Photo by Enrapture Captivating Media on Unsplash

Since Scholastica’s inception, we’ve spoken with publishers and editors across academic disciplines to learn more about their journal operations. One of the main challenges that we’ve heard time and again is struggling to manage journals using disjointed peer review and publishing tools and systems. When journals rely on multiple tools and systems that don’t connect, it can lead to gaps in editorial communications, publishing workflows, and, ultimately, publication delays—which nobody wants! For journals to operate smoothly, aligning team members, processes, and systems is a must.

At Scholastica, we believe that publishing should be a streamlined process, and we pride ourselves on helping journals close the loop between peer review and publishing. We’re constantly working to improve our integrated peer review and publishing software so manuscripts can flow from one editorial phase to the next without bottlenecks, and journals can get new research out into the world faster.

To share how journals are using Scholastica to work more efficiently and maximize their peer review and publishing efforts, we created a collection of Customer Stories. In this blog post, we’re highlighting three stories from academic institutions and scholarly societies using Scholastica to close the loop between peer review and publishing.

Bond University uses Scholastica to manage and publish its journals in one place and go fully digital

Bond University Journal example, Culture Mandala

Over the past 30 years, Bond University has developed a thriving journals program with ten faculty-run titles. At the helm of the program is Scholarly Publications & Copyright Manager Antoinette Cass, who oversees all of Bond’s journal operations with the help of Publications Officer Doreen Taylor, who serves as administrator for seven of the journals.

As a small team, Cass and Taylor have had their work cut out for them trying to keep track of Bond’s expanding journal operations. Prior to using Scholastica, all of Bond’s journals were managing peer review in different places, and it was difficult for Cass and Taylor to know how each of the journals was faring. For Taylor, especially, facilitating peer review at multiple journals was becoming quite labor-intensive. “Prior to our fully online process, mine was a very manual job. I was sending a lot of emails to and on behalf of editors. There was a lot of paperwork for manuscript revisions and back and forth,” said Taylor.

When Bond decided to use Scholastica for peer review and publishing, they were able to bring all of their journals onto one platform where Cass and Taylor can monitor editorial operations and move journals’ accepted manuscripts straight to publication without having to transfer files and information between different systems. The new publications setup has saved Cass and Taylor time and enabled them to better support Bond’s journals. “I’ve been a fan of Scholastica from when I first had a look at it. I find it really easy to use, you don’t get lost in all of the different pages and processes like other systems,” said Taylor. “In the Scholastica system, I’m able to help journals process submissions and communicate updates to editors to keep them on track a lot more efficiently.”

Cass and Taylor are also using Scholastica’s journal performance analytics to get a bird’s-eye-view of how their journals are doing overall. They check high-level stats to assess editorial operations, including the average number of manuscripts assigned to each journal editor, journals’ average time to manuscript decision, and days to decision by the editor. “I really like all of those touch points so I can see how everyone is traveling,” said Cass. “Library Services has provided the platform and of course we have a vested interest in making sure all of the journals using it do well.”

Now that all of Bond’s journals are migrated to Scholastica, their journals program has become fully-digital, and their workflows are more streamlined. Cass said with the time she’s gained she’s been able to turn her attention to expanding the online discoverability of Bond’s journals starting with indexing. “We’ve got Google Scholar indexing, which was a must,” said Cass. “And when I saw that Scholastica integrates with DOAJ that was a big plus.” Cass said she plans to help all Bond journals get added to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) over the next year. Her aim is to continue professionalizing Bond’s publishing program and help the journals reach a wider readership.

Spartan Medical Research Journal uses Scholastica to streamlined peer review and article production

Spartan Medical Research Journal HTML article saved as XML

For Spartan Medical Research Journal (SMRJ), a publication outlet of the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, the decision to move to Scholastica was spurred by the need to both improve the journal’s editorial workflows and meet indexing requirements. “Relying on email and Word docs [for peer review] was getting pretty difficult,” explained Assistant Editor Sam Wisniewski. “So we started talking about ways to streamline that process. At the same time, we were getting our application ready to submit to PubMed for indexing, and that’s when we realized we needed XML. So it was really good timing when we found Scholastica and realized it could help us with both of those things.”

Moving to Scholastica has enabled SMRJ to produce the JATS XML article files they need for indexing without having to coordinate article production with an outside typesetter, saving both time and costs. Scholastica’s typesetting service and OA publishing platform are integrated, so SMRJ is able to submit typesetting requests and access all of their finished articles right in the platform. “We hope to soon be approved for PubMed,” said Corser. “The XML formatting is pretty much required for that and that’s one thing that we weren’t going to be able to do ourselves.”

Corser said that the automatic Google Scholar indexing that Scholastica provides has also been a benefit to authors. “We have heard from authors that they are delighted Google Scholar is indexing their articles and that anyone in the world can access them,” he said. “We’re hoping that publishing on Scholastica will help us expose the journal to even more authors and readers as an OA publishing option.”

Survey Practice uses Scholastica to publish rolling articles and issues

Survey Practice articles page

As the official journal of the American Association for Public Opinion Research, Survey Practice must maintain a swift time to publication to make the latest survey research findings available to scholars and practitioners in the field. When the journal’s editors realized that they were starting to develop a backlog of articles waiting to be published, they knew they needed to make a change.

In order to publish new research sooner, Editor-in-Chief Ashley Amaya decided to transition Survey Practice to a rolling publishing model, wherein articles are published as they’re ready and compiled into issues later. Prior to finding Scholastica, Amaya said software limitations were the main barrier to reaching her goal. “We were having a really hard time finding a submissions management system and a publishing system all in one that would actually allow us to not publish in issue format. It’s one of the big reasons that we went with Scholastica,” she said. When Amaya found Scholastica, she was able to get the functionality Survey Practice needed to publish articles on a rolling basis, including the ability to apply rich article-level metadata to all articles so rolling articles can be properly indexed and cited before being combined into issues at the end of each year.

At Scholastica, we’re proud to be helping journals across academic disciplines close the loop between peer review and publishing by enabling journals to manage all of their publication workflows and editorial communications in one place. Our mission is to empower journal publishers to make quality research available more quickly and accessibly. We’re continuing to work with our customers and develop our peer review and publishing software and services to help journals do more with less manual work and fewer technical hassles. You can see more stories from publishing organizations and individual journals using our platform on our new Customer Stories page.