Innovation in Open Books: Anke Beck at the ALPSP meeting

1st October 2019

Since the beginning of the 21st Century, Open Access has focused on opening up research, but that has predominantly been in journal formats. Since 2015, at IntechOpen we have been purely a book publisher. We believe in books but we understand the benefits of journals and try to apply our insights to the book workflow. 

Academics want to be seen, read and cited, whatever the format. So how do we bring the benefits of journal workflows and open research knowledge to books to ensure we serve the broadest range of academic communities? At the ALPSP Annual Conference CEO Anke Beck presented her thoughts as part of a panel on innovation in open books. She summarises here. 

In order that authors achieve excellent discoverability, are well read and cited, we need a 21st century workflow, but with flexibility. In general, journal processes are quick and automated and with books things are driven by the relationship between the author and editor. We also assign an Author Service Manager for each book, who works closely with both editors and authors over many months. This is quite a deep and supportive relationship that develops and continues while an academic is working with us on their book or chapter. 

Unlike many others, we provide full XML typesetting, English language copyediting & proofreading and services at no extra charge. 

Like journal articles, chapters are published as they are ready, and are assigned a DOI and are searchable and citable without delay. We are very proud of this ‘online first’ service, and hear from authors that they love it too, as it means their work will be published individually, immediately after review and is ready to be shared, searched and cited straight away, generating early stage interest and momentum for their research. 

Authors appreciate instant gratification on the reach of their work feedback has evolved; from a long winded report – to a metric – a number. In the past, an author may have been unaware of how many times their book was checked out of the library - now digital metrics are at their fingertips. 

We offer metrics & services that were traditionally associated journals – we provide usage metrics on downloads, reach, citations and online mentions with our own custom-built tools as well as independent metrics supplied by Altmetric and Dimensions. Currently our community of over 116,000 authors and academic editors includes key opinion leaders and Nobel Laureates, and enjoys global visibility on our website, which receives over 560,000 unique visitors a month and more than 14.8 million chapter downloads each year, amassing almost 85,000 citations in Web of Science. 

In the future researchers will connect interesting ‘bits’ of content from different sources to trigger ideas for future research. Researchers already interact with single figures and individual sections of an articleAI will further this. Book publishers should embrace this and workflows need to be flexible to encourage the evolution of the content. 

Anke Beck, CEO