WHAT IS PAGEMAJIK?
PageMajik is a Content Management System specifically tailored to the needs of publishers and content creators.
By bringing together the work of authors, editors, and designers on one intuitive platform, PageMajik streamlines the publishing process and enables effortless collaboration.
All the data submitted are stored in secure servers on the cloud, ensuring constant access to all your content. The platform's robust version control features minimize human error and enable members of your team to work together smoothly, increasing productivity and reducing costs.
Organize and Optimize
What publishers need most is a way to tap into the full potential of the resources they already have.
At the heart of PageMajik's solution to this is its "publishing-aware" CMS, which provides a centralized repository and catalogue of all files, eliminating the need for multiple local copies and the redundant duplicates that arise because of this set-up. Not only are these assets secure, they can also be accessed and retrieved with ease, creating the collaborative working environment of the future.
As a "publishing aware" CMS, PageMajik automatically creates a comprehensive folder structure for each book, which allows publishers and content creators to begin using the system right away. The roles, rights, and duties of each person can also be specified in advance, minimizing the possibility of error.
By working with the software, knowledge, and resources publishers already have, PageMajik helps organize and optimize, transforming every facet of publishing.
AUTOMATION = SAVINGS
By automating a wide variety of processes, PageMajik ensures that most routine tasks are taken care of, allowing publishers to focus on high-level editorial and creative enhancements.
A built-in authoring function gives content creators the option of using a guided authoring environment, where the next logical step will continuously be introduced, allowing them to focus on the actual writing.
PageMajik also lets authors and editors check in real-time if submission guidelines are being met. For the author, this means that the manuscript can be evaluated in terms of customizable rules and autocorrected appropriately, while for the art editor, the resolution and size of artwork can be checked against requirements.
PageMajik also uses AI innovatively to create near perfect InDesign pages without any human intervention. Instead of having your designer laboriously format manuscript elements by hand in InDesign, manuscript content is typeset into an InDesign document in a matter of minutes. This dramatically reduces the time taken and effort necessary to typeset even complex layouts.
With an average 40% saving in time due to PageMajik's automation, you get more time for the vital task of seeking out the next great idea.
Built for You. Yes, You.
PageMajik is created for every member of the publishing value chain. No matter what role you play in publishing, its architecture will seem like it has been created just for you.
This is achieved through an expansive and sophisticated ecosystem of tools, which includes a guided authoring environment for authors, customizable language rules engine for editors, automated pagination without any human intervention for designers, and a near real-time proofing system for reviewers and translators, to name a few. Taken together, these mean increased efficiency and time saved for publishers.
Everyone deserves to be pampered, right?
Works with You
What makes PageMajik essential to publishing is its ability to incorporate your workflow rules, letting you direct and control every aspect of the way information is stored, handled, and shared.
This means that you get to decide in a granular way who gets access to which information and to whom the manuscript should be sent after the completion of a certain task. This flexibility allows for customizing the chosen workflows to whatever your needs are, ensuring that PageMajik will not compel you to change anything about the way you work.
In addition, your workflows already in place can be adhered to and your existing systems can be integrated with PageMajik using an Application Program Interface (API). So, instead of imposing several strenuous steps on your way of working, the system adapts itself to your existing processes. Adoption is therefore made incredibly straightforward, meaning you can start working within the PageMajik environment with minimum onboarding and training.
PageMajik is committed to constantly stay well ahead of the field and thereby ensure our partners are never left behind.
That is why we are currently developing and honing products to meet evolving needs of publishers and their teams, which include blockchain-powered smart contracts, automatic indexing for books, keyword extraction and image classification using artificial intelligence, and machine learning to sharpen images.
PageMajik always has an eye on the horizon and constantly transforms itself, ensuring that we remain the essential publishing tool for the times.
In addition to being an all-purpose repository for your files, PageMajik provides a constellation of products carefully thought through to enhance the abilities and experience of every single member on your publishing team- including publishers, authors, illustrators, editors, designers, rights managers, index creators, sensitivity readers, and translators.
The future of publishing is here.
WordSword is an XHTML authoring environment that helps create smart manuscripts by intelligently assisting the author throughout the entire writing process.
WordSword provides a guided authoring environment, where the next appropriate style is continuously determined and suggested. At any given time, only the styles most relevant to the current context are exposed to the author. This ensures that the publisher's comprehensive templates get used without burdening the author in any way.
By ensuring that the manuscript is structured without overwhelming the author, WordSword ensures that the author can focus on the actual writing itself.
StyleFinder takes any unstructured manuscript and automatically structures it by identifying headings, paragraphs, figures, tables, references and their citations, and tagging them appropriately.
The manuscript is evaluated against the publisher's house style requirements, and any inconsistencies, non-adherence to style guidelines, grammar errors, context-based errors, and improper word usage and abbreviations are highlighted for corrective action.
The creation of bibliographies is substantially simplified since all citations and references are styled and checked for completeness. Whole bibliographies can be authenticated against major reference databases such as PubMed.
Despite these complex functions running behind the scenes, the user interface itself is completely intuitive. It includes an editor and an innovative tree-view of the document, where the content is grouped by tags rather than by the usual reading order.
EasyType uses extensive automation to create near-perfect InDesign pages without any manual intervention in a matter of minutes.
The production designer has to review the InDesign file and make minor design adjustments for aesthetic purposes. This significantly reduces the time taken and effort necessary to typeset even complex layouts.
For designs requiring creative paging, the structured output of StyleFinder is a big advantage as the styles will be applied and design elements will be placed automatically.
The designer gets an InDesign file with all the elements styled, instead of having to do this manually.
WYCIWYG (What You Change Is What You Get) is a next-gen proofreading system that lets you review and make changes in near real-time.
WYCIWYG speeds up the proofreading process by allowing authors and editors to simultaneously review PDFs and make changes into a linked XHTML file. These changes are automatically incorporated into the InDesign file and in a matter of minutes, PageMajik generates a new PDF with little or no changes to the rest of the layout.
