So one thing that kills a good startup is building the wrong thing. It’s happened time and time again. Some people believe that, “Hey! I’ve got this great idea for a web site/web software product! It’ll be the best thing since Facebook! Let me run down to my basement and get to work!”
The problem with this method is, once the thing is built, people look at it and go, “Yeah…I really have no use or this.”
This is a problem we’re trying to avoid here at Scholastica - and I’d like to give you a little glimpse of how we’re doing this.
If you’ve been to our homepage, you’ve seen a little survey that pops up from the lower left hand side of the screen. We’ve created this quick, 3 question survey with a tool called KissInsights, and it has proved indispensable for communicating with journal editors, professors, graduate students, and researchers.
Part of the development of Scholastica involves us meeting with academics around Chicago in the flesh, talking to them about our software, showing them how it works, and receiving feedback about what problems Scholastica solves or doesn’t solve. After that, we use their feedback to implement features in the application that solve their true problems.
The online survey solves the problem of distance. There are millions of academics out there with great insights into the needs of academic publishing and the peer review process, and they’re spread out all over. The survey just sits on our site (and much less obtrusively than say, SurveyMonkey or a similar service) and presents whoever accesses the site with an opportunity to give their two cents. And boy, do they give their two cents!
I’m actually surprised at the number of responses we’ve gotten through the survey form. I’m also pleasantly surprised at the selflessness that the academic community has showed to giving us their thoughts. Links to Scholastica have been shared across the far corners of the internet and academics coming to the site have been very helpful in providing their contact information so that we can talk to them at length about the problems they encounter within the world of academic publishing and peer review. Keep in mind that we aren’t selling anything - we’re just asking questions.
As you can see, we’re not kidding around. We’re passionate about the idea that there are things wrong with the peer review process in academic publishing and want to fix it. People have confirmed that the status quo is way less than ideal.
You can help us by: