readers and, consequently, more citations. 

To align with the expansion of journal services, market conditions, inflation costs and a significant increase in the number of submissions and rejected papers, the APCs increased to 1800 CHF in January 2022, making the journal a good source of income for the university. In 2022, we published 1,840 citable items and received more than 10,000 citations. The journal keeps growing in an exponential and healthy way thanks to it transitioning to gold open access and publishing high-quality work. 

MDPI is a proud Gold sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

About the author 

Carla Aloè joined MDPI in 2020 as an Associate Publisher and Scientific Officer. In 2022, she was promoted to Publisher and took over the lead of the Society Partnerships and Acquisition Team. In January 2023, Carla was appointed as the head of the newly established Society and Acquisition Department. Before joining MDPI, she worked as a Commissioning Editorial Team Lead at Frontiers. Carla holds a PhD in Early Modern Literature from the University of Birmingham, UK.

Tuesday 8 August 2023

The Fall’s Big Topics in Publishing & Technology

By Stephanie Lovegrove Hansen, Silverchair

Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

As we hope you’ve heard, Silverchair is bringing back the in-person version of our popular industry event, Platform Strategies (27 September in Washington, DC). Preparing for this industry-wide event means surfacing the larger themes in scholarly publishing and technology more broadly, to ensure we create a program that engages our best minds on the stickiest challenges and biggest opportunities.

Here are the themes that rose to the top for us:

  1. AI: Of course. Though funny enough now, when we were planning the agenda back in February, we did wonder whether all the then-ChatGPT-sparked hype would have faded by the Fall. We gambled that it wasn’t going anywhere, and we were right. Artificial intelligence and large language models are sure to disrupt every aspect of scholarly publishing (and the world at large), from how infrastructure and platforms are developed to how content is discovered, used, and licensed. As our keynote speaker, Nita Farahany, puts it: “How do we avoid the dangers of lost privacy and rights while taking advantage of the unprecedented opportunities? With the rapid advance of wearable neurotech and generative AI, we face important ethical questions about privacy, human rights, equity—and even what it means to be human.”

  2. Coopetition: Partnership models for independent businesses: Industry consolidation, infrastructure complexity, the challenges of keeping up with new and ever-changing research policies and publishing models, and technological advancements and innovations, has left smaller and mid-sized organizations looking for options. Our industry contains both established and emerging collaboratives responding to these challenges, who are giving voice to the consequences for the scholarly ecosystem if these audiences are lost.

  3. Digital to Data: Open access policies, industry mergers, and data privacy policies have drastically changed the landscape for marketers in publishing and beyond. Today's marketers have had to nimbly pivot from B2B to B2C, from siloed to unified, and from highly produced to highly personalized. Further, AI-powered tools rely on clean and comprehensive data to be most effective, shifting the focus of marketers and scholarly organizations at large.

  4. Syndication: Platforms as a hub, not a destination: We’re seeing a number of pilots, models, and approaches for finding readers off-platform and bringing data, usage, and community efforts back to the version of record.

  5. Integrating digital event workflows, assets, and strategy: With publishers looking to increase member engagement and grow revenue, they’re examining how digital event content is being leveraged: what's working, what's not, and what's coming up next. 

  6. Ethics in Publishing: Research integrity, trust in science, transparency in data usage: As seen in the themes and sessions in industry meetings like SSP and ALPSP this year, research integrity and ethics more broadly are a big focus for publishing organizations. Fortunately, new tools and policies are helping to light a path forward.
What trends would you add to this list? How will this list change in 2024 and beyond? Let us know what you think! (We’ll also be gathering your insights for the 2024 iteration of our Publishing Tech Trends report.) Or, join us at the ALPSP conference or for Platform Strategies in DC and discuss it live! 

Silverchair is a proud Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

About the author

Stephanie Lovegrove Hansen is VP 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.

Wednesday 2 August 2023

Democratizing Knowledge: The Rise of Open Science and Open Access

By Tony Alves, Satam Choudhary and Joshua Routh, HighWire

Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

In an era of rapidly evolving technology and accelerating scientific progress, the promise of a democratized, inclusive, and borderless knowledge universe is becoming tangible, fuelled by two powerful movements - Open Science and Open Access.

At its core, Open Science is the practice of making scientific research transparent and accessible to everyone, including open methodologies and open-source software to open data and public access to published work. Open Access is a key part of Open Science. It is a publishing model that enables scholarly publications to be made freely accessible, eliminating the barrier of paywalls.

These concepts emerged from the desire to democratize science and foster a global research community unbounded by financial and institutional barriers. Since the inception of the Budapest Open Access Initiative in 2002, the ultimate vision is one of a scientific ecosystem where knowledge isn't a privilege, but a communal asset. This dynamic promises to stimulate interdisciplinary innovation, enhance public comprehension, and light the way towards a more equitable future for global research.

In this blog post we’ll summarize the opportunities and tensions behind these initiatives, and show how Highwire supports them by supporting relevant publishing models on our platform.

Open Data: Unveiling the Power of Shared Knowledge

Open Data stands for the idea that data collected during research should be freely accessible, enabling anyone to explore, use, and benefit from it.

Unveiling the wealth of knowledge embedded in scientific data, not only enables researchers to build upon each other's work but also allows for innovative analyses and interpretations beyond the scope of the original study. The story of the Human Genome Project stands as a testament to the transformative power of Open Data. The initiative – started by our long-term partners at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory – made genome sequences publicly available, igniting a surge of advancements in genomics, personalized medicine, and biotechnology.

