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The Read & Publish User Journey: Delivering a Unified Reader & Author Experience

During UKSG 2023, we had the opportunity to moderate a session on author experience with a panel of knowledgeable speakers. For those who were unable to attend, we have put together a brief summary of the presentations given during the session.

Event duration April 24, 2023


Our Head of Publisher Relations, Romy Beard, recently moderated an engaging session at UKSG with an experienced panel of speakers featured Shelley Allen, Head of Open Research at Emerald Publishing, Suzanne Atkins, Open Access Librarian at the University of Birmingham, and Robert Scaysbrook, Head of Global Sales and Partnerships at OpenAthens. 

Throughout the presentation, the speakers shared their experiences and insights on the challenges and opportunities surrounding the read and publish journey. The session provided valuable information for institutions, publishers, and authors alike, highlighting the importance of creating a more streamlined and accessible journey for researchers, but if you didn’t get to attend, we have written the key points down below. 

University of Birmingham: Calls for removal of barriers that complicate the publishing journey

Up first was Suzanne Atkins from the University of Birmingham, who discussed the challenges they face in their read and publish (R&P) journey – especially the publish part. Some of the issues they encounter include authors identifying journals by title rather than by publisher, which can create uncertainty about whether their output is covered. Their agreements vary and are at the publisher, not journal level. Additionally, authors are concerned about being compliant with their funders because navigating agreements can be complicated, especially when article types are not covered, and there are license issues. Institutions need to ensure that they use their finite library funds optimally by knowing which agreements are most valuable.

Looking to the future, the University of Birmingham would like to see several improvements, including a one-step author verification process for both read and publish, which can only be achieved once some of the barriers that complicate the publishing journey have been removed – at the moment there is just much variance across agreements. Ideally, all agreements should include CC BY licences by default, not have any caps, cover all journals by a given publisher as well as all article types, have more relaxed rules around the corresponding author, and allow Rights Retention for all Author Accepted Manuscripts. In addition, Suzanne would like to see reporting available in a standardized format as part of agreements. The hope is that these changes will create a more streamlined and accessible R&P journey for researchers.

OpenAthens: how attributes can improve user experience

Next up was Robert Scaysbrook from OpenAthens, who delved into the topic of how attributes used in authentication can enhance the author experience. He began by showcasing examples of federated authentication, highlighting the need for more secure login processes. He suggested that this authentication could be helpful in the read and publish user journey, as attributes are already part of the authentication process when logging in. 

He then explained how this process works from a library perspective, where configuration is required to set up a connection to OpenAthens, followed by the decision of when to send off this information. Additionally, they ensure that no personal information is passed on by using REFEDS to govern the exchange of attributes. Scaysbrook posed the question of whether the author's attributes could enhance this journey further. He explained that OpenAthens has worked with Elsevier to enable granular usage reports without compromising user anonymity. However, he emphasized that trust is critical between libraries and publishers to ensure the effective implementation of this system. 

Emerald Publishing: Delivering a combined journey for readers & authors

Shelley Allen, Head of Open Research at Emerald Publishing, presented a compelling case study on how Emerald Submit is delivering a combined journey for readers and authors. 

She began by showcasing their previous journey, where they used various platforms and content systems that were all siloed from each other, resulting in a less-than-ideal user experience. However, as they began building their new platform, they realized how they could create a more seamless experience for their users. 

One of the key aspects of their improved journey was the automated application of transformative agreements, which were previously manually applied. Through their partnership with LibLynx and ChronosHub, they were able to provide a platform that not only supports authors in understanding their entitlements but also provides a one-stop-shop for accessing everything from one account. Shelley highlighted the importance of author support in terms of publisher agreements, particularly post-acceptance, and shared a voucher report, which showed how easy the process is for Emerald when they log into Emerald Submit. Authors have also provided fantastic feedback, describing the process as easy, clear, and simple. 

As for the next steps, Emerald plans to bring this experience further downstream into the submission workflow so authors know what they are entitled to and how to use it. They also aim to work with other partners to ensure a seamless experience for users within the Emerald world. 

If you have any questions regarding this session, or ChronosHub, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! 

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Head of Publisher Relations at ChronosHub
Romy Beard

Romy is specialized in the academic online publishing industry, with a focus on publisher relations. And she’s one of our key experts in Open Access publishing terms. 

Romy Beard

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