Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash
Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

As we enter a new year and a new decade in scholarly publishing, I wanted to take the time to reflect on Scholastica’s journey up to this point and our amazing community of users. I also wanted to share a preview of the steps we’ll be taking in 2020 to continue providing our user community with the very best peer review, production, and open access publishing experiences possible.

You may have noticed that the way the Scholastica platform works started to feel different in 2019, especially for journals and publishers who have been customers since the 2013 beta of our peer review software.

That’s because there was a big change for the Scholastica platform in 2019: we now support journals across the entire publishing process from peer review to article production/typesetting to journal website hosting and metadata management. And we’ve made our platform modular to give you more options.

Now, Scholastica’s peer review, production, and OA publishing software and services can be used individually or together based on your unique publishing needs. We’re designing easy-to-integrate tools and services to help journals be at the forefront of the future of academic publishing, as the industry moves towards open access and new digital publishing standards and expectations from funders, universities, indexes, and readers.

What has not changed is Scholastica’s core mission: to empower journal publishers to make quality research available more efficiently and affordably. We’re developing technology to make it possible to run high-quality journals at a fraction of the cost of traditional publishers, so you can meet the latest industry standards without it taking up tons of time or breaking the bank.

I should clarify that Scholastica is not a journal publisher, and we don’t want to be a journal publisher — we’re building tools to help journal publishers work smarter. We’re on a mission to facilitate a more sustainable and accessible research future — and we’re going to keep building out new tools in 2020 (and beyond!) to help you meet the highest journal standards while saving time and costs.

A look back at 2019

First: it’s been VERY exciting to see how active you all have been in 2019. Here’s a look at all that you accomplished:

On our end, here are some highlights of the functionality we added for our journal publishers:

Integrations with industry leaders: Scholastica released integrations with leading indexes and discovery services, including the ability to have articles automatically indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), as well as the ability to automatically register DOIs for articles via Crossref.

Easy, clean JATS XML: Many customers work with indexes who require XML, specifically JATS XML, but we know generating front matter or full-text XML article files can be a technical burden and/or expensive for many publishers. So in 2019, we made it easy for journals to get the JATS compliant XML files they need to submit content to top indexes and databases like PubMed Central.

Enhanced reviewer feedback form: We upgraded the reviewer feedback form in our peer review software, as well as how reviews are viewed by editors and authors, to better support rich feedback (e.g., LaTeX equations, image linking, etc.).

Support for Open Access initiatives (Plan S): We announced our Plan S Roadmap in 2019, and we’re committed to building out software that supports low-cost OA publishing — something that research funders like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are calling for. This includes lots of under-the-hood improvements to metadata, including machine-readable copyright license and funder information.

Machine learning: We started using machine learning in our software-based production service to make the quality of article formatting more consistent and appealing, and to ensure the XML we produce is in-line with top industry standards. We also built out infrastructure that sets the stage for us to better use new machine learning tools across our products moving forward. Utilizing machine learning will help us maintain our low cost of article production while helping journals meet the latest technical requirements emerging within academic publishing.

Looking ahead to 2020

As we enter 2020, our goal is to continue to make improvements across all of our products to better support our users. As a preview, here are some of the improvements we’re planning:

Peer review: We’re working towards expanding journal submission customization options (including collecting more metadata at submission), better supporting manuscript metadata exports across the article production workflow, and upgrading our peer review product user experience so that journals can increase the volume and quality of their peer review process.

Article production/typesetting: Much of the work here is under-the-hood, making improvements to how we enrich citation metadata, as well as performance improvements, so everything works faster and smoother. We’re also continually working to improve the quality of the PDF, HTML, and full-text XML articles we typeset to ensure your articles meet the latest industry standards with no work on your part.

Website hosting: I expect to see more integrations for sending/receiving metadata with other industry services and indexes, as well as speed improvements to enhance the reader experience for the journal website product.

We have a feature prioritization process at Scholastica that relies on customer requests — so if there’s anything you want to see, please email

Here’s to a great 2020!

Brian Cody
This post was written by Brian Cody, Scholastica Co-Founder and CEO
OA Publishing Guide