This elimination of proof marking and its movement through multiple editors and production staff simplifies the process and minimizes the possibility of inaccuracies due to oversight and misinterpretation.
An easy-to-use interface that makes the submission of articles and abstracts less cumbersome, while automatically extracting all relevant metadata.
Store and catalogue all user files, including photos, audio, and video, which can be searched, imported, and exported whenever necessary.
All information pertaining to rights and permissions can be tracked using PageMajik's art log. Metadata on rights and permissions is embedded in the images by PageMajik.
PageMajik's inbuilt image processor lets you compare different versions of the same image, sharpen out-of-focus photos, and manipulate text in images.
An InDesign extension that allows you to search, link, and automatically update images in the PageMajik CMS from within InDesign.
The versatility and adaptability of the PageMajik system means users can produce several outputs, including books, journals, travelogues, and eBooks.
To facilitate the diversity of creative processes, the authoring system lets writers keep track of character backgrounds and plot arcs using digital flashcards, Sophisticated AI sorting enables them to compare their creative choices against alternative decisions.
Whether it is textbooks, scholarly tomes, travelogues, or biographies, PageMajik's guided authoring system ensures that publisher requirements are met. Automated pagination and near real-time proofing drastically decrease the time taken to publish.
Production and review of journals is vastly simplified. Metadata from articles can be extracted and analyzed to validate submission quality. Step-by-step guidance ensures that the submission process for abstracts and papers is made significantly more convenient for authors.
Guidebooks and travelogues that are filled with gorgeous high-quality images can now be designed in dramatically reduced time. PageMajik's InDesign extension ImageDropper, which links assets directly to the PageMajik DAM, updates changes to assets in real time to the version in the DAM.
PageMajik assists looseleaf publications by automatically identifying sections that have been modified, updating page numbers, and generating revised PDFs for proofing, thereby transforming a usually cumbersome endeavor into a quick update.
Creating posters for any event/publication requires combining contributions from multiple sources - often these are individual Word documents that need to be given specific layout treatment depending on the sequence in which they are to be displayed. EasyType handles all of this in an automated fashion, removing the need to manually style each focal point in the poster to the design envisaged.
A simple interface that allows for updating or inserting new entries in dictionaries. Alternate meanings and cross references are appropriately tagged and interlinked where appropriate.
eBooks and Digital Content
The underlying XML structure of PageMajik files allows for the rapid creation and instantaneous updating of digital content and ebooks, including pdfs, ePubs, and mobi files.
In 2016, after decades of working in publishing, our veteran team of publishing professionals and tech wizards decided to start UI Tech to provide technological solutions specially tailored to the needs of publishers. We were convinced, and remain convinced, of the need for a tech company that was not just technically proficient, but also one that knew the publishing industry well. And so PageMajik was born,and has since then remained committed to helping publishers recognize and adapt to new challenges as rapidly as possible.
Drawing inspiration from Arthur C. Clarke's observation that "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic", we are committed to constantly staying well ahead of the field. And so, while we are proud of the existing capabilities of our platform, we will always be looking to improve upon them. PageMajik always has an eye on the horizon and constantly transforms itself, ensuring that we remain the essential publishing tool for the times.
If you are intrigued and would like to know more, contact:
UI TECH SOLUTIONS PTE LTD
30 Cecil Street, #19-08 Prudential Tower, Singapore 049712
+91 99401 08004
+44 (0) 7538 842233
" It is refreshing to work with a team that understands the publisher's challenges and not just the technology. We look forward to working on offshoots of the PageMajik system and to the continued cost and time savings we have realized in the production of our product. "-Joanne Jay
Vice President, Production
Springer Publishing Company
Partnering with Springer Publishing Company
Springer Publishing Company publishes books and journals for the healthcare and helping professions. This means creating resources for diverse fields such as nursing, gerontology, rehabilitation, psychology, public health, social work, counseling, medicine, and healthcare administration. They chose PageMajik to help uphold and further their tradition of excellence and service.
A Content Management System was provided to house Springer Publishing's wealth of assets and to enable collaboration among a wide range of contributors and vendors. The built-in version control features helped users external and internal to Springer Publishing access the most up-to-date version of the content at all times.
They were interested in taking advantage of the workflow efficiencies built into PageMajik. One example is the adoption of the proofing module wyCiwyg, which resulted in a 30% cost savings. Authors and proofreaders are able to review and make changes to proofs directly using this interface and their changes, when submitted back into PageMajik, were automatically incorporated by the system. This removed the drudgery around manual transfer of edits from marked up PDF proofs to the InDesign layout and tremendously improved turnaround and accuracy.
We are extremely proud of the work we have already done with Springer Publishing. And in line with our commitment to being a dependable long-term tech partner, we will constantly be on the lookout for ways to further their vision and meeting any new needs that may arise.
The AI elephant in the room
How the prospering independent publishing sector can become even more prosperous
THE FUTURE OF RESEARCH: WHAT IS THE ANSWER?
An Antidote to the Curse of Knowledge
Removing the Pain Points in Journal Publishing
How can New University Presses be more disruptive?
A New Workplace Ethic
The Machines are Coming
The Machines are Coming
The AI elephant in the room
And other highlights from The London Book Fair 2018
Two years ago, almost to the day, Oxford University Professor Nick Bostrom, the Founding Director of the Future of Humanity Institute, addressed the crowd at The London Book Fair's Quantum Conference and gave a riveting keynote talk entitled "The Machine Intelligence Revolution".
During his presentation, he compared the likely impact of machine intelligence to that of the industrial revolution with the latter automating manual labour and the former automating intellectual labour. He also predicted that its legacy and impact on the human condition will be even more profound, and that by 2040 we will see machines capable of human-level intelligence, and very shortly after, machines achieving super-intelligence.
