The Slow Pace of Academic Publishing

The academic publishing industry is extremely competitive. An increasing number of scholars compete for a limited number of spots in journals across industries. Academic journals serve as a primary source of discovery in a publish or perish world.

Work published in journals is predominantly available to researchers through institutional access. Without institutional access there is a very narrow path to accessibility.

We explore ways to increase accessibility, including academic research that goes unpublished.

Key Insight

The Backlog of Publishing

A number of prominent journals publish no more than 10% of papers submitted. A critical problem in academic publishing is backlog of papers and other academic works, which occur for various reasons: Backlogs are constructed to maintain prestige through supply and demand. A growing set of standards in publishing continuously shape new bars.

Strategy & Approach

Discovery In An Open Access Framework

We see the benefit in publishing entire bodies of work: articles, essays, notes, images, graphs, and lectures. We used to publish notes in journals, we should do more of this again.

We created interactive design prototypes to test and explore functions. We chatted with editors, leadership, engineers, and academics on publishing objectives, and explored how we could meet these objectives through technology.

Core capabilities come into focus:

  • Effective user interface
  • Semantic search engine
  • Link bodies of work in a hierarchy
  • Upload papers or pull in metadata
  • Save and organize papers categorically

Key Insight

Survivorship Bias In Academic Publishing

What if answers to the worlds most pertinent questions in science and academia did not solely exist in published journals, but also in the unpublished. The survivorship bias of publishing describes the error of looking only at subjects that have reached a certain point, without considering the invisible subjects who haven’t.

How contemporary journals affects the scientific truths of our era


A Technological Approach To Open Access Publishing

After several iterations of UI/UX interface design we found users preferred a minimalistic approach, such as uploading documents as opposed to typing documents into a native editor. There is important work being done on what the foundational principles of open access publishing might look like, so we took a technological approach and focused on how better technology implementation could best serve these objectives.

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