Annual Meeting Report

Attracting New Authors

Sarah Tegen
Vice President, Global Editorial and Author Services
American Chemical Society
Washington, DC

Elizabeth Yepez
Senior Editor
Springer Nature
New York, New York

Stephanie Monasky
Marketing Manager, Author Services
ACS Publications
Washington, DC

Mary Anne Baynes
Raleigh–Durham, North Carolina

Sarah Tegen

Every publisher expends resources to cultivate one of our most valuable assets—authors. This session focused on techniques to attract the best contributors to our journals.

Elizabeth Yepez discussed article transfers as an attraction for new authors. Transfers are article submissions where the initial submission is rejected with a suggestion that the author submit to another journal. There are three main reasons a robust transfer service is a benefit to the author: 1) It reduces the time and effort to find an alternative journal, 2) it alleviates the burden of resubmission, and 3) it turns a negative decision into a positive outcome. Springer Nature has been a leader in investing in efforts to develop and systematize efforts in this area. During her presentation, Yepez spoke about three types of transfer classifications at Springer Nature. 1) “Parent” to “child” transfers; in other words, a transfer between closely associated journals where the child journal was developed out of the parent journal, or as an extension or sub-area of the parent journal. 2) In-program transfers (also known as transfers between journals in the same publishing company); participating journals in “in-program transfers” are not necessarily related to each other besides being published by the same publisher. 3) Consortia/field transfers or transfers to any (consortia or participating) journal, no matter the imprint or publisher.

Stephanie Monasky led off her presentation by reminding the audience that researchers wear many hats: Often the same researcher is an author, reviewer, and even an editor. Much of the time, they perform these functions for free, which means it is increasingly important for publishers to give back to and empower the researcher community. She discussed the various ways American Chemical Society (ACS) Publications is doing this including 1) market research in which surveys are offered each year to gain insights on a range of user-focused preferences and behaviors, focus groups, and collections of analytics and user data; 2) personalized recognition of all publishing outputs (reviewing and authoring) in the form of downloadable certificates for all contributors as well as special event recognition for top performers; and finally, 3) development of resources, such as ACS Reviewer Lab, a free online course to educate researchers on the fundamentals of peer review, and an upcoming video series that takes researchers step by step through the publication process and grants them access to the minds of editors and publishing staff.

Mary Anne Baynes discussed how authoring tools can help attract new authors. She presented statistics showing how collaborative authoring and authoring tools that ease the writing and publishing process are on the rise. Publishing platforms are now becoming publishing ecosystems—providing a suite of writing, disseminating, search, reading, and sharing components. These ecosystems can be created by allowing multiple interfaces, apps, components, products, technologies, or services to connect and work together. Publishers are integrating authoring tools to help with that author experience in their publishing ecosystem. Data and surveys showed that authors were looking for publishers with a better authoring experience and publishing ecosystem. Authoring tools and subscriptions are also being adopted by a growing number of institutions. Baynes showed how cross marketing and promotion of journal templates can be provided to institutions to give access to the journal information during the initial research and writing process. Publishers can leverage the relationship with their authoring tool vendor to market directly to students, faculty, and researchers at institutions around the world.