While the audience at the time was familiar with terms such as Big Data and augmented reality (AR), the discussion was probably the first time many had been introduced to concepts such as AI and deep learning. On that day, Bostrom didn't tackle the elephant in the room: "What impact will the machine intelligence revolution have on publishing?", but the future-gazing talk put the subject on the map and gave the industry something to think long and hard about.
At the time, several delegates dismissed the content of his talk as the stuff of science fiction, a million miles away from their day job of publishing books. For some others, however, it was the starting point of a journey of introspection, where they started to ask themselves important questions such as: How can publishers benefit from machine intelligence? What will the publisher of tomorrow look like? What are the key skills which will be needed? Which roles are likely to be affected by this machine intelligence revolution? And when and how will we need to adapt our models and working practices?
Fast forward two years and, bar a few presentations from technology brands at LBF's technology stage, Artificial Intelligence seems to have lost its prominence in the seminar programme. It remains to be seen whether or not this is because the industry is more concerned about perceived pressing short-term issues like cashing in on the growth of audiobooks and navigating global economic issues such as Brexit. It is also unclear whether and to what extent publishers today have a clear idea about its practical applications, how it will affect their businesses, and how they will adapt their practices to accommodate it, instead of being disrupted by it.
In spite of this omission, and while Bostrom's elephant in the room arguably still remains (particularly outside technology circles), significantly topics such as Blockchain and crypto culture have come to the fore in this year's LBF seminar programme. It is refreshing to see certain pockets of the industry, such as the academic, children's, and the self-publishing markets, leading the way and debating these innovations on this global stage. Here are PageMajik's top ten picks from LBF's speaking programme, for those looking to expand their minds and look to the future:
Monday, 9 April 2018, 11:30 ‐12:15
Quantum Conference (the conference centre)
Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 13:00 ‐14:00
Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 14:30 ‐15:30
Olympia Room Grand Hall
Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 15:15‐15:45
The Buzz Theatre
Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 15:45 ‐16:30
Tuesday, 10 April 2018, 16:00‐17:00
International Export Theatre
Wednesday, 11 April 2018, 13:00‐14:00
Thursday, 12 April 2018, 11:30‐12:30
Thursday, 12 April 2018, 11:45‐12:30
Thursday, 12 April 2018, 14:30‐15:30
To visit the PageMajik team at The London Book Fair please come to stands 3B28 and 3B30.
How the prospering independent publishing sector can become even more prosperous
As indie publishers gather later this week in Austin, Texas, for the annual IBPA Publishing University event, attendees will be buoyed by all the positive news and buzz currently enveloping the sector. Indie presses around the globe are reporting strong growth figures year-on-year. In the UK, Inpress revealed a 79 percent increase in sales across 60 small publishers at the back end of 2017. Meanwhile in Publishers Weekly's annual feature on fast growing US independents last April, half of the companies featured reported triple-figure growth, making 2017 the strongest year for the sector since the publication started its deep dive report 20 years ago.
In a world where big name bestselling authors get snapped up by commercially savvy publishers for seven figure advance deals, and lesser known names flock to Amazon's self-publishing platforms in the thousands, indies occupy the increasingly important middle-ground.. But what is it exactly that makes indies so appealing? And how can they build yet more on this seemingly unstoppable growth and success?
There's something about indies
Indies tend to go about things differently compared to your average publisher, often assessing writers and their work on literary merit as opposed to commercial gain. This is appealing to many authors who, aside from wanting to make money, also want to feel that their publisher has love and passion for their work. In addition, indies are also known to take a longer-term view, investing in a writer's career journey, rather than working with them on a title-by-title basis.
Some authors sign up to indies because they want a publishing house which shares their values and mission, while others have previously published books elsewhere but claim they didn't receive the editorial input or the attention, commitment and dedication they felt they needed. This is a sentiment echoed by Betsy Reavley, co-founder of Bloodhound Books, in her recent interview with the Daily Telegraph: “Some publishers will get behind a particular writer, spending most of their marketing budget on them and leaving others to languish somewhat. Of course it's about selling lots of books and making money, but it's also about being transparent, fair and giving the same opportunity to everyone.”
In essence, author care is very much where the indies excel.
But as independent publishers become larger, growing their author bases and lists each year, the inevitable tends to happen. The more they take on, often without extended resources, the more difficult it becomes to offer consistent levels of care for the author which made them such an attractive proposition in the first place. Time that was previously spent editing manuscripts, accompanying authors on tours, and marketing and promoting their books, is now spent on increasingly unmanageable workflow processes, which become a major drain on resources.
When indies expand exponentially, as they so frequently do, most do not have the appropriate IT infrastructure or tools at their disposal to cope with the dramatically increased volume of books which come their way. Their productivity is hampered and during this process of expansion the publisher's duty of care to the author, their primary USP, is eroded.
Resolving workflow issues early
The best way to avoid this unpleasant situation from arising is to address the inevitable workflow problems as early as possible. Whether you're a large publisher or whether you publish less than 50 titles a year, you will eventually find that keeping up with editorial processes, multiple versions, typesetting, proofing, image rights managements, and cover design, across multiple books, becomes arduous and time-consuming. This is the right time to invest in a software solution that can take on the heavy lifting in the workflow.
At PageMajik we work closely with independent publishers of all shapes and sizes to help make their publishing processes simpler. Our publishing workflow productivity tool takes the rigour out of publishing and can boost efficiencies of as much as 40 percent, allowing indies to get back to being indies and do what they do best.
The Future of research: what is the answer?
In scholarly publishing today, there is an on-going debate about the efficiency and accuracy of workflows, and the security of current publishing models. Digital publishing improved speed to publication and open access provided a simplified and democratized way of sharing research, but these technological advances also brought the threat of piracy, the ease of plagiarism, and the ability for researchers to publish directly, providing a flood of information for researchers to wade through in order to find something useful.
