With the turn of the century artificial intelligence has emerged out of the realm of science fiction and has found various practical applications in the real world, like self driving cars, FDA approved AI software for detection of eye diseases, sorting resumes, adding to your smartphone camera’s creativity, and even the Pentagon taking note of the possibility of artificial intelligence arms race, that’s after beating humans in chess and Jeopardy! (a language based game). AI can master problem solving that involves logic, mathematics and algorithm, it builds on the existing knowledge and learns to identify solutions, AI finds solutions to complex problems which would be daunting for unaided humans. Can AI also replicate humans in the sphere of creativity, can AI acquire creative strength as it evolves, or is creativity reserved solely for highly evolved sentient beings like humans?


The arguments are ample on both sides. Through machine learning AI can recognize faces, interpret languages, write compelling ad copies and email subjects and beat humans in chess. Would you call this creative work? What about evoking human emotions through stories based on experiences and emotions, can robot writers do that? Machines can understand and reproduce patterns of storyline with different possible twists, but do they understand the depth of the story, unless the information is fed to it by humans? Machines can answer complex problems but can they ask questions?

In 2016 a Japanese AI software made an attempt to co-write a novella with human writers and almost won the Hoshi Shinichi Literary Award. The story was titled “The Day a Computer Writes a Novel”. “I was surprised at the work because it was a well-structured novel,” said science fiction writer and award judge Satoshi Hase. Jacob Brogan, an editor at the Washington Post was but cautious before getting impressed about a robot writing a story, the part that the novel was being co authored by humans wasn’t an excitement for him. Upon close examination of the event we get to know that the AI in question only remixed a novella already written by humans, the book’s components were broken into words, sentences, and basic structure before being fed to the machine.

Computers work on logic and math and theoretically there is no limit to how much they can learn, if they can learn to play chess they can be taught to learn what sort of writing humans like to read, and eventually may produce a best seller, they might even learn to paint. While a human writer is inspired by real life experiences and emotions, a robot is not capable of the same (as of now). We always have the writer of the story in the back our mind and unconsciously relate to his experiences or thoughts while moving through the story, how can we imagine the same for a robot?

The question is how would humans respond to this artificial creativity… Is there something more than raw creativity that humans find innately alluring… something that emerges from human experiences and emotions and can be connected to our lives rather than a robot’s life. Do we always need a human touch to a piece of art… it’s a paradox.

The Sophisticated Evil

Elon Musk’s  non-profit OpenAI has developed and recently released GPT-2, a large language model that can generate realistic paragraphs of text. GPT-2 can generate coherent text when given a snippet of input. The tool’s stunning efficient made it vulnerable to misuse and hence was released in stages and with caution. In its release blog OpenAI states that humans find GPT-2’s output convincing but also the programme can be fine-tuned for misuse. Fake news is on the top of the list of possible misuse which contains impersonating others online, automating the production of abusive or fake content for social media, and automating the creation of spam and phishing content. In 2016, Microsoft’s chatbot Tay, supposed to emulate a teenage girl online, within few hours of its release was fine tuned by somebody which resulted in the chatbot calling feminism a disease, approving of Hitler’s actions, abusing Barack Obama and spewing more hateful tweets.

Note: Elon Musk advises mankind to be extremely cautious about artificial intelligence, he has called AI humanity’s ‘biggest existential threat’ and compared it to ‘summoning the demon.’

Applications with Limited Creativity

While human’s creativity may not remain unrivalled in future, machine learning so far is best at understanding stories with a typical format like, quarterly reports of companies, weather or sports snippets. Salesforce’s Einstein Copy Insights uses machine learning to enable marketers to identify optimal words for email subject lines, text messages, social media copy and similar text. It also notifies users about under-performing marketing emails and offers recommendations for improvement. Google Search uses natural language processing to better understand how different words relate to each other in a search query. Microsoft is developing software to generate text for ads and Wall Street Journal is using ai to enhance its news coverage.

