As part of Silverchair's ongoing dedication to partnership, we convene specialized Publisher Working Groups for 4-6 month periods, centered on topics surfaced at our annual Silverchair Forum client events, shared areas of interest between multiple publishers, focus areas of recently released or developing platform projects, 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.

Below are the details of our 2021 Publisher Working Groups. For information on last year's working groups and their takeaways, please visit our blog.

User Experience (UX)

Publishers often have a lot of data resulting from what users do on their sites (i.e., COUNTER reports), but analyzing user experiences or journeys can yield even more valuable information. User experience data can help publishers and platforms create user-centered products that increase time on site (stickiness), reinforce brands and promote loyalty, and lead to more usage or conversions (i.e., newsletter sign-ups, PPV or permission sales, subscriptions). With additional data, you can know whether something that might be considered an aesthetic decision could end up delighting your users (and leading to higher conversions) or could frustrate them (leading to less time on site and higher bounce rates).

The 2021 UX Publisher Working Group will focus on how a publishing platform can study user flows and make inferences based on user personas in order to make front-end tweaks to better support desired business outcomes. The group will also serve as a sounding board for some front-end platform projects concerning split-screen view versus standard view, alert sign up and user account management, site responsiveness, and mobile behavior.

Topics for discussion that have surfaced from internal and external conversations will serve as conversation starters. Some examples are as follows:

  • Default behavior for viewing large tables
  • A/B testing needs
  • Mobile behavior (I.e. split-screen view, advertisements)
  • Search page design
  • Heatmapping around key user touchpoints
  • Split-screen view leaderboard ad behavior
  • Split-screen view header behavior

Gray Literature

While the 'bread and butter' of publishing organizations may be their research content, there is much to be said for the value and volume of other content produced by these organizations. From whitepapers and sponsored content to news, blogs, and informational content, these assets can help communicate mission and brand, afford new revenue and lead generation opportunities, build reader loyalty, and improve lines of communication with the publishing organization's end users. This 'gray literature' is growing in importance to publishers as they seek to underline their value proposition to users in this era of constrained budgets and increasing number of platforms on which to spend those budgets. As publishers have pursued these new content types, many were pursued on alternate platforms to the main publishing platform, but more and more publishing organizations are pursuing an omni-platform approach in order to take advantage of consolidated search, content curation capabilities, and user and analytics data.

The 2021 Silverchair Publisher Working Group on Gray Literature will focus on the shapes that this non-research content takes, the variety of needs that it brings to the table, the opportunities surrounding it, and the ways that the Silverchair Platform can better support publisher needs in this arena. Discussion topics will include (but will not be limited to) future developments for Silverchair Composer, the platform's new semi-structured content authoring product.


Data points drawn from your content and from your platform are keys to telling a story about your users and asserting a publishing organization's value proposition. Publishing platforms serve as hubs for member and subscriber information, content metadata, and platform usage data. As a hub, the platform also has the opportunity to collect outside data in order to tell the full story behind the data and to fill any gaps for key actions happening off-platform.

The Silverchair Analytics 2021 Publisher Working Group will help to inform future enhancements to the Silverchair Analytics offering, create a helpful forum for sharing ideas on how to use platform data to answer business questions, and surface other data flows for consideration. Silverchair will also utilize this group as a focus group for possible cross-publisher activities. Given the vast range of business needs tied to analytics, this group will have thematic meetings focusing on shared analytics needs. Initial ideas for these thematic meetings include: OA analytics needs to support emerging business models, Institutional usage metrics needs outside of COUNTER, metrics needs for mission-driven organizations, tailoring reports for external editorial board audiences, polishing your data narrative, and utilizing analytics for optimizing operational workflows.


We look forward to engaging with our clients on these important and exciting topics, and to sharing insights from our discussions in future events and blog posts. 

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