Eefke Smit, Director of Standards and Technology for the International Association of STM Publishers, made a statement last fall, “The STM publishing world is suffering its own set of trust issues at present. But even with its imperfections, the current system of academic publishing is strong and offers an efficient infrastructure.”
Piracy and Plagiarism
In this digital world, it is easy for readers to download content for free and pass off research or ideas as their own.
The last year has seen many in the scholarly community discussing how the technology blockchain – a decentralized, digitized series of information blocks shared in a peer-to-peer network – could not only eliminate plagiarism altogether, but also provide the ability for researchers to collaborate on their work more effectively.
Blockchain features individual blocks with transaction data, timestamps, and the creator's information, plus the information from the previous block as a unique and unalterable chain of information. Because each information block can be directly attributed to the author/creator, that makes collaboration simple, speeding up the research process immensely.
Last fall, Joris Van Rossum, Special Projects Director at Digital Science, published a report entitled “Blockchain for Research: Perspectives on a New Paradigm for Scholarly Communication” which outlines a number of ways in which scholarly publishing can benefit from the use of blockchain, both from a security and ease of rights management perspective.
As mentioned above, blockchain can also be used for the management of rights. Content blocks can be embedded with rights information and a Smart contract that allows easy sharing, licensing, and usage. For example, if a writer wants to use an image to illustrate a journal article, they can easily track down who holds the rights, find out the licensing cost, and who to contact in order to secure permissions, all in a matter of moments.
For publishers, this will increase revenue not only through automating the rights work and freeing up staff to do other high-level work, but it will also empower them to keep track of monies due, and available rights which can be exploited.
One of the struggles researchers, academics, and publishers now face is the saturation and sea of information which now exists as a result of Open Access. Making content discoverable and searchable has become one of the main challenges and concerns keeping publishers awake at night.
In recent years many of the innovations coming through in the industry have been geared towards troubleshooting in this arena. We've seen article-level initiatives like ORCID and Crossref come to the fore and become increasingly adopted by publishers.
Many are predicting that now that publishers have mastered metadata, SEO, and are increasingly incorporating article-level innovations, the next major step will be the adoption of AI technology. Beyond the hype and from a practical perspective it has been widely predicted that AI will have an impact on publishers' endless quest for improved discoverability, but also by driving efficiency in the editorial workflow.
Through our product suite, PageMajik, we implement tools to improve the free-flow of information into the marketplace by easing the workflow constraints and time-consuming tasks in the publishing value chain from author to publisher to reader. By improving these systems and allowing writers and publishers easily write and publish their work, we hope to play a major role in informing the future of research.
An Antidote to the Curse of Knowledge
How workflows can help manage cognitive biases that complicate and delay work
When celebrated cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker was recently asked what he considered to be the greatest impediment to clear communication, he named the “curse of knowledge”cognitive bias. This is the phenomenon where a person who knows something finds it extremely difficult to imagine what it is like to not know it. This can lead to the knowledgeable person using jargon, providing inadequate explanations, and skipping steps in descriptions. For anyone who works with others, these problems are familiar, incredibly frustrating, and until now, seemingly inescapable.
A particularly dramatic case of this is Leonard Jacobs' tale of his week from hell freelancing as blog manager at an unnamed financial publishing company. Starting from an incredibly vague job description that didn't go beyond the requirement that he “manage the blog”, to not having the relevant people informed about his arrival, to different supervisors giving inconsistent feedback, before concluding with his dismissal. This was a debacle by any measure. But the question remains: how did this happen? And why do incidents like this continue to happen so frequently in the workplace?
There are two common reasons that can be proposed: people are evil or they are plain incompetent. While the tales of sadistic bosses are certainly common enough, the publishing company employees who feature in jacobs' tale, “Maria”and “Buehler,” hardly seem wicked. And while they do seem somewhat incompetent, it might very well have turned out that they were excellent at their own jobs. I suggest the better explanation is Pinker's “curse of knowledge”, where communication breaks down in communities, not due to individual incompetence, but due to people's inability to imagine how it feels for another person to not know something. After all, the person who wrote the report made up of “just three words” probably thought it made sense, but only because they could not see in the moment how much background information would actually be required for someone else to understand. Pinker's own advice to manage this bias is to choose words more carefully and test out messaging. The problems with solutions like these are two-fold. The first is that messaging can only work if you know who the intended audience for a message is. In large organizations this is simply not going to be possible since this might not be decided until later. Moreover, the root of this bias is that people are for the most part unaware that they are being unclear, so even if they tried choosing words more carefully, they could still continue to be totally opaque.
Pinker's own advice to manage this bias is to choose words more carefully and test out messaging. The problems with solutions like these are two-fold. The first is that messaging can only work if you know who the intended audience for a message is. In large organizations this is simply not going to be possible since this might not be decided until later. Moreover, the root of this bias is that people are for the most part unaware that they are being unclear, so even if they tried choosing words more carefully, they could still continue to be totally opaque.
While no silver bullet for this problem exists, a technological solution that organizations increasingly rely on is the workflow. As Wikipedia defines it:
A workflow consists of an orchestrated and repeatable pattern of business activity enabled by the systematic organization of resources into processes that transform materials, provide services, or process information.
To put it simply, a workflow is a way of formalizing instructions and rules to govern how the workplace functions, which allocates roles, rights, and responsibilities to the various people involved in a project. This doesn't make people communicate better, but it brings about a situation where they don't have to. Now, instructions won't have to be interpreted from a few cryptic words, since they will be embedded within the system itself. This also means that people don't have to spend time and attention trying to remember what the latest set of instructions are they can just mechanically submit and let the pre-set instructions take over. And the use of automatically assigned templates can be used to make clear that there are expectations to be met and so certain kinds of reports jacobs' three word ones, for example will simply not do.
And the best part is that with sophisticated workflow tools, the sheer range of options available ensures that the chosen workflow doesn't have to be any more constricting than necessary. Human behavior is never going to be as rational or as clear as we would like, but that is no reason not to seek ways to optimize and streamline things as much as possible.
Removing the Pain Points in Journal Publishing
In December, David Crotty, Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press, published a piece in Scholarly Kitchen lamenting the shutdown of Aperta, the workflow solution created by Public Library of Science (PLOS), giving voice to the disappointment of the research community which has had “high hopes for much-needed improvements in the manuscript submission process.”
More than a decade ago, when journals and their submission process became digitized, researchers rejoiced at the speed and ease at which their work could be published and how that would change the future of scholarly publishing. What they had not anticipated was how unnecessarily complicated the submission process could become.
As Crotty notes, PLOS ran into trouble when working with different editorial teams. Each publisher has their own format and style, and submissions from researchers come in a variety of formats, with new media being added to submissions all the time – from charts to photos to videos. Publishers have their own individual workflow systems, and scientists and researchers want to publish their findings in an effort to further discovery and don't have time to figure out each individual, often labor-intensive, process. Plus, once you do figure out the submission process, as Phill Jones, Director of Publishing Innovation at Digital Science, notes in an article in Scholarly Kitchen, “People complain about slow upload speeds and poorly designed workflows that mean they have to babysit a submission for several hours.” This is unsurprising considering every effort to create a uniform, efficient submission process across all publishers has been unsuccessful.
As Jones suggests, “My advice would be for publishers to try out their submission systems themselves (under realistic conditions, with large files and multiple authors) and see how much of a pain they are to use. If you do this, you'll probably see some easy wins.” Pinker's own advice to manage this bias is to choose words more carefully and test out messaging. The problems with solutions like these are two-fold. The first is that messaging can only work if you know who the intended audience for a message is. In large organizations this is simply not going to be possible since this might not be decided until later. Moreover, the root of this bias is that people are for the most part unaware that they are being unclear, so even if they tried choosing words more carefully, they could still continue to be totally opaque.
With Open Access and the increased use of social media, the future might see researchers electing to publish and promote directly to the research community, bypassing journal publishers altogether. What journal publishers are realizing is that their future could be unstable if they don't implement a change in their publishing process.
If publishers cannot agree on one uniform style guide, then what they need is a system that easily adapts to each individual publisher's needs, while making the submission process as simple as possible for writers.
For the last two years, the team at PageMajik has been working with large and small publishers on developing a workflow solution that deals with these very issues.
The team has created a cloud-based system that allows each publisher to pre-set their specific requirements to adapt any submission automatically to the required format. The system also highlights any missing elements so writers can easily add those in and complete the submission process quickly and easily. This bespoke solution allows submissions of all types to be transformed into an easily-publishable format which will help reduce publishing gridlock on both the writer's and publisher's sides, and help researchers get their work out into the world more quickly.
As digital publishing becomes more a part of our lives, eliminating the pain points for both researchers and publishers alike will help traditional journal publishers retain their position in the publishing landscape for the foreseeable future, improve research's speed to market, and bolster the scholarly community's ability to produce top-notch work.
How can New University Presses be more disruptive?
At the Researcher to Reader conference in London last week, New University Presses (NUPs) and Academic-led Publishers (ALPs) were very much the hot topics on the agenda. With as many as 19 NUPs becoming operational in the UK in recent years (including the likes of White Rose University Press, UCL, and Cardiff University Press), there is a perceptible shift taking place in academic publishing, one which aims to put academics and institutions at the centre, prioritising their needs above all else. Many believe that this trend will be the most disruptive development the industry has seen since Open Access, once again transforming the role of publishers. But how real is the threat they actually pose? And what role will technology play in this story?
Technology is very much at the heart of everything these new outfits do. They predominantly champion digital-first business models, with the production of print products across monographs, books, and journals, usually via Print on Demand, only as secondary propositions. They are Open Access advocates through and through, driven by a need to disseminate research on the largest possible scale to meet the demands of scholars. They are increasingly investing in affordable technology and service options, which can help them establish a strong infrastructure and better manage their workflows on a day-to-day basis. And they do all this at a relatively low operational cost—their goal is not to generate revenue and they tend not to have article or book processing charges.
The Resource Issue
While many technological innovations have dramatically reduced NUP set-up and running costs, a lack of human resource has always been, and still is, the main stumbling block barring their growth, with most NUPs operating with just one full time member of staff. As they establish themselves, many NUPs are set up out of scholarly libraries, and the running of the Press becomes one in a long list of tasks the stretched, modern-day librarian must undertake. Even when an NUP is established as a separate entity with its own dedicated resources, they typically lack adequate resources to compete with more established publishers, limiting how much research can realistically be processed, disseminated, and marketed effectively.
This resourcing issue means that while some academics will indubitably choose to publish their research via their institution's Press, it is unlikely that an NUP in the early stages of its trajectory will be able to publish the vast majority of the work of their home universities' academics. So, while by nature NUPs may be perceived as radically disruptive to the hegemony of traditional publishers, when you look at the metrics of volume, scale, and resources, it is unlikely that they pose a real threat to their business, at least at present.
Machine Learning in the Workflow
One of the main challenges NUP employees face is the need to constantly juggle tasks. Staff spend far too long on editorial procedures such as indexing and inputting metadata manually to make sure research is discoverable, and end up spending very little time promoting and marketing the work so that researchers can find it. The systems most publishers have entrenched make these processes slow and arduous, not to mention susceptible to human error.
This is what makes developments in machine learning technology, and their introduction into the publishing process, so exciting, particularly for resource starved NUPs. By introducing machine learning into the workflow, we estimate that publishers can free up around 40 per cent of the time spent on manual editorial tasks. By automating these processes, NUP staff can focus instead on adding real value where human attention is needed most—on higher level work such as promoting journals and books to ensure that they reach more eyes around the globe, and actually become the disruptive threat traditional publishing fears.