Heliograf is Washington Post’s robo reporter which churned out 300 reports during the Rio Olympics in 2016 and it helped the post cover House, Senate and gubernatorial races for all 50 states on election day. Currently this type of tools can be used to automate a bulk of news writing in some segments which constitute a large section of news, saving time for journalists or resources for publishers. The Associated Press has used bots to cover financial stories and USA Today has used video software to create short videos. Google’s Perspective API has been used by the New York Times and Disqus to moderate comment section on their news articles and blogs

Scholarly Writing

The most interesting use of artificial intelligence in content creation happened in scholarly publishing recently. Springer Nature published its first AI generated research book titled ‘Lithium-Ion Batteries: A Machine-Generated Summary of Current Research’. The pdf file, which is free for download mentions that the book is ‘cross-corpora auto-summarization of current texts from Springer Nature’s content platform “SpringerLink”, organized by means of a similarity-based clustering routine in coherent chapters and sections’. It automatically condenses a large set of papers into a reasonably short book. Henning Schoenenberger, Director Product Data & Metadata Management at Springer Nature, points out that this method allows for readers to speed up the literature digestion process of a given field of research instead of reading through hundreds of published articles. The book was presented at the recently concluded Frankfurt Book Fair 2019, here’s a video if you know Deutsch!

When asked if there’s a scalable business model in machine-generated book publishing Henning Schoenenberger said, ‘I do expect that machine-generated content will become a scalable business model at some point. However, as with many technological innovations, we also acknowledge that machine-generated research texts may become an entirely new kind of content with specific features not yet fully foreseeable but we assume that in future there will be a wide range of options to create content – from entirely human-created content, a variety of blended man-machine text generation to entirely machine-generated text.’

Here’s a video of a song created by text predictor mixing words from Bob Dylan and restaurant reviews in New York. It says ‘if you wanna travel underneath the worst bar in the West, knock on this establishment again’. Quite Impressive!

As research constitutes the progress of science, impact assessment of research publications has been an area of interest for a long time. The communication of research and developments happens through scholarly publications like journal articles, books, monographs, conference proceedings etc. and their impact is continually assessed through models like impact factors which are based on the number of citations received by each publication. Citations have been chiefly used to measure the importance or influence of a journal or a publication for over half a century, with the progress in publishing technologies and growing share of consumption of information on digital formats, the ability of citations to assess the importance of a publication is being scrutinized.

The lifecycle of a published research constitutes of many events, like general consumption by readers, citations by other researchers, tweets on Twitter, shares on LinkedIn and Facebook, grants, clinical trials, patents, policy documents and translation to mass application of the outcome of the research. Citation based assessment takes into account the number of times a paper has been cited by other researchers on their work, which represents only a tiny subset of the lifecycle of the original research, and its impact on science and society as a whole.

Massive amount of research and increased competitiveness is driving the interest in broader evaluation of research impact, also enabled by greater availability of data. Justification of public funds flowing into research is a crucial factor driving this interest. How do we measure the real impact a scientific publication has on research itself, and the world beyond science? How can all the stakeholders like academics, institutions, publishers, librarians, funders and government agencies have a comprehensive insight on the impact of a particular research?

Comprehensive evaluation of interest beyond citation

Digital Science – a technology company serving the needs of scientific and research communities at key points along the full cycle of research – understands the need for this greater evaluation, their tools Altmetric and Dimensions attempt to continually improve research and its assessment. Taking impact assessment beyond citations and impact factors, Altmetric derives data from digital spaces where publications have been mentioned, such as news websites, social media, Wikipedia and patents, this gives a complete picture of the reach and impact of the publications.

Short for alternative metrics, Altmetric offers relevant information about research articles and publications and their impact on wherever the content is consumed, accessed, or referred. Research papers go through great amount of engagement on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, Altmetric derives information from these platforms on the quantity of tweets, shares and mentions, which gives an insight on the attention, usage and impact of the research output.

Evaluating research lifecycle and its impact

The information around research publications has traditionally been limited to index of scholarly articles and citations, Digital Science’s another tool Dimensions, offers an interesting sets of data that capture the entire lifecycle of research, and its societal impact. This database offers the most comprehensive collection of linked data in a single platform; from grants, publications, and clinical trials to patents and policy documents. Dimensions allows the stakeholders to follow research from funding through output to impact, the coverage of data reveals interesting results and linkages among different aspects of the research.

