Delivering Content in Multiple Format – the Elephant in the Scholarly Publishing Room


Twenty years ago, the challenges in scientific publishing were in the areas of distribution, delivery and marketing. With digital revolution, the publishing landscape has altered. While technology has driven great changes in publishing through reduced production lead time and expanded reach, there are new kind of challenges that have cropped up, like fading relevancy of established publishers with internet empowered self publishing authors; shrunk revenue due to availability of free information on the web; and confusion among readers due to legal and technological issues like DRM, multiple formats, territorial rights etc.

One of the less discussed plights that affects scholarly publishers concerns with multiple publications and variety of content formats that they publish. PDF and XMLs are the most widely used format for research publications, however due to a wide assortment of available content and varied audiences, publishers also publish ebooks, videos and courses to deliver the content in the format appropriate to their target audience. Problem arises when a platform used for delivery of journals does not support other publications and formats; publishers are then required to restrict their formats to PDFs and deliver their books and videos the way they deliver journal articles. At times, publishers end up using multiple platforms for different types of publications and formats. Restricting the content to one format is no more an option as their audiences would expect flexibility of formats and devices where the content can be rendered; this leaves a publisher with managing multiple delivery platforms – a frustrating situation which drains energy and resources out of the core job.

This need of having a core platform to support all types of publications and content formats, has driven leading technology providers to build solutions specifically targeted to scholarly publishers. Such platforms are expected to provide a single repository for all content formats and types for research publications. iPublishCentral Scholar, a product of continuous innovation on iPublishCentral Suite of digital publishing platforms from Impelsys is a comprehensive all-in-one solution to manage and deliver all scholarly content in a single platform. It supports ebooks, journals, videos, courses, MOCs and document formats and has vanguard features that make scholarly content management efficient and effortless.

SaaS architecture of iPublishCentral Scholar allows your portal to automatically scale to meet increasing usage demands and you can host and manage all your content assets in one central cloud hosted repository. The platform comes with powerful reader technology, has enhanced search and discoverability features, supports multiple devices with responsive web design (RWD) standards, and you can also choose to have branded apps for iOS and Android devices.

Tools like iPublishCentral Scholar come to the rescue of scholarly publishers who publish content in formats beyond journals, who want to inculcate videos and courses to their offerings and also manage MOCs. This eliminates the need to manage more than one tool, the unified all-in-one platform is easy to use with an intuitive user interface and gives granular reports on product performance and user behavior on the platform. It allows implementation of business models like individual and institutional subscription.

One of the problems with fast paced technological developments is that there is a plethora of technologies and various product standards which makes it difficult for publishers to keep up. With mushrooming of numerous products and services catering to niche aspects, there has been some disintegration in the entire industry. A robust unified platform that supports various formats and can scale up with time as needs arise is the need of the hour. Products like iPublishCentral Scholar solve this puzzle; publishers do not need to maintain numerous tools to manage and deliver different types of content. With implementation of right tools a lot of obstacles in scholarly publishing can be overcome, timely intervention helps and wise decision in choosing the provider also makes a difference in long term.

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