Author Experience – Copyright Clearance Center http://www.copyright.com Rights Licensing Expert Fri, 17 Nov 2017 17:09:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://www.copyright.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/cropped-ccc-favicon-32x32.png Author Experience – Copyright Clearance Center http://www.copyright.com 32 32 To Buy or Not to Buy: Proprietary vs. Packaged APC Solutions http://www.copyright.com/blog/buy-not-buy-proprietary-vs-packaged-apc-solutions/ http://www.copyright.com/blog/buy-not-buy-proprietary-vs-packaged-apc-solutions/#respond Thu, 10 Aug 2017 08:00:53 +0000 http://www.copyright.com/?post_type=blog_post&p=13928 Can publishers deliver APC infrastructure demanded by stakeholders in the OA ecosystem? Or should they find a partner?

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“Tools and standards are changing faster than companies can react,” warns McKinsey & Company in “Digitizing the Consumer Decision Journey.” In the field of Open Access publishing, this challenge is writ large. Between new business models from publishers, a growing network of relationships with institutions and funders, and requisite author expertise on article processing charge (APC) policies and practices, the landscape is complex and evolving rapidly.

It’s clear that publishers must examine their author programs with a focus on creating an integrated workflow between the editorial process and the payment of APCs. Publishers who undertake this introspection are faced with a critical question – the answer to which can mean the difference between prosperity or failure in the market: Can they deliver the infrastructure and service demanded by stakeholders in the OA ecosystem on their own with their existing systems? Or should they find a partner?

Publishers who undertake this introspection are faced with a critical question – the answer to which can mean the difference between prosperity or failure in the market: Can they deliver the infrastructure and service demanded by stakeholders in the OA ecosystem on their own with their existing systems? Or should they find a partner?

The “build versus buy dilemma,” of which this is but one example, is a perennial topic of debate in the field of software development. Conventional wisdom suggests that building your own solution may be the right decision in areas of key competitive advantage, or where there is no suitable commercial product to deliver your core business requirements. By contrast, buying is often a more cost-effective way to automate and standardize core business processes, and allows the organization to manage risk by transferring the burden of software development and maintenance onto a third party.

So, which of these scenarios applies in the case of the management of author fees? The answer depends on the needs of each organization, but when faced with a rapidly changing environment like Open Access publishing, McKinsey suggests many organizations need to adopt a different approach to managing the consumer decision journey — one that embraces the speed that digitization brings and focuses on capabilities in three areas: Discover, Design and Deliver.

Metadata and the Discover Phase

In the context of Open Access, the Discover phase entails drawing upon information to develop a full customer portrait such as:

  • the author
    • their country of origin
    • their institution
    • their funding sources
    • their membership status
  • the manuscript
  • the publication

Publishers are under growing pressure to capture and share industry standard metadata such as ORCiDs, ISNIs, DOIs, FundRef IDs and Ringgold IDs. Investment in interoperability of existing systems that contain data about authors and their institutions is critical. What’s more, publishers must find ways to allow external systems to draw on this information. Unfortunately, all too often, the information in question resides in disparate disconnected legacy systems which rely on proprietary identifiers rather than external data standards. Such systems are also ill-equipped to handle the high-volume, real-time transactions characteristic of OA. In order to develop a robust author-centric solution, publishers typically have to dedicate significant resources to both unifying legacy systems and building a new transaction system that can evolve with the marketplace and be ready for numerous emerging standards. A fully unified set of internal systems might be the ultimate goal, but it is likely to come at a high price in terms of development costs and management time. For this reason, an outsourced solution can often make more sense in a resource-constrained environment or where there is a need to deliver a solution within a shorter timeframe.

Publication and the Design Phase

The design phase is about creating a frictionless experience that uses the data gathered in the discovery phase to ensure interactions are expressly tailored to an author’s stage in his or her publication journey. Publishers have rightly identified that maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction among authors is critical in an Open Access model. In this new paradigm, authors cannot be kept at arm’s length from billing and payment processes, which now form an integral part of the author experience. This requires publishers to dramatically shift how their organizations operate — from a business-to-business (B2B) model centered on selling subscriptions to a business-to-consumer (B2C) model centered on managing an exponentially greater number of micro transactions for APCs. Furthermore, authors’ expectations of online payment solutions are very high, thanks to regular consumer interactions with digital titans like Amazon, Google and Apple – services which set the benchmark for a seamless user experience. Authors expect intuitive user interfaces (UIs) and robust workflows when they submit manuscripts and pay author charges. Manual or slow payment solutions that seem clunky and antiquated negatively impact an author’s perception of a publisher. Sophisticated algorithms are generally required to meet these expectations.