What if these advanced tools that help the evolution of scientific research and its impact were integrated into the publishing platform itself… The result would be a universe of scientific publishing where publishing, reviewing, distribution & delivery, analytics, interest assessment and a comprehensive data on the impact and lifecycle of research papers are all in one place. iPC Scholar, an advanced digital publishing platform is one such universe. With its ability to publish and deliver scholarly content in various formats like, journals, ebooks, videos, courses, the platform now gets widgets for Digital Science’s tools like Altmetric, Dimensions and Figshare. This makes it the world’s most complete platform for digital publishing and impact assessment of scholarly content.

As science progresses and communication technologies advance, to understand the impact of research and publications is far more complex than simply measuring citations. The metrics for comprehensive insight and measurement can be diverse and measurable but the motive and the impact calculated from these metrics are still not clear for everybody, eg, what exactly to derive from the number of shares on social media is unclear. However, the availability of this information gives a broader view of the research, stakeholders can take more informed decisions on future research and investments, it gives end users a new way to discover research and analyse its relevance to them. Technology is transforming the way research is evaluated, discovered, and accessed, and as the complexity increases advanced technologies like big data and artificial intelligence will need to intervene to help humans derive the true meaning of the data in hand.

Impelsys Inc., a market leader in digital publishing, education technology and healthcare solutions today announced the launch of an advanced version of its flagship content and learning delivery platform, iPC Scholar. The version 2.0 release of iPC Scholar, launched on the sidelines of Frankfurt Book Fair, features a modernized UI, support for learning workflows and some key upgrades to address unique business challenges encountered by new-age publishers and education companies. 

iPC Scholar is a cloud-hosted, content agnostic platform that allows publishers, enterprises and education providers to integrate and securely deliver all their digital content including eBooks, journals, courses, videos, audio files, documents in Microsoft Word® and Microsoft PowerPoint® formats and custom formats to end users, directly through their own branded portal. The platform allows publishers to offer uniform customer experiences while gaining actionable insights on consumer interaction across all digital products.    

With the 2.0 version release, iPC Scholar is now fully refactored to a microservices architecture offering its customers unprecedented scalability and flexibility along with other key feature enhancements

Modernized UI

An easy to navigate, clear, responsive and intuitive user interface drives the success of any application or platform. With 2.0 release, iPC Scholar now has a revamped UI across all content types designed to engage the audience with sophisticated user experience. 

Support for learning workflows

iPC Scholar 2.0 supports typical workflows related to learning like assigning content to learners, assessing comprehension of content based on quizzes and assessments, tracking progress of learners and providing detailed reports. Additionally, functionality to nudge learners to finish assignments, and provide motivation via leaderboards is available.

Professional associations and education providers will now have the ability to manage and offer continuing education credits and certification programs to learners. And at the user-end, the learners can now earn credits and certificates for courses they have completed.

JATS support on journal reader

On the journals side, iPC Scholar 2.0 has an intuitive user interface and well defined workflows to manage journal hierarchies. To add to this, the journal reader, both online and offline versions, now support the JATS format – an XML that is used for online scientific publishing.

Integration with smart tools such as Altmetrics, Dimensions and Figshare

Impelsys has partnered with Digital Sciencea technology company serving the needs of scientific and research communities along the full cycle of research – to bring to its publishers a set of smart tools such as Altmetrics, Dimensions and Figshare. Now journal publishers can acquire deeper understanding on how users interact with their content and drive traffic with engaging content that can be easily discovered.

“It is our constant endeavor to innovate and investing in our powerful IP and to keep updating the features of our products to address the evolving needs of the global publishing and education ecosystem”, said Sameer Shariff, Founder and CEO of Impelsys Inc. “With our commitment to continuous innovation, the team is now involved in some path-breaking work at the Impelsys Innovations Lab with emerging technologies like AI, ML, NLP etc., which will soon be layered onto iPC Scholar.”    

About Impelsys

 Operating since 2001, Impelsys is a purpose-driven business committed to its vision of making the world a better place by helping spread knowledge through technology. Impelsys today is a leading provider of technology solutions and services for education providers, publishers and enterprises – managing content and learning delivery on their flagship platform – iPublishCentral Suite, the World’s Most Comprehensive Read-to-Learn Solution. Impelsys provides courseware development and content engineering services across digital product development lifecycle, helping clients build new digital products ranging from eBooks to simulations to online courseware.

