A year ago I wrote about an important milestone Scholastica would reach in 2022 — turning 10 years old! In that post, I envisioned what Scholastica would look like in 2032 after 10 more years of working on our mission:

I want to see Scholastica helping journals publish content that looks and interacts with digital scholarship at the caliber of the billion-dollar corporations but at a fraction-of-a-fraction of the cost.

So how did 2022 help with this 10-year plan? “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” as the saying goes, and here are the steps Scholastica took in 2022.

Product improvements in 2022

We made a series of updates to our products that allow publishers of all sizes to level up their journal publishing programs by collecting and publishing enhanced metadata, utilizing industry-standard tools, and leveraging enhanced analytics across the platform.

  • Easy submission form customization to support rich metadata collection: In 2022 we upgraded the infrastructure behind our Peer Review platform so journals can better customize their submission form to standardize and collect the metadata they need. This makes it easier for publishers to achieve their discovery and archiving goals and follow best practices,such as collecting unique institutional and funder identifiers, requiring copyright transfer agreements, and requiring ethics disclosures. It’s easy to customize the submission form — journals just email our support team with what should be included in the form, and the Scholastica team updates it for them at no additional cost.
  • Enhanced digital-first production: Scholastica’s Production Service produces the final PDF and XML for over 100 journals, and we made improvements in 2022 to increase style consistency across PDFs and offer enhanced support for XML exports to PubMed Central (PMC), Silverchair, Crossref, DOAJ, and Portico. We also reduced our production turnaround time so article proofs are ready from our US-based team in fewer days.
  • Similarity Check v2 integration: It’s no secret that Scholastica loves Crossref’s mission, and in 2022 we took steps to support additional Crossref services. We rolled out a Similarity Check v2 integration to help Crossref members using Scholastica to spot possible instances of plagiarism. Users can see the “Similarity Score” right in Scholastica after a manuscript is submitted and click a link to access the full similarity report from Turnitin.
  • Enhanced readership insight: For the 190+ Open Access journals that use Scholastica’s OA Publishing Platform for journal article hosting, 2022 brought them more fine-grained details of which social media platforms are driving scholars to their journals. We also added an integration that allows journals with a paid Almetric account to add the Altmetric Badge to their Scholastica-hosted website.

Community in 2022

We love being part of the scholarly publishing ecosystem and offering one of many diverse ways to publish academic journals. We collaborated with many organizations across 2022, including:

Looking forward

I wrote a year ago that I think that we can empower journal publishers of all sizes to publish “at the caliber of the billion-dollar corporations but at a fraction-of-a-fraction of the cost” through powerful and affordable software. But how much of that is due to my bias as someone who likes to write code and co-founded a technology company? At Scholastica, we definitely love to build software, and we tend to think about solutions in terms of software — but I know that software isn’t a panacea to all journal publishing challenges. As I wrote in 2018:

I think we can safely say that tools are no longer a major challenge - it’s money and people.

Publishing at a very high professional level has traditionally taken lots of people’s time and/or lots of money, which is why, for us at Scholastica, it’s not just about building software. It’s about building software in the sweet spot between affordability, ease of use, and powerful outcomes. I think we can democratize academic journal publishing by making it easier, by chipping away at the very technical or time-consuming parts so publishers of any size can successfully operate a high-quality publishing program.

So how do we do that? What are the next steps on Scholastica’s journey? Some thoughts I have for 2023 (and beyond):

  • Metadata enrichment: There are still low-hanging fruit on our metadata development roadmap, including ROR, CRediT, and ORCID verification, all of which will make it easier for publishers to collect important metadata that can automatically travel into relevant indexes. Making sure rich metadata is not only collected, but present everywhere the article’s front matter is used (e.g., HTML, Crossref, Google Scholar, Web of Science, PubMed Central, etc.), is incredibly important for discoverability.
  • Mobility and interoperability: We want Scholastica to continue to grow as a modular software and service provider that publishers can choose to plug into their existing workflows when and how they want, whether that is with a single product (e.g., peer review) or all three (peer review, production, and OA hosting). To do that, we’re going to enhance how metadata, full-text content, and files are transferred to/from external systems, whether that be exporting from Scholastica Peer Review into a publisher’s production system or importing content from a publisher’s system into Scholastica’s production platform.
  • Speed is a feature: As Scholastica offers more functionality, we want to ensure both the software and the workflow stay snappy. It’s easy for web applications to slow down over time because doing more is often prioritized over doing the same thing faster. For most journal publishing programs, time is one of their scarcest resources, and small delays can add up to major productivity losses across the year and across journals. This isn’t just about page load or responsiveness; rethinking how to reduce clicks or bubble-up important information before journal editors need to go searching for it is a UX-centered way to make the publishing process faster and less stressful.
  • Powerful integrations: Academic journal publishers weld together an extremely diverse web of software and workflows, and we want to make it easy for publishers to use the tools they want through Scholastica. We’ve had very positive responses about our existing integrations with Similarity Check, RightsLink, PubMed Central, Portico, Altmetric, Crossref, and DOAJ – so keep your eyes peeled for more integrations moving forward.

Each of these areas build on Scholastica’s core mission, which I described in last year’s post as:

We want to help democratize the academic journal publishing space, which will in turn help reduce costs, increase access to knowledge, and support sustainability for small and medium publishers.

Cheers to 2023, and cheers to the next 10 years of Scholastica!

OA Publishing Guide