A wholly owned not-for-profit subsidiary of the American Institute of Physics (AIP), AIP Publishing’s mission is to advance, promote, and serve the physical sciences for the benefit of humanity by empowering researchers and breaking down barriers to open, equitable research communication. Their services, tools, and platforms connect researchers with publications, peers, institutions, and societies across the globe, expanding the reach and impact of their work. AIP Publishing’s digital platform hosts a portfolio of more than one million articles and proceedings, books, and the Physics Today magazine, as well as the online publications for AIPP’s 10 publishing partners in the physical sciences.

The challenge

“In 2021 AIPP reached a fork in the road, where we needed to do a major and costly upgrade with our then platform vendor. The platform had an outdated look and feel, so it was the perfect opportunity to explore another option, which was to migrate to Silverchair. Even prior to being a Silverchair customer, we attended their Platform Strategies events, we spoke to other Silverchair customers, and we had exposure to many of the Silverchair staff. So, Silverchair itself was not something that was unfamiliar to us.” — Tracy Denien, Head of Product Development & Operations, AIP Publishing

In 2022, AIPP officially selected the Silverchair Platform as their “base of operations for what comes next.” Among the selection criteria were their plans to accelerate experimentation and change in their publishing product portfolio in the upcoming years. The flexibility of the Silverchair Platform and Silverchair’s highly responsive, collaborative service offering made us the best partner to assist them in their continuing digital transformation.

Still, migrating to the new platform was an immense process which involved analyzing, converting, and delivering 47.4 gigabytes of complex, scientific XML (which you can read about in a case study from DCL here or in our on-demand webinar). AIPP’s voluminous backfile was heavy in technical concepts and structures (equations, images, supplementary data materials), which required careful consideration but also presented a unique opportunity to modernize the content.

Additionally, AIPP required extensive, seamless integration with other technical systems and partners via APIs and data interchanges.

AIPP Case Study

The process

At the start of the migration, Silverchair worked closely with AIPP on an in-depth discovery and planning project for both sides to understand the feature and content scope and integration touchpoints.  Silverchair Universe partner DCL was brought in to analyze the full backfile content set and begin the normalization and loading process.  Over the course of a year, Silverchair’s expert team executed the project using our best-practice task sequence, and throughout the project AIPP staff was engaged for key decisions and approvals in a way that maximized use of their time.

AIPP Case Study

AIPP built their sites and products on the standard “Theme” functionality of the Silverchair Platform with distinct AIPP branding and AIPP configurations. Software customization focused on improvements to existing platform features and data exchange integrations between AIPP’s systems and the Platform. The integrations include:

  • A thesaurus feed to link taxonomy terms with content without requiring XML to be updated and reloaded when terminology changes
  • User and subscription data
  • eToC and topical alert content
  • Content publishing status notifications

Throughout the build, as AIPP stakeholders identified additional desired functionality, the teams collaborated to determine whether an existing platform option would work (such as adding messaging to meeting abstracts that did not include a PDF) or what the most effective approach would be (adding a dedicated citation search input).

AIPP Case Study

The solution

The new platform launched in April 2023 — almost a year to the day from the kickoff with the Silverchair build team. All content, products, and users moved over with no gaps or interruptions (reinforcing that well-managed migrations lead to drama-free outcomes). AIPP’s new site offers enhanced navigation, discoverability, and performance, as well as a more intuitive interface and architecture — all of which serves to bolster improved user experiences, publisher product management, and institutional administration.

“We now have new features that we didn’t have in the past, like a split-screen article view — that feature is huge for us. Getting access to the Silverchair community and workshops has really been a positive. We also appreciate the agency we now have over our platform: Silverchair provides us a robust tool allowing us to manage the front-end displays, make configurations, or add publications much easier. That allows us to respond to things much more quickly. In addition to greater control, we also have more access to our customer data. The first challenge was getting migrated and developing a professional, researcher-friendly site. Now, it’s going to be about us taking advantage of more of what Silverchair has to offer moving forward, to continue to grow the platform.” —Tracy Denien

Other exciting new features include:

  • Improved cross-platform navigation, discoverability, and video delivery
  • Greater accessibility for users with disabilities (i.e., WCAG accessibility compliance)
  • Easier workflows, which allow for adding new publications quickly with flexible configurations
  • Contextual ads on both full-text and PDF content
  • New data integrations
  • Use of Composer to author and publish Physics Today daily edition articles

“We are deeply excited about AIP Publishing’s move to this new platform because of the extraordinary value it will bring to our users across the globe. The new platform provides a richer, more intuitive experience for all users, as well as the scale, flexibility, efficiency, and discoverability we need to serve the rapidly expanding global physical sciences research communities. The pace of change in this rapidly expanding research community requires AIPP and our publishing partners to be nimble, efficient, and responsive, all while evolving a rich and accessible experience for the researchers we serve. We look forward to working with Silverchair to ensure our digital platform is a standard-bearer for years to come.”
—Ann Michael, AIP Publishing’s Chief Transformation Officer

Interested in learning more?

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