Collaboration and the Deliver Phase

Finally, the Deliver phase requires the creation of a more agile organization with the right people, tools, and processes. McKinsey highlights the need for cross-functional teams with “strong collaborative and communication skills and a relentless commitment to iterative testing, learning, and scaling — at a pace that many companies may find challenging.” For publishers, this means developing closer links among editorial, production, finance and operations teams who may hitherto have had little contact. To make it easy to support these cross-functional teams, a robust APC solution must offer simple management of complex pricing, discounting and compliance reporting. It should also be robust enough to test and implement promotional codes and discounts based on factors such as location of the author, institutional affiliation, subscription status of the institution, and membership status of the author, allowing publishers to iterate quickly in response to market demand. Flexibility is the key in this phase of activity, and any solution needs to accommodate this or risk undermining the organization’s capacity to evolve and develop.

Reaching A Decision

Careful consideration of these three factors can help publishers tease out some of the complexities in the build-versus-buy decision, which often comes down to an evaluation of the likely return on investment from each of the two options.  When developing a solid understanding of the potential long- and short-term costs and benefits in each case by testing the market for outsourced solutions and being realistic about the resource-draw of in-house development and ongoing maintenance (which are frequently under-estimated), don’t overlook the value of time-to-market, and agility once you get there. The ability to quickly shift technology strategies as the environment changes is often the difference between prosperity and obsolescence.

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Seven Steps to Help Your Authors Through the APC Maze http://www.copyright.com/blog/seven-steps-to-help-your-authors-through-the-apc-maze/ http://www.copyright.com/blog/seven-steps-to-help-your-authors-through-the-apc-maze/#respond Thu, 03 Aug 2017 18:55:05 +0000 http://www.copyright.com/?post_type=blog_post&p=13884 As Open Access has evolved, article processing charges (APCs) have become increasingly complex for authors to understand and manage.

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As Open Access has evolved, article processing charges (APCs) have become increasingly complex for authors to understand and manage. OA policies are now multi-dimensional, as funders, publishers and institutions have different requirements that don’t always align, and the range of licensing and copyright options can be bewildering.

The challenges start with choosing an outlet for publication, as open access authors juggle complying with funder and institutional guidelines and publishing in the journal best suited for their work or career aspirations. There’s also the issue of archiving the appropriate version of the paper in a repository. Researchers need to submit the necessary underlying information behind the article, and increasingly, the supporting research data. By the time it comes to payment, it’s often hard for authors to know whether fees can be offset against existing subscription charges, or even more simply, who pays – the author, funder or institution? And once submitted, who is responsible for tracking the processing and payment? The list of hurdles goes on and on…

What can institutions, intermediaries and publishers do to help them successfully and swiftly navigate the APC maze?

What’s more, the complexity is likely here to stay. Gold Open Access journals are doubling in article volume every four years, currently in excess of 14% of the total journal output, according to the Mellon Foundation-funded Pay It Forward report and the European Commission’s research into the proportion of peer reviewed OA articles. With no two academic disciplines adopting the same approach, authors are left to navigate a myriad of options and approaches.

In the spring of 2017, Copyright Clearance Center (CCC) held a roundtable discussion about the implications of Open Access on publishing workflows. Participants were drawn from across scholarly communication stakeholder groups, and there were some striking insights gained from the author perspective:

  • Authors lack time to read about or fully understand the multiple options open to them.
  • Discounts for authors that are society or association members add a new layer of complexity to the publishing workflow.
  • Authors receive varying levels of support from their institutions in managing the publication process and payment of APCs, reflecting different levels of staffing and resources at the university level.
  • The proliferation of different guidelines and use of too many technical terms create confusion.

Set this against a backdrop of research, teaching and institutional administration, and it’s no wonder that researchers struggle to keep track. What they need is a seamless experience, with a logical workflow process that allows them to get on doing what they should be doing: researching and disseminating results.

