Last year, as part of our commitment to partnership, Silverchair assembled specialized Publisher Working Groups.

The working groups are time-bound and focus on topics surfaced at Silverchair Forum events, shared areas of interest between multiple publishers, and/or industry initiatives and market trends. These working groups serve as a venue for publisher-to-publisher collaboration on shared challenges, an opportunity to explore publisher and platform co-development projects, and a direct line of feedback to the Silverchair Product team's platform development plan. The working groups met over the course of six months to discuss the problem space, market insights and research, possible features, content or platform use-cases, and high-level requirements on the following topics:

Over a series of blog posts, we're sharing summaries from each group's activities, before announcing our 2021 working group topics.

Future First-Class Publication Objects

Scholarly research today looks vastly different than it did one hundred years ago, yet the certified or version-of-record distillations are largely unchanged and remain artifacts of print-based processes. What we publish, or host on platform, seldom takes advantage of digital mediums, modern authoring and research practices, or technology than can enrich published outputs or the user’s experience of discovering or using that output. There’s a growing desire to change this, as publishers search for new ways to engage readers, authors seek to share more research artifacts, and funders mandate underlying research data and methods or protocols are disseminated. Breaking the boundaries of traditional article, book, and proceeding packaging may require new platform functionality or partnerships in support of open science and reproducibility best practices and to help increase content discoverability and usage.

Discussions included:

  • Current and future research artifacts or outputs from scholars; identifying the types of publication objects currently treated as secondary or supporting items that should transition to first-class research objects
  • The display and downstream delivery needs of these publication objects;
  • Ways Silverchair can proactively anticipate these growing needs

Publisher activities & goals:

  • Word clouds and other visualizations of the written word to better portray messages and takeaways
  • Taking supplemental material out of PDF packages so as to make it more discoverable
  • Establishing editorial policies about those supplementary materials
  • The need to support requests related to funder requirements
  • Possible future first-class objects:
    • software, data, data visualizations
    • VR/AR, 3-D models
    • podcasts
    • meeting artifacts
    • comments/annotations
    • relationships (Aka related articles, article versioning, bibliographies)
    • maps

Takeaways:

  • Currently there are issues with workflows–production + submission of these new publication objects. These objects need to be peer reviewed, so there are issues with those systems
  • There’s a need to answer questions about value-add, rights, and cost/availability of in-house capabilities (editorial and otherwise)
  • We need to determine critical mass before investing in a platform solution; utilizing a third party for certain activities or needs before that critical mass is determined, or even into the future if that third party vendor is a best in class solution.
  • Platform-level solutions mean more of a one-size-fits-all approach, whereas relying on third parties allow for a more customized approach
  • When looking at these questions, lead with problems versus chasing solutions.
  • Need publisher consensus on what is deserving of first-class status by analyzing the tipping point between something that is supplementary and something that could be primary, acknowledging that this can be different between different publishers.
Next up: Curation & Commerce

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