To learn more, please write to corpmarketing@impelsys.com or visit www.impelsys.com | www.ipublishcentral.com

Impelsys Inc., a market leader in digital publishing, education technology and healthcare solutions, is celebrating its decade long presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year. With its continuous presence since 2009, Impelsys has been one of the most prominent and successful exhibitors at the world’s largest book fair.

Frankfurt Book Fair, taking place from 16 to 20 October this year is the most significant business event in the print and digital content industry that facilitates great number of international sales of rights and licenses. Beyond the regular business Frankfurter Buchmesse also offers an incredible social and cultural experience with a wide range of exciting events. With Norway as the Guest of Honor this year, its literature and culture will be the showcase event at the fair.

Announcements and highlights of Impelsys’ 10 Years at FBF

With the pedigree of Continuous Innovation over the last decade and more, Impelsys has established itself as an influencer and a thought leader in the publishing and learning landscape, making pioneering breakthroughs in platforms and technology services. iPC Scholar, Impelsys’ flagship platform is a cloud hosted, content agnostic solution that allows publishers, enterprises and education providers to integrate and securely deliver all their digital content including eBooks, journals, courses, videos, audio files, documents in Microsoft Word® and Microsoft PowerPoint® formats and custom formats to end users, directly through their own branded portal. Some of the major announcements from Impelsys at FBF 2019 are as follows:

Launch of iPC Scholar 2.0

 With the 2.0 version release, iPC Scholar is now fully refactored to a microservices architecture offering its customers unprecedented scalability and flexibility along with other key feature enhancements. The new version of iPC Scholar will sport a state-of-the-art UI along with the addition of features such as CME/ CPD Credit Management, JATS support on journal reader, and integration of smart tools such as Altmetrics, Dimensions and Figshare. 

Impelsys Innovation Lab

As businesses today are constantly trying to decipher consumer data to offer personalized solutions in order to stay relevant and competitive, publishers and learning providers are also joining the bandwagon. Impelsys Innovations Lab is set up with the vision of helping publishers stay ahead of their game in today’s consumer driven business landscape by leveraging emerging technologies.

The lab is envisioned as a research and development initiative that will collaborate with the market and develop solutions to address specific industry pain points. To kick start the engagement the lab will focus on various emerging and disruptive technologies including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Big Data Analytics, Natural Language Processing (NLP), IT Infrastructure, and Cloud Computing Services.

Some of the videos and demos of the latest offerings from Impelsys can be experienced at the Self-Serve Experiential Kiosk at booth J47, Hall 4.2.

Leadership Talks

Like every year Impelsys leadership team will be sharing the latest developments in technology and application of these technologies in the changing business environment of publishing and learning. Below are the details of the sessions for this year.

New frontiers in publishing and education – winning in the digital era

Speaker: Kotesh Govindaraju

EVP and Head of Americas – Impelsys Inc.

Day 1: 16th October 2019 

11:00 – 11:30am

Venue: Education Stage, Hall 4.2, C94

 Strategies of implementing artificial intelligence and machine learning into publishing and education platforms

Speaker: Sameer Shariff

Founder and CEO – Impelsys Inc.

Day 1: 16th October 2019 

03:30 – 4:00pm

Venue: Academic and Business Information Stage, Hall 4.2, N101

Reminiscing the 10 years journey with the Frankfurt Book Fair, Sameer Shariff, Founder and CEO of Impelsys conveyed, “Frankfurt Book Fair is like homecoming for us, we just don’t want to miss it. The fair has given us a platform to showcase our expertise and technology to the world, helping us make numerous business and personal connections over the last several years. As we reach this important milestone, I would like to thank the organizers of the fair, all the wonderful people that we have had the privilege to meet along the journey and look forward to creating more successful partnerships in the future.”  

About Impelsys

Operating since 2001, Impelsys is a purpose-driven business committed to its vision of making the world a better place by helping spread knowledge through technology. Impelsys today is a leading provider of technology solutions and services for education providers, publishers and enterprises – managing content and learning delivery on their flagship platform – iPublishCentral Suite, the World’s Most Comprehensive Read-to-Learn Solution. Impelsys provides courseware development and content engineering services across digital product development lifecycle, helping clients build new digital products ranging from eBooks to simulations to online courseware.