What can institutions, intermediaries and publishers do to help them successfully and swiftly navigate the APC maze?

These seven steps help to set a clear path:

  1. Communicate. Use clear, straightforward messaging. Make it easy to understand with clarity, succinctness and additional resources such as case studies and FAQs.
  2. Provide definitions. Guide authors through the different options in a clear and comprehensible way. Remove confusion among the roles of funders, institutions and publishers so they know who is responsible for what and when.
  3. Adopt a rules-driven workflow. Make it easy for authors to check funding and compliance requirements, or, better yet, adopt a rules-driven approach that minimizes the choices authors need to make during the payment workflow. Automate workflows wherever possible to create a frictionless experience.
  4. Track the progress. Make it easy to understand where a paper is in the submission and APC payment workflow. Help with reporting for authors. Clearly explain what they will (and won’t) be responsible for.
  5. Have a clear, user-driven interface. Use a simple design with an intuitive structure, removing any unnecessary features that might confuse.
  6. Integrate open tools. Connect with data hosts such as figshare, Dryad and Dataverse. Get the tech to do the heavy lifting using standards and metadata, such as ORCiD and Ringgold, to connect the dots.
  7. Automate article deposit (where appropriate). Make it easy and frictionless to facilitate automatic article – and data – deposit into repositories. Make sure all underlying metadata complies with funder and institutional policies to aid transparency, maximize discoverability and improve potential impact.

Based on stakeholder input, CCC is currently developing a range of new tools within RightsLink© for Open Access that aim to solve these issues. As global trends emerge, the conversation continues. The CCC team welcomes authors, librarians, funders and publishers to take part in the discussion by contacting Jennifer Goodrich, Director of Product Development (jgoodrich@copyright.com).

Related sources:

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Seeing the Author as the Customer http://www.copyright.com/blog/seeing-author-customer/ http://www.copyright.com/blog/seeing-author-customer/#respond Thu, 18 May 2017 13:30:36 +0000 http://www.dev1.copyright.com/?post_type=blog_post&p=10864 Author satisfaction is central to the success of OA. Should publishers build or buy the systems to provide an optimal experience?

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Build or buy?

Open Access (OA) publishing has brought with it so many new elements – new business models, new expertise related to Article Processing Charges (APCs), new relationships, and new support systems – that publishers are rethinking how they go about creating an integrated streamlined workflow. This dilemma is essentially whether they can deliver what is required by using existing systems (build) or by working with an outsourcing partner (buy).

As shoppers, we expect an Amazon-style experience in our online transactions; authors are no different.

Both pathways have benefits – building offers competitive advantages; buying helps minimize risk and is sometimes more cost-effective. But what does this choice entail in the context of managing author fees? According to an article by McKinsey & Company, the answer lies in a brand new approach to managing the customer-decision journey. This approach focuses on capabilities in three stages: Discover, Design, and Deliver.

Discover: At this stage, publishers gather as much information as possible to understand the customer profile fully. Besides finding out about the author, the manuscript, and publication, publishers are also under pressure to collect and share industry-standard metadata. Therefore, existing systems holding such data must work alongside external systems that can draw on this data. Legacy systems, however, are not generally known for their interoperability. Nor are they generally able to cope with the author transactions now being processed in high volumes and in real time. The most author-centric solution might be a unified set of internal systems (both legacy and new); yet such a set would cost both time and money. As a result, a more practical solution could present itself through outsourcing.

Design: Many publishers recognize customer satisfaction is central to the success of OA. This stage is all about creating a streamlined experience for the author that draws on the data already gathered. Authors are no longer removed from billing and payment processes. As shoppers, we expect an Amazon-style experience in our online transactions; authors are no different. Systems should be intuitive, innovative and driven by sophisticated algorithms. Get it wrong, and an author’s esteem for the publisher might wither.

Deliver: Agility and flexibility are key in this stage. For publishers, this means more collaborative, cohesive relationships among editorial, production, finance and operations teams. Processes such as pricing, discounting and compliance reporting should be fully supported and allow publishers to respond to demand.

The decision to buy or build will differ for each organization, but will often be clarified by potential ROI. Publishers should not only carefully evaluate the investment required to develop in-house systems, but also carefully consider the cost and performance of any external partners.

To buy or to build? That is the question. What’s best for your company?

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