Multi-product platforms in scholarly publishing

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Information about Multi-product platforms in scholarly publishing

Published on November 7, 2008

Author: atypon



Multi-product platforms in scholarly publishing Charleston Conference Charleston, November 6, 2008 Kevin Cohn Director of Client Services

About me • Statistician - Carnegie Mellon University • Publisher - Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. • Vendor - Atypon Systems, Inc.

About Atypon • Publisher services company based in Santa Clara (Silicon Valley), California • Current websites include JSTOR, Chicago Journals, and Annual Reviews • Coming soon: American Chemical Society, BioOne, N Engl J Med, and more • Technology partner for CrossRef’s citation linking resolution system

A multi-product platform is a single application that delivers all of a publisher’s content types (journals, books, and more) and provides common services (access control, content management, business intelligence, and more) to publisher administrators, librarians, and researchers.

Our past experience • Academic Press’s IDEAL had some of the first reference works in the early 2000s • CrossRef handles metadata for journals, books, and conference proceedings • Aluka (, launched in 2007, has no journal or book content whatsoever

Herding cats

Market characteristics • Usage is the currency • Volume of content matters • Few big players dominate • Big deals make life easier • Content type is irrelevant

How MPPs can help • Sell other content types through established journals channels • Leverage the combined volume of your content to drive traffic • Create and sell discipline-focused packages that span content types • Use the “gravity” of your MPP to create and grow a brand

An MPP needs to... • Provide a single toolset for managing all of the publisher’s assets • Give librarians a way to quickly and easily administer all of their access rights • Allow researchers to browse different content types together and separately • Do it in a way that costs less than using different vendors for different content types

...more Content management Page editing Access control Reports Advertisements Content delivery

In many ways the platform needs to be blind to the content type, e.g., for access control, e-commerce, and reporting. But in many situations it also needs to be aware of the content type (particularly during content processing and delivery).

Publication Category Series Group Item

Publication Category Journal Book Series Issue Book Article Chapter

User.saveFavoriteJournal(journalCode); User.saveFavoriteArticle(articleDOI); User.saveFavoriteBook(ISBN); User.saveFavoriteChapter(chapterDOI);


Capabilities • Streamlined administration of access control, content management, and more • Reduced burden on librarians, which has led to a higher activation percentage • Enhanced information discovery because the content is in a single place


Challenges Every book is different.

Challenges • Some books are in a series (and therefore share metadata) and others are not • Monographs, textbooks, and yearbooks, each of which are structured differently • Lack the consistency that issues and even journals have across the entire industry • All of these variations are seen within a single publisher’s books

Challenges A book is like an issue... except when it is not.

Challenges • Users want to search for books—not chapters—whereas issues have no standing • The amount and variability of metadata for books greatly exceeds that of issues • Users are interested in downloading the entire book as well as individual chapters • Many implications for COUNTER, some of which have not been addressed

Challenges A chapter is like an article... except when it is not.

Do you know what the chapters are? The publisher wasn’t sure, either.

Challenges • It’s a question of granularity • Varies from book to book • More granularity = higher overhead • Diminishing rate of return

Challenges Creating MARC records is not easy.

Challenges • We automatically generate MARC records from the publisher’s content • They’re missing the depth that librarians bring to hand-crafted records • Examining many options with third parties to obtain and deliver fuller records

Challenges averted • Our access control has always been robust, so many licensing models are supported • Our publishers have been very attentive to librarian opinions and concerns • We weren’t the first to do it, so we learned from the mistakes of others

What’s next • New user interfaces for browsing book content (like Google Book Search) • Ideas about “check out” licensing models and the future of interlibrary loan • Tools for better information discovery and synthesis of information • MPPs are a growth market: only 5% of Atypon’s clients publish no books

Summary • Multi-product platforms maximize publishers’ investments in technology • There is a strong movement towards publishers consolidating their offerings • Librarians in particular benefit from having all of a publisher’s content in one place • The variations seen across content types is a challenge, but one that can be overcome

Now available Learn more during today’s juried product development forum

Thank you Kevin Cohn

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