To learn more, please write to corpmarketing@impelsys.com or visit www.impelsys.com | www.ipublishcentral.com

Impelsys Inc., a market pioneer in digital publishing, education technology and healthcare solutions has today announced a collaborative partnership with Digital Science, a leader in scholarly technology. The partnership will include the integration of Altmetric badges, Dimensions badges and the Figshare Viewer with the latest version of its flagship journal distribution platform, iPC Scholar 2.0.

A valuable addition to the measurement of research dissemination and influence, the Altmetric and Dimensions badges will be an embed option for publishers who host their journals on the iPC Scholar 2.0 platform. The badges will provide authors and visitors with an at-a-glance summary of online engagement and scholarly citations for individual articles. Users will be able to click on the badges to view further detail about the attention a publication has received – including where it has been referenced in the news, policy documents, patent records, and on social media.

The alliance will also see iPC Scholar 2.0 offer the Figshare Viewer to its customers, enabling journals to help researchers to preserve and share their research outputs, including figures, datasets, images and videos. Figshare is a cloud-based platform that makes it easy to upload supplementary data and helps researchers to get credit for all of their work, not just the resulting publication. 

Sameer Shariff, Founder and CEO at Impelsys, said: “The scholarly landscape is becoming increasingly open and connected. We are committed to ensuring that our publishers can benefit from this evolving ecosystem. We are delighted to partner with Digital Science, which allows us to extend their powerful technologies and services to publishers hosted on our iPC Scholar platform.”

Adrian Stanley, Managing Director, Publishers at Digital Science, commented: “We are really pleased that Impelsys now allows for the easy implementation of these market-leading Digital Science services. All of these tools support scholars in making their research more open and discoverable, whilst ensuring they are able to better track and showcase the influence of their work. We look forward to seeing these integrations benefit users in the global markets that Impelsys serves.”

Impelsys announced the release of version 2.0 of its flagship platform, iPC Scholar at the Frankfurt Book Fair earlier today. Some of the key showcased features include a modernized UI offering an intuitive and holistic user experience, support for learning workflows, JATS support on both online and offline journal readers and integration with smart tools from Digital Science among other features designed to address unique business challenges encountered by new-age publishers.

About Impelsys

Operating since 2001, Impelsys is a purpose-driven business committed to its vision of making the world a better place by helping spread knowledge through technology. Impelsys today is a leading provider of technology solutions and services for education providers, publishers and enterprises – managing content and learning delivery on their flagship platform – iPublishCentral Suite, the World’s Most Comprehensive Read-to-Learn Solution. Impelsys provides courseware development and content engineering services across digital product development lifecycle, helping clients build new digital products ranging from eBooks to simulations to online courseware.

To learn more, please write to corpmarketing@impelsys.com or visit www.impelsys.com | www.ipublishcentral.com

About Digital Science

Digital Science is a technology company working to make research more efficient. We invest in, nurture and support innovative businesses and technologies that make all parts of the research process more open and effective. Our portfolio includes brands including Altmetric, Anywhere Access, Dimensions, Figshare, ReadCube, Symplectic, IFI Claims, GRID, Overleaf, CC Technology, Gigantum, Ripeta and Writefull. We believe that together, we can help researchers make a difference. Visit and follow @digitalsci on Twitter.

About Dimensions

Dimensions is a modern, innovative, linked research knowledge system that re-imagines discovery and access to research. Developed by Digital Science in collaboration with over 100 leading research organizations around the world, Dimensions brings together grants, publications, citations, alternative metrics, clinical trials and patents to deliver a platform that enables users to find and access the most relevant information faster, analyze the academic and broader outcomes of research, and gather insights to inform future strategy. Visit Dimensions’ website at https://dimensions.ai and find us on Twitter @DSDimensions.

About Figshare

Figshare is a repository where users can make all of their research outputs available in a citable, shareable and discoverable manner. Figshare’s aim is to become the place where all academics make their research openly available. It provides a secure cloud based storage space for research outputs and encourages its users to manage their research in a more organized manner, so that it can be easily made open to comply with funder mandates. Openly available research outputs will mean that academia can truly reproduce and build on top of the research of others. Visit www.figshare.com

About Altmetric

Altmetric’s mission is to track and analyze the online activity around scholarly literature. We collate what people are saying about published research outputs in scholarly and non-scholarly forums like the mainstream media, policy documents, social networks, and blogs to provide a more robust picture of the influence and reach of scholarly work. Altmetric works with some of the biggest publishers, funders, and institutions around the world to deliver this data in an accessible and reliable format. Altmetric is supported by Digital Science. Find out more at altmetric.com and follow us on Twitter @altmetric.