A New Workplace Ethic
How Content Management Systems can help build a more respectful work environment
An enduring myth we live by is that of the lone genius—the solitary individual (usually male) who is preternaturally disposed to frequent “eureka!” moments and who possesses great personal strength, and who is the main engine of change and progress. They cast long shadows too—whether it is promising physicists having to aspire to be a “New Einstein”, entrepreneurs constantly being positioned as the “Next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs”, and even political leaders being pitched as the “Next Martin Luther King”. There' nothing inherently wrong with looking up to individuals, but what would a vision of success that stressed cooperation look like?
Enter the Content Management System or CMS. At its most basic, a CMS is an application that allows for the creation and modification of content according to a pre-selected workflow in a multi-user environment. Consider the CMS offered by PageMajik:
Since this is meant for publishing, there are five relevant tabs—manuscript (for the author), Review (for the editor), Art (for the illustrators), InDesign (for the designer), and Miscellaneous. Using a workflow chosen in advance, clear rules can be provided for how files are to be transferred and treated. For example, it can be decided that once the artwork and manuscript are uploaded, an InDesign file will automatically be created, PDF generated, and then a proofing exercise run by the author repeatedly until satisfactory. Moreover, since every file uploaded is stored on the cloud, previous versions can be looked at whenever needed, and if a newer version turns out unsatisfactory, you can just continue work on an earlier version.
One reasonable objection to such a set-up is that trying to formalize a workplace using a CMS might constrain those people who do not have a fixed way of working, those who really do rely on unpredictable “eureka!” moments. This however is not a problem for sophisticated content management systems like PageMajik'. For example, if a user wants to be unconstrained throughout, then a workflow which grants total access and management capabilities can be chosen. Alternatively, if someone wants to submit their manuscript and then be done, this is straightforward too. This way, the idiosyncrasies of individuals can be taken into account while still holding fast to the notion that every aspect of publishing deserves recognition and respect.
While the benefits of Content Management Systems are substantial and largely uncontested, what goes unmentioned is that they also instantiate a moral principle: no longer is any particular individual seen as the central point around which everything revolves. Of course, it's still the author's book and it is still the author's name that will appear on its cover. But the formal recognition that each book is a team effort, brought to fruition by many hands, is still a valuable change. At least in the day-to-day functioning, there will now be explicit acknowledgement that each person's contribution is indispensable, heralding a new and more respectful workplace ethic.
The Machines are Coming
Publishing's understandable but untenable reluctance to embrace AI
In her wildly popular TED talk, “wrongologist” Kathryn Schulz asks her audience how it feels to be wrong. Obvious responses include “dreadful”, “thumbs down”, and “embarrassing”, but Shulz points out that these are answers to a slightly different question—how it feels to realize you're wrong. Of course, realizing you're wrong can be devastating, but just being wrong itself doesn't feel like that. In fact, just being wrong feels no different from being right.
Shulz's insight here is that when we don't know something, typically we don't know that we don't know. We operate quite blissfully under false assumptions about how the world is, until we come up against reality and realize in a revelatory moment that we are, in fact, mistaken. This can be relatively harmless, as in the case of finding out your keys really aren't in your pocket. But not all cases are this benign. If you have an entire company and the livelihood of all its employees on the line, then operating under a faulty set of assumptions about the world can be catastrophic.
Consider the use of Artificial Intelligence. Data shows that at least a majority of people in almost every conceivable sector expects to switch to more AI usage in the near and mid-term:
In publishing too, there are modest signs of a systematic adoption of AI—Companies are already employing AI to target readers in customized ways that a flesh and blood publisher cannot even dream of, enhance discoverability and targeting, and Amazon is even toying with creating books written entirely by AI. Despite this, many of the publishers I have talked to remain satisfied, or at best ambivalent, with their non-AI methods of production for the foreseeable future. In some cases, this is a completely understandable attitude brought on by prior experiences with tech companies that made claims about their capabilities that their technology couldn't actually fulfill. But another significant reason seems to be a certain romanticization of the way things are, coupled with that all-too-human wishful thinking that any new problem can be addressed by simply assiduously adhering to the usual ways of working.
Unfortunately, to resist the inexorable approach of AI today is to be one of Shulz's people who is wrong but doesn't realize it, believing everything is alright even though things are already starting to shake up. As she points out, we can go some way without realizing how mistaken we are, but at some point the ground under us gives way and the truth becomes undeniable. For now, there's still time to get in front of this trend and embrace AI on our own terms. But the window is closing.
Sensitivity Readers and the C-Word
How social media outrage is changing how authors write diverse characters
When Young Adult author Laura Moriarty heard President Trump denounce Muslims en masse, she was appalled and wanted to do something. She decided to write an inspirational dystopian novel where a white teen protagonist would help resist the government's forced internment of Muslim-Americans as a straight-forward, if somewhat heavy-handed, parable for our modern times. Little did she know that she would soon be accused of insulting marginalized communities and have her book itself denounced as a “white savior narrative”. The debate over what should be allowed to be said in the public sphere, and by whom, rages more fiercely than ever.
Moriarty's protest was not the first time outrage had targeted authors who were perceived as portraying minority communities offensively in recent years. After a blogger declared that Laurie Forest's initially well-received book The Black Witch was “the most dangerous, offensive book I have ever read”, a massive online campaign was launched to keep the book off the shelves. Keira Drake's The Continent was branded“retrograde” and “racist trash”, causing the book's publication to be delayed. Mary Robinette Kowal even decided to pull a project when she was told it was “problematic”.
As a response to the increasingly frequent outrage over authorial missteps regarding characters with marginalized identities, publishers have started hiring “sensitivity readers” – people belonging to relevant marginalized groups who review manuscripts for insensitive language and cultural misrepresentation. Their pricing starts from $250 a book and it is common for an author to hire anywhere from 12 to 20+ sensitivity readers for a single novel.
