Recently, the SSP hosted a webinar on how AI can improve efficiencies and optimise workflows in scholarly publishing. Avi Staiman (Academic Language Experts) hosted the event and was joined by key players in the industry, including Sarah Taylor (Springer Nature), Julia Kostova (Frontiers), Hong Zhou (Wiley Partner Solutions), and Dustin Smith (Hum).
As you might imagine, there’s a lot of excitement for AI, but there’s also a great deal of fear, especially around concerns that the traditional human elements of the publishing process (e.g. peer-review) could become obsolete. The good news is that each presenter made it very clear that AI was being used to supplement activities conducted/managed by humans, rather than to replace them. However, with AI taking on more tasks in an effort to improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and enable scalability, it seems wholly possible that it will creep into more and more activities in the future.
What made this webinar particularly useful was the fact that it gave greater insight into exactly how these tools are being used. Understanding their practical capabilities and the benefits they provide certainly explains why publishers are investing so heavily in this area.
Below is a breakdown of the three AI case studies presented:
Artificial Intelligence Review Assistant (AIRA) – Frontiers
Julia provided an in-depth presentation on AIRA, a tool fed by vast amounts of data to support the peer-review process through quality checks and expert recommendations. Submissions automatically proceed through AIRA where they undergo over 20 checks that include plagiarism, data availability, formatting, papermill characteristics, and image manipulation. The results are presented in a report for the handling Editor to evaluate. On deciding that the paper is suitable for review, the handling Editor is then provided additional AI support through the reviewer quality checks. The AIRA tool provides feedback on potential conflicts of interest between authors/reviewers, the quality of the reviews themselves, and how the revised manuscript compares to the original submission/reviewer recommendations. The final report flags items for the Editor to review and make an assessment.
Intelligent Content Classification Services – Wiley Partner Solutions
Hong provided a breakdown of how Wiley have introduced AI to improve their content classification services. Their aim was to solve a number of challenges involving taxonomy, classification (including tagging) and workflows. The previous system of classifying content was time- consuming, labour intensive, and often required the involvement of multiple vendors. By introducing AI into this workflow, the tagging of content into disciplines has become more reliable, efficient, and adaptable, and helps support a greater level of discoverability.
Alchemist – Hum
Dustin presented on Alchemist, a tool designed to support the creation, engagement, and discovery of special issues. Using data insights/AI, the tool (which can be added as a feature on the Silverchair platform), is designed to provide recommendations on topics for new special issues. By analysing first-party data, download trends, and other article/user metrics, publishers can use the tool to identify subject areas that have widespread interest. The product also supports engagement by offering a selection of campaign prompts.
From listening to the three case studies, it’s easy to see the benefits of integrating AI into publishing workflows and processes. The presenters were careful to note, however, that we shouldn’t rush into using AI for all tasks, but rather, gradually integrate tools to support specific organisational needs.
For now, there is still a role for human involvement alongside AI tasks, but for how long will this be the case? Using the example of peer-review, with so much pressure on publishers to reduce publication times, substituting more of the human tasks in favour of AI could be on the horizon. The webinar can be viewed on SSP’s OnDemand Video Content Library.
Maverick offers a wide range of services to help publishers improve workflow efficiencies. Contact your Maverick Representative or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
By Edward Newman, Maverick Senior Associate
Edward is a publishing professional with over 10 years’ experience in journals publishing. With a particular focus on open access (OA), he has provided strategic advice, planning, financial forecasting/pricing, and project management for numerous partner clients looking to adapt to the rapidly changing journals market. With the use of data analytics, Edward provides expert guidance on how best to commission new content, engage with a broad geographic market, and take journals to the top of their disciplines.