Impelsys Inc., a market leader in digital publishing and education technology solutions across diverse industries including healthcare, engineering, and finance, announced its partnership with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), an educational and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. With this partnership, ASABE will migrate its technical library platform that hosts its internationally recognized scientific and research publications and standards to iPC Scholar, Impelsys’ flagship content and learning delivery platform. The new system is scheduled to debut in April 2020.

Established in 1907 and headquartered in St. Joseph, Michigan, ASABE has members in over 100 countries. ASABE’s goal is to advance the application of agricultural and biological sciences to develop efficient and environmentally sensitive methods of producing food, fiber, timber, and renewable energy sources for an ever-increasing world population. ASABE provides a forum for communication of research findings through conferences, scientific journals, and magazines.

iPC Scholar, a cloud-hosted, content-agnostic platform, will allow ASABE to provide a unified customer experience across different types and formats of publications including ebooks, journals, magazines, meeting papers, conference proceedings, textbooks, and teaching materials and monographs, all within a white-labeled ecosystem of web portals and mobile apps. ASABE can also derive extensive insights on consumer journeys across these asset classes through comprehensive reports and actionable analytics generated by the powerful analytics engine of iPC Scholar.

“We are delighted to partner with ASABE on this platform upgrade,” said Sameer Shariff, Founder and CEO of Impelsys. “While information is important for today’s consumers, the manner in which it is delivered and the overall experience are becoming ever more critical. We hope our technology will help ASABE serve humanity by advancing engineering applicable to food and agriculture.”

“ASABE strives to widely disseminate engineering and technological solutions toward creating a sustainable world with abundant food, water, and energy, and a healthy environment,” said Darrin Drollinger, Executive Director of ASABE. “Through this partnership with Impelsys, we will be able to advance those efforts significantly.”


ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems. ASABE membership is open to all, engineers as well as non-engineers, who are interested in engineering and technology for agricultural, food, and biological systems. For further information, contact ASABE headquarters at 269-429-0300, email hq@asabe.org, or visit www.asabe.org.

About Impelsys

Operating since 2001, Impelsys is a leading provider of technology solutions and services for education providers, publishers, and enterprises, including content management and learning delivery on its flagship platform iPublishCentral, the world’s most comprehensive read-to-learn solution. Impelsys provides courseware development and content engineering services across the digital product development lifecycle, helping clients build new digital products ranging from ebooks to simulations to online courseware. To learn more, email corpmarketing@impelsys.com or visit www.impelsys.com or www.ipublishcentral.com

For over 3 centuries traditional subscription based publishing has been the predominant mode of dissemination of scientific information. However, in the last two decades, with the overwhelming spread of information over the internet, the traditional publishing model has been getting disrupted by models in the open access band. Open Access is a means which enables research output to be distributed in digital form free of cost, there are many forms of open access, usually denoted by color bands, and each of them have varying degree of free access. The open access movement in last two decades has gained strength, in 2016 the worldwide share of subscription only journals was less than 40%, the majority of the journals published, ~45% of them work in hybrid model – journals that are usually subscription based but also publish open access articles under certain conditions.

Plan S

A recent development in the scientific publishing industry is the Plan S of Europe. Launched in September 2018, Plan S is an initiative for Open Access publishing, if passed into a regulation the plan will require all scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants to be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms. The plan is supported by cOAlition S, an international consortium of research funders. The plan also restricts researchers from publishing in hybrid journals, unless they are under a transformative agreement which states that the journal will go full open access within a time frame. Plan S states that Open Access is Foundational to the Scientific Enterprise, its preamble document says ‘no science should be locked behind paywalls!’.

Note: Green open access is permitted under Plan S. Green open access is a provision wherein the manuscript of the article or the published paper, published in any kind of journals is deposited in an approved open access repository, free for download and reuse under a CC-BY licence

Plan S is a powerful declaration, it’s supported by the European Commission, major national research funding agencies across Europe and publishers as well. Guided by ten principles, If the idea sees the light of the day it will have repercussions in scientific publications in Europe, and later around the world. Access to public funded scientific research literature will be free, and as per the plan free for translation and reuse as well.