However, the road to Open Data is not without hurdles. Researchers often grapple with data privacy issues, particularly in sensitive fields like healthcare. The lack of standardized formats and metadata can also lead to disorganized and hard-to-use data sets. Costs associated with maintaining accessible, reliable data also pose a significant challenge leading to innovative solutions such as Dryad, who we partner with to make data discoverable, freely reusable, and citable.

Open Access Books: Pioneering Free Access to Scholarly Literature

Beyond journal articles, the drive towards freely accessible scholarly literature has led to an upswing in Open Access Books. This shift acknowledges that academic knowledge can be encapsulated in many different forms of content, which was the driving force behind Highwire Hosting being the first platform to support any content type as a first class citizen. Books, for example, can be as dynamic and evolving as research papers and equally deserving of broad dissemination.

For authors, this publishing model presents a new avenue to share their work with a global audience, magnifying their reach and potential impact. Readers, especially those from resource-constrained regions, benefit from unrestricted access to vital scholarly works. For publishers, the journey toward Open Access Books is a delicate balance between championing knowledge dissemination and ensuring financial viability. Innovative models, like Knowledge Unlatched's crowd-funding approach, show promise in navigating these complexities.

Professional Societies & Open Access: Navigating the Currents

Professional societies play a crucial role in the scientific ecosystem, not just as gatekeepers of quality but also as proponents of community-specific issues, such as advocating for research in under-explored areas and policy changes based on scientific evidence.

However, their smaller scale, as compared to commercial publishers, presents unique challenges, particularly in the context of transitioning to Open Access. Challenges include:

  • Financial Stability: Transitioning to Open Access implies moving away from a subscription-based revenue model which means devising financially sustainable Open Access models that can support their operations.
  • Brand Value and Quality: Societies are often recognized for their quality publications. There may be apprehensions that moving to an Open Access model could dilute this perception of quality.
  • Infrastructure and Expertise: Societies may lack the infrastructure for handling the Open Access publication process, from article processing charge (APC) management to copyright handling.
  • Equity and Inclusivity: APCs can exclude authors with limited funding. Therefore, Societies must consider innovative models that ensure researchers from all backgrounds can participate.

As an independent organization, HighWire allows smaller societies to maintain independence from commercial publishers, while still providing industry-leading publishing tools.

Equitable Open Access Models: The Path to Inclusive Science 

As the move toward open access accelerates, the conversation is shifting from "why" to "how." Many traditional models of Open Access present limitations in fostering inclusivity, especially among underrepresented or underfunded researchers. This gives rise to a critical question: How can we ensure equitable access not just for readers but also for authors? 

There are several exciting models emerging in response to this need. 

  • "Read-and-Publish" agreements, where institutions pay a single, combined fee covering both the cost of reading and publishing for their researchers.
  • "Subscribe to Open" model turns the traditional subscription model on its head; instead of subscribing to read, libraries subscribe to make a journal open for everyone.
  • "Fee Waivers" offer reductions or waivers of APCs for authors from low-income countries and early-career researchers.

Closing Thoughts: How HighWire can Help

As we look ahead, the momentum of Open Science and Open Access is undeniable. They promise to shape a more inclusive and accessible world of scientific research. Nonetheless, we must remain conscious of the barriers that hinder the potential of Open Science and Open Access. HighWire Press is ready to help our publishing partners by providing independent publishing solutions that address the entire publishing lifecycle, from online submission and tracking, to multi-format content hosting, to enterprise-wide single sign on capabilities, to licensing management, to usage and impact analytics. There is no one-size-fits-all answer, and HighWire’s modularized solutions can help any size organization economically adapt to the open landscape.

If you're interested in learning more about how our modularized solutions can help your organization navigate the open landscape effectively, we invite you to drop us a line at Let's advance Open Science and Open Access together!

HighWire is a proud Silver sponsor of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards 2023.

About the authors

Tony Alves, Senior Vice-President, Product Management, HighWire

Tony Alves has worked in STM publishing since 1990 focusing on digital publishing, online learning products and workflow management. Tony is involved in promoting industry standardization, system-to-system communications protocols and other industry shared services. Tony serves as co-chair of the Manuscript Exchange Common Approach NISO Standing Committee. Tony has organized and presented sessions on industry standards, such as ORCID, CRediT, Funder ID, organizational IDs, JATS and BITS, as well as on interesting editorial services, such as similarity detection, artwork preflight, reference checking and linking, artificial intelligence for manuscript quality assurance, social media, and ethics.

Satam Choudhary, Senior Product Manager, HighWire

Satam Choudhury is Senior Product Manager for Analytics Products and Subscription Management system at HighWire. With over 10 years of experience in working on ERP and analytics, he likes to help publishers identify research trends underlying vast volumes of published content. He also led the team in building THINK Web, a new subscription management, BI and payment system for publishers. He is excited and worried about forthcoming product releases, and talks about them incessantly to anyone who meets him!

Joshua Routh, Director of Hosting Products, HighWire

As the Director of Hosting Products, Joshua is responsible for ensuring our publishers' content is stored, enriched and presented effectively. He has worked closely with some of the world's most prestigious STM organisations for 15 years, including leading the team on numerous flagship products for the Cochrane Library, McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press and the British Medical Journal. He has a background in software engineering, a degree in digital design, and a passion for helping research content maximise its value.