How Collaboration Makes for Innovation


In the accelerating transition to Open Access, The Microbiology Society has concentrated great attention on making strides to streamline author workflow from submission and review to publication.

This effort has led us to forge various transformative agreements with our institutional partners as well as to break down internal silos – with production, editorial, and sales working together more closely than ever.

Such innovation through collaboration continues to push not only us but all scholarly publishers forward on the Open Access journey.

That was my message to the OA publishing community when I was a guest recently on CCC’s OA Innovations Seminar webcast series.

This was an important opportunity for me to share best practices for Open Access publishing. In the UK and across Europe especially, as well as in North America, publishers and their partners can and should learn from each other about sustainable approaches, program innovations, and tried-and-true “best practices.”

Through community initiatives such as the OA Switchboard and the Society Publishers Coalition, The Microbiology Society is working to develop solutions for the entire scholarly publishing community. As a partner with CCC, we leverage the robust capabilities of RightsLink for Scientific Communications to allow for a frictionless Open Access publishing program.

Perhaps the most dauting challenge our authors face today is accessing the funds available from their institutions to offset OA-related publication fees.

Not long ago, a prominent Microbiology Society member told me that submitting papers for publication had become one of the worst parts of a researcher’s job.

Of course, this was disconcerting to hear. As a smaller publisher, it is imperative for us to meet the needs and expectations of the individuals and organizations we work with.

Our authors understandably want to focus on their research rather than lost time caught up in institutional paperwork.

Taking this feedback to heart, we have sought to remove as much of the administrative burden from authors as possible, helping them to avoid what I call the “hornets’ nest of APCs in the wild.”

The “touch-free” workflow at the center of CCC’s RightsLink for Scientific Communications platform is a good example of well-designed technology that lets authors focus on their research, not APC management. The Microbiology Society encourages institutions we work with to enable RightsLink’s auto-approval functionalities; then, RightsLink seamlessly removes authors from the funding workflow.

Change does not happen without some pain, and the shift to Open Access is no different.

CCC “gets” OA and “gets” publishing. Other guests in the Innovation seminar series will explore critical success factors and provide practical case studies for improving the author experience; creating data-driven workflows; and optimizing stakeholder communications and collaboration.

Our job as publishers is to make the publication process easy and efficient. That job has not changed since The Microbiology Society was founded in 1945 — even if our publishing business model has changed beyond recognition.

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Author: Gaynor Redvers-Mutton

Gaynor Redvers-Mutton is the Head of Business Development & Sales at the Microbiology Society.
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