Despite the noble intent the proposal has not been received well by all in the scientific community. Opposition to the proposal has two facets to it:

  1. Albeit having achieved significant success in its movement, open access has faced criticism concerning the peer review system, which is at the core of scientific publishing. The argument is that the pay and publish system in open access leads to inadequacies in the funding necessary for a powerful peer review system and editing of published articles, hence producing low quality output.                                                                                               
  2. Scientists are rewarded on how much they publish and where they publish, traditional subscription based journals, owing to their legacy, wider reach and a strong peer review system hold higher significance within the community. And hybrid journals, which are basically subscription journals occasionally publishing open access, provide them with the juncture of both worlds. Hence the major concern of the critics of Plan S is that barring hybrid journals, along with pure subscription journals would leave researchers with no choice as it would mean almost 85% of leading journals would be rendered non-compliant.

More than 600 researchers, including two Nobel laureates, published an open letter calling the plan ‘too risky for science’, ‘unfair’, and ‘a serious violation of academic freedom’ for the scientists affected. Letter coordinator Lynn Kamerlin, a biochemist at Uppsala University in Sweden spoke to Nature about her problems with the plan. She says she firmly believe in promoting open science, but not in the way Plan S is doing it. Her concern is that Plan S could restrict its researchers from publishing in more than 80% of journals — many of them the most well-known and influential in her field.


Institute of Physics, the professional body and learned society for physics in the UK and Ireland, says that it’s a strong supporter of open science and open access to scientific research. While acknowledging its support for Plan S, IOP also realises that not everyone in the research community is willing to and able to make such a radical transition in such a short period of time. They have come up with key recommendations to cOAlition S for open access transition, they are

  • Extend the timeline beyond 2021
  • Let more funders and more countries endorse open access and a natural transition will occur
  • Support hybrid open access until a natural tipping point is reached
  • Support high-quality peer review
  • Recognise the dependence of green open access on subscription publishing
  • Address the issue of new funding flows under a complete transition to open access

Need for open access

Subscription based publishing has almost been a monopoly in the hands of few large publication houses. The cost of subscription has been on the rise since last 30 years and it’s rising way faster than inflation and prices of other commodities. The rising costs have had consequences, not just for financially weak institutions, even the likes of Harvard can’t afford them, in 2012 A memo from Harvard Library said that they could no longer afford the price hikes imposed by many large journal publishers, which billed the library around $3.5m a year. Harvard encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.

Access of research literature is crucial for developing nations, it plays a significant role in technological innovation and various governmental research, the rising costs have had drastic implications to researchers in low income countries. Placing the public funded research literature behind high paywalls is not sustainable for the global scientific advancement. Open access extends the bridge of opportunities towards moderately and poorly funded institutions and developing countries, it levels the playing field for everybody. Plan S of Europe is a necessary initiative in this direction, it will be a landmark victory for the open access movement and their supporters. However, at its current form and enthusiasm, the plan may not be practically implementable for the majority of researchers and publishers, the right solution would require a little restraint in the enthusiasm and an openness to recommendations, like the ones made by the Institute of Physics.

It’s been a year since Europe’s GDPR came into force now. Since most of the businesses now have consumer data at the heart of their operations the GDPR was a big shake-up for businesses who had relations with European consumers. GDPR brought about a new kind of awareness and education among consumers about the value and consequences of their personal data. The regulation which was launched with a lot of skepticism about its reach and effect has now brought about significant changes in organizations’ handling of data and has empowered users to retain their rights around personal data.

As it relies heavily on consumer data, GDPR also brought about some overhaul within the publishing industry. Organizations were required to reorganize their data and be compliant with the regulation, data officers were appointed and data strategies were aligned to the new regulation. One year has passed and the industry is getting used to the new environment and there is a consensus that the new regulation can be leveraged for creative utilization of data and better customer relationships built on trust and transparency. Organizations that regard the regulations more than just a legal issue and take it as an opportunity to recognize the value of people’s information they possess are now better positioned to take advantage of GDPR and stay aligned to it. They ought to give their data the due importance it deserves and manage and utilize it in creative and sensible manner, to enhance their product offerings and relationships with their consumers.

