The role of Artificial Intelligence in Publishing


AI uses computer algorithms to replicate the human ability to learn and make predictions. Masayoshi Son, the founder of tech giant SoftBank and the richest man in Japan, says he is devoting 97% of his “time and brain” to the scientific field of artificial intelligence. It may seem the companies he’s investing in operate in disparate industries like agriculture, transport, satellites, payments, computer chips, and ecommerce, but one common theme among all of them is artificial intelligence.

Academic publishing is right now poised to substantially leverage technologies led by artificial intelligence. With all the possible applications of AI the industry is heavily invested in R&D in finding out how publishers can improve what they do and how they get it to customers. As data is at the heart of publishing most of the scientific publishers are turning into data driven companies, Elsevier, a leading publisher of scientific and medical information is transforming itself into a tech company, achieved by building advanced analytics systems, utilizing big data and machine learning on top of the huge amount of data collated and published by the company in its 140-year history.

Artificial intelligence based applications are being developed to assist authors and publishers, AI applications, with minimal human intervention can be used in tasks like text analysis, detecting plagiarism on new manuscripts, detecting false statistical results, finding new peer reviewers, content search, semantic search etc. AI can bring efficiency in the processes by reducing human intervention which also leads to reduced human bias. Further, the possibility in future of the entire process of peer review being automated without any need for human interaction can’t be ruled out entirely, or may be humans can’t be entirely replaced by machines for peer reviewing but AI could speed up the process, that’s a question for now.

With rising momentum in the open access movement one stinging issue in traditional publishing industry has been the allegation of keeping high profit margins. It’s not to be forgotten that profits are also made in other spheres of scientific research which might not be as visible, and the said profit provides publishers with the means to invest in new products, services and tools for the benefit of the research community.

In traditional publishing processing the articles, producing journals and the overall survival of the organization needs monetary profit. Despite the zeal manifested in open access, traditional publishing will continue to offer value and prestige to researchers and scientists who need to publish. Traditional publishing offers high grade editorial services and the competitive environment in it calls for higher quality and rigorous reviewing of the published paper.

While larger organizations may be investing their money in innovations that only their size can sustain financially, smaller publishers can opt the digital way to minimize the cost of production and delivery. Powered by digital technologies online publishing helps publishers by eliminating the costs associated with producing and distributing a printed journal. Integration of AI into the online publishing platforms creates a highly advanced and streamlined publishing environment with least human interaction required.

Publishers can leverage digital publishing platforms like iPC Scholar which provide swift and economical publishing while offering more value in terms of services. iPC Scholar allows digital publishing of content in various forms like journals, ebooks, videos and even learning courses. It allows publishers to diversify their content offering, adding to sources of revenue. Actionable analytics provided in the platform give great insights on current business and product performances which can be leveraged to offer tailored services to targeted consumers.

Having faced many challenges in the recent years academic publishing now needs to come of age, driven by data and intelligence the industry can fuel its own growth and reformation led  by technologies like artificial intelligence. What we are seeing today is just the beginning, AI is a new born baby (just learning to debate us humans), which in theory will grow up to become artificial superintelligence or technological singularity, of which the limits are hard to predict. This explosion of intelligence is a long way, but meanwhile the growth in AI will have steadily growing influence in every aspect of our lives, and all the industries. Academic publishing, the industry responsible for communication of global scientific developments, including AI itself, will be at the centre of this development.