Some authors have taken this change in stride and some even think this is a positive development. Fantasy writer Kate Milford, for example, sees sensitivity readers as playing an analogous function to a history expert who provides information about historic context. Just as a Victorian scholar might be called in to ensure that a book about Victorian times does not make any major factual mistakes regarding clothing or norms, a bipolar sensitivity reader might ensure that writers who aren't themselves bipolar do not make any erroneous or offensive choices regarding manic-depressive characters. As Milford puts it, “it's not that I can't empathize or do the imaginative work myself, but I want accuracy.”
Not everyone is as sanguine about this trend, however. Novelist Joyce Carol Oates scathingly tweeted what could have happened to books that are now cherished if they would have had to kowtow to the kinds of demands that sensitivity readers might want:
"Sensitivity readers" are not new--there have always been "sensitivity editors." Recall Richard Wright being told to revise certain shocking scenes in "Native Son"--result, first black novel chosen by Book of the Month Club.— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) 26 December 2017
New edition of "Huckleberry Finn" eliminates all cuss words & race to tell uplifting if unremarkable tale of two friends rafting on river. https://t.co/tVKi5uALzS— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) 26 December 2017
New edition of "Moby Dick" follows richly diverse crew on global whale-watching expedition. Not a drop of whale or human blood spilt.— Joyce Carol Oates (@JoyceCarolOates) 26 December 2017
The worry for critics like Oates is that even if the sensitivity readers are appointed for noble reasons, they risk serving as Trojan horses that sneak in censorship (the dreaded C-word!). After all, it does not seem implausible that an insistence on narrow ideas about race, gender, sexuality, disability, etc., which are currently in vogue will nudge authors into producing safer, less risky, and consequently less valuable work. After all, isn't literary progress and innovation produced by violating seemingly sacrosanct moral rules? Where would the literary cannon be without Allen Ginsberg's Howl, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn or Toni Morrison's Beloved – all books that were deemed immoral at their time of release? Should works of merit have their wings clipped by the myopia of current moral standards?
The question then seems to be: how should one maneuver between the Scylla of furthering oppression and the Charybdis of censorship creep?
One technological solution to this stand-off is the one offered by PageMajik, an even-handed approach that recognizes that both sides are relying on powerful and compelling moral principles. By offering flexible workflow management, it allows authors to fabricate writing processes specially tailored to suit their singular needs. Specifically, all decisions regarding whether, when, and how many sensitivity readers should be consulted, as well as which of their their recommendations should be accepted are left completely up to the author. This way, someone like Kate Milford can easily create an arrangement where input is gotten early and regularly, while others like Joyce Carol Oates can maintain the insularity they seek. By ensuring that all consultation is at the discretion of the writer, and more importantly, that all decision-making power resides solely with the author, the threat of censorship is mitigated while still ensuring that minority voices continue to be heard and harkened to.
This isn't a perfect solution, of course – opponents of sensitivity readers will argue that the threat of censorship creep remains, while supporters will criticize how marginalized voices can still easily be shut out. Still, given the set of incompatible moral demands laid on us, PageMajik's ceasefire might very well be the best of our available options.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Do I need expert help to get PageMajik working for me?
- Do you have a ‘Try before you Buy’ program?
- Okay, I've chosen PageMajik. But how does it benefit me as a user?
- How long does it take to finish the installation from the date of order acceptance?
- And how much time does it take to transfer these projects?
- How many hours of training is required to operate PageMajik? Will training/support be provided by UI Tech?
- Do I need to invest in new computer hardware to get PageMajik running?
- Are there any hidden costs that I should be aware of when ordering PageMajik? For instance, would you charge me additional charges for customization with a new installation?
- What is the expected data availability and do I need to back-up data at regular intervals?
- Do you have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan?
- Will PageMajik work both on Mac and PC?
- Can PageMajik exchange data with other similar industry standard systems?
- What version of Adobe InDesign do I need to use PageMajik?
- What versions of Microsoft Word is supported by PageMajik?
- Which browser would you recommend as the ideal choice for PageMajik?
- How will an internal quality check verify the revised proof PDF of PageMajik's WYCIWYG workflow?
- Will there be a problem if an XML workflow based on a specific DTD is being followed throughout?
- Can XML files be uploaded as ‘Manuscript’ in case of an XML workflow?
- If we use an XML workflow, would edits made to the XHTML file update the background XML when the changes are taken into InDesign?
- If we work in an XML workflow, would changes to the XHTML be reflected in the background XML of InDesign?
- Why do you use xhtml for WordSword instead of xml?
- If I notice any bugs during the engagement period, will UI Tech fix them? If yes, what will be the turnaround time?
- What are the hours of Support at your helpdesk?
- Is PageMajik sold as a perpetual license or as a subscription license?
- Can you demonstrate successful similar deployments of PageMajik?
- Do you offer multi-tenancy?
- You talk of PageMajik being future-proofed? Can you explain?
- How much time would it take to change my tagging structure for my files to work within PageMajik?
Do I need expert help to get PageMajik working for me?
PageMajik is absolutely easy to use and requires no expert help in its day-to-day use. However, for your convenience, we will offer you expert assistance to ensure that PageMajik is up and running at your end. Our services to you on this front include creating user profiles and sharing credentials, and also assisting you with your first few projects, should you need it. In addition, PageMajik's online Help function is always present as part of your system to offer you instant assistance, whenever you need it.
Do you have a ‘Try before you Buy’ program?
We will be delighted to provide you with a first-hand feel of PageMajik. All you need to do is provide us with sample files. Using this, we can set up a trial site for a restricted timeframe for you to explore the system's functions and features.
Okay, I've chosen PageMajik. But how does it benefit me as a user?