GDPR brought into global attention the importance of data privacy in 2018 but the issue of privacy has been debated for many years after great amount of consumer information started flowing into the web. Countries like Singapore (Personal Data Protection Act 2012), Turkey (Data Protection Law), and China (Cybersecurity Law of the People’s Republic of China), had their data privacy laws in effect even before the Europe’s GDPR. However, GDPR brought about new awareness on data regulations and various state laws to enact them, it has spawned several other data regulations around the world since then. The Dutch Data Protection Authority released its GDPR fining policy, being the first country to do so. France’s CNIL established a network of data protection officers to help provide advice for brands, the agency in January fined Google nearly $57 million for breach of European Union data law. California Consumer Privacy Act was made into law one month after the GDPR and many other US states are mulling their own versions of data protection laws.

For associations and societies the new regulations are inspiring them to radically rethink how they manage their information and how they use that information to engage with customers. Some associations might have limited exposure to GDPR because of their small European presence, however, considering the growing awareness regarding privacy and governments across the world acknowledging its significance, they can still take the opportunity and use the regulation as a general template for their data privacy efforts. Vendors provide most of the software to associations and societies, and in most cases it’s vendors who manage the data, while the onus of compliance is on the organization itself. Vendors should be responsible for structuring the data management so that it’s aligned to the regulation, the tools should be streamlined and minimum disruption in services should be ensured. New kind of data processing clauses should be introduced to the vendor-client agreement to ensure initiation and continuity of legally compliant services.

In this exciting era of awareness around data rights where regulations are coming up across the globe, it’s time for organizations to take the opportunity to initiate a new kind of relationships with customers. Along with business success they should also utilize the data on building relationships which are based on trust and transparency, they should improve communication with their users and protect their data. GDPR was an awakening for the world. While their is an enormous amount of data accumulating every day and so much of information about each individual, stringent data protection regulations will become the norm as data has become a valuable personal asset which is lent to use within legal boundaries.

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.


Impelsys Inc., a leading technology company providing digital products and services to publishers, education providers and enterprises worldwide, announces its support to AAP 2019 PSP Annual Conference as a Platinum Sponsor. The PSP Annual Conference is Association of American Publishers’ premier forum on copyright, law, policy, and business practices that affect professional and scholarly publishers in the United States.

Through the Platinum sponsorship Impelsys endorses the PSP conference’s goal of being a premier platform for exchange of knowledge and information in the world of scholarly publishing. Being an active provider of technology solutions, digital platforms and services to the scholarly publishing industry, Impelsys is now positioned as a key player and an advocate of technology led developments in the industry.

Impelsys through its flagship, multi-content delivery platform, iPC Scholar is driving powerful digital strategies for some of the most renowned academic and scholarly publishers, helping them in their knowledge management efforts. The platform supports Journals, eBooks, Courses, Videos, and other file formats, making it easier for publishers to manage their products in one single platform while supporting multiple business models and getting deep business analytics.

Sameer Shariff, Founder and CEO, Impelsys Inc. conveyed, “We have had the opportunity, for over a decade or more to play a major role in advancement of  scientific publishing by leveraging technology. We have developed some pioneering products for publishers and we would like to continue to innovate and support the industry as the business landscape changes. PSP conference is an important event for the industry, and through this sponsorship we would like extend our support to the community.

About Impelsys

Impelsys Inc. is a leading provider of technology solutions and services for education providers, publishers and enterprises – managing content and learning delivery on their flagship platform – iPublishCentral Suite, the World’s Most Comprehensive Read-to-Learn Solution.

Impelsys provides courseware development and content engineering services across digital product development lifecycle, helping clients build new digital products ranging from eBooks to simulations to online courseware.

To learn more, please write to corpmarketing@impelsys.com  or visit www.impelsys.com.

About Association of American Publishers (AAP)

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) represents the leading book, journal, and education publishers in the United States on matters of law and policy, advocating for outcomes that incentivize the publication of creative expression, professional content, and learning solutions. As the voice of American publishers, AAP is dedicated to representing American publishing priorities worldwide and advancing the role of publishers in contemporary society.