If you are providing composition and project management services to a publisher, what is sure to interest you is PageMajik's ability to: - pour content into a template and provide galleys - update changes made during review using an XHTML file back into the application file, and - be a cost-effective solution for content management. If you are a publisher, PageMajik can also offer you incredible value as a content repository and by offering you a bird's eye view of all your publications. You can port your content into the system and have the flexibility of allowing your suppliers to work in the same space so that everyone is sharing one version of the content at all times.
How long does it take to finish the installation from the date of order acceptance?
PageMajik can be installed in your system almost immediately after your order has been processed. The actual installation time is just around six hours. This excludes the time taken to transfer your live projects to the system during the transition.
And how much time does it take to transfer these projects?
That depends on the number of projects you wish to move to PageMajik.
How many hours of training is required to operate PageMajik? Will training/support be provided by UI Tech?
PageMajik has been designed in such a way that it is easy to use and takes very little time to familiarize. To make your transition to PageMajik smooth and comfortable, we offer two to three formal training sessions to help you get the best out of this unique online publishing system. After you go live, you can reach out to our Help Desk for any real-time support or for any further assistance.
Do I need to invest in new computer hardware to get PageMajik running?
One of the striking features of PageMajik is its simplicity in design. While it is exhaustive and robust in its features, it does not require any additional hardware. PageMajik is hosted on AWS (Amazon Web Server) and can be accessed using a web browser. What you need to have at your end are licenses for Adobe InDesign and MS Word (2010 or later) for performing file-related tasks.
Are there any hidden costs that I should be aware of when ordering PageMajik? For instance,would you charge me additional charges for customization with a new installation?
There are absolutely no hidden costs with PageMajik. Customization charges will depend on the nature and complexity of your request. Should you require such services, the costs for the same will be intimated to you on request.
What is the expected data availability and do I need to back-up data at regular intervals?
All your files will be saved on Amazon cloud, so you can be assured of 100% data integrity and backup at all times.
Do you have a comprehensive disaster recovery plan?
With PageMajik, you don't need to have any concerns regarding lost files or data. PageMajik is hosted on AWS. So, in the case of an eventuality, you are assured of a secure data back-up and recovery system.
Will PageMajik work both on Mac and PC?
Yes, PageMajik is ideally suited to work on both Mac and Windows environments.
Can PageMajik exchange data with other similar industry standard systems?
This is possible if the systems you are referring to provide an API (application program interface) call. A certain degree of customization can help facilitate exchange of information with PageMajik.
What version of Adobe InDesign do I need to use PageMajik?
You will need Adobe InDesign CS6 or later for PageMajik to run in your system. This is to enable you to make the best use of PageMajik's functionalities to generate and update proofs. If you are using PageMajik to store InDesign files, any version of InDesign can be uploaded.
Which browser would you recommend as the ideal choice for PageMajik?
Google Chrome would be our first choice of browser for PageMajik.
How will an internal quality check verify the revised proof PDF of PageMajik's WYCIWYG workflow?
PageMajik stores versions, and these are accessible to users. Your QC person can check PageMajik's updated (revised) PDF against the (previous) XHTML version, with the ‘track changes’ feature. The two files can be opened in WYCIWYG and the tracked changes visible in the XHTML window can be checked against the PDF. Please note that a click on the PDF will not bring up the appropriate location in the XHTML as in this case the two files are not synchronized versions.
Will there be a problem if an XML workflow based on a specific DTD is being followed throughout?
Absolutely not. What's more, the XML will be preserved.
Can XML files be uploaded as ‘Manuscript’ in case of an XML workflow?
Sure, XML files can be uploaded into the Manuscript folder. And if you have your own way of converting the XML into InDesign, your next step would be to upload the InDesign files into the ‘InDesign’ folder.
If we use an XML workflow, would edits made to the XHTML file update the background XML when the changes are taken into InDesign?
PageMajik will mimic InDesign's behavior when changes are made to InDesign files and there is XML in the background. The content changes will automatically be reflected in the background XML.
If we work in an XML workflow, would changes to the XHTML be reflected in the background XML of InDesign?
No, the changes will not be reflected in the XML.
Why do you use xhtml for WordSword instead of xml?
We find that xhtml gives more value, since authors only tend to be concerned with text and content. However, you can still open xml too within the editor and so this does not make any difference at all.
If I notice any bugs during the engagement period, will UI Tech fix them? If yes, what will be the turnaround time?
You can be assured that we will be with you right through the initial months, as you transition from your current mode of operation onto PageMajik. For the first three months, we will provide 100% support, both online and on-call, for any bug or transition issues. For future upgrade availability, a Technical Information Letter will be sent to the designated contact person, as per our records.
What are the hours of Support at your helpdesk?
At UI Tech, we are available round the clock to address any of your support requirements. Our 24-hour support team can be accessed both by email and phone. The TAT (turnaround time) for any email concern is four hours.
Is PageMajik sold as a perpetual license or as a subscription license?
You can choose to invest in PageMajik either as a perpetual license-based model or on a subscription model, depending on your need.
Can you demonstrate successful similar deployments of PageMajik?
Our client list includes names like KLI, S4Carlisle, and Springer Publishing, who have used PageMajik to their advantage. We can provide case studies of such successful implementation based on request.
Do you offer multi-tenancy?
We should be in a position to offer multi-tenancy very shortly. Our Server/Online version is currently in Beta testing stage.
You talk of PageMajik being future-proofed? Can you explain?
Of late, the publishing industry has been witnessing a ‘digital divide’. And to make sure that we - and you - are on the right side of it, we have already begun addressing this issue with PageMajik. For starters, we have incorporated greater automation of processes to reduce human intervention and error percentage.
How much time would it take to change my tagging structure for my files to work within PageMajik?
Zero, because you do not need to do this at all! PageMajik can be customized to accept your files and you can continue to use the identifiers that you are familiar with.
What versions of Microsoft Word is supported by PageMajik?
We recommend MS Word 2010 or later versions for PageMajik.