by Mike Groth
For many of our publishing partners and customers, 2021 was a transient year. As the industry dusted itself off from the grueling onslaught of 2020, publishers emerged with renewed optimism and a will to experiment with new technologies, models, ideas, and ways of working.
For the team at KGL PubFactory, 2021 was also a time for optimism—a year in which exciting new partnerships were forged and important developments were made, as we watched the community continue to grow and flourish. We took some time to talk to José Fossi, PubFactory co-founder and VP of Client Services, to reflect on the last year in scholarly publishing and his own professional highlights.
MG: Publishing platforms need to constantly innovate in order to cater to the evolving needs of content providers. In your opinion, which were the most exciting platform developments that took shape at during 2021?
JF: Leading up to 2021, we recognized a need in the marketplace for publishers to increase discoverability and enrich the user experience with different types of searchable, authored content like blogs, news, white papers, and podcasts. So last year we launched PubGen, a premium CMS enhancement for producing interactive and dynamic content. In addition to unifying delivery of traditional and flexible content types, PubGen allows our customers to respond creatively and quickly to both internal and external drivers.
Another pivotal moment of the year was when KGL acquired Baltimore-based editorial and consultancy firm, Kaufman Wills Fusting & Company (KWF), adding the expertise of KWF Consulting in strategic planning, new product development and market research; in addition to the editorial and peer review services offered by sister company, KWF Editorial.
MG: Tell us about some of the new PubFactory community members and the migrations which have impressed you most this last year.
JF: Every customer migration is unique. But I like to think over the years we have become more efficient at migrating new and existing KGL customers to our platform, no matter what their story. An array of customers came aboard with us during 2021, each with its own individual requirements, complexities, and challenges; and we worked hard to deliver speedy migrations and diligently move across a great deal of content in the process.
In January 2021, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) launched a brand-new journal website with us, hosting content from the Society’s 11 journals. The complex migration process required us to onboard the Society’s entire archive of 117,000 articles, dating back to 1920. Meanwhile, another notable society publisher, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), went live with its new website housing its two prestigious flagship journals. Working closely with the Association, we set to work on a rapid six-month migration that included the conversion of 13,000 archive articles dating back to 2000. And finally, at the end of the year, a long-time customer of our sister company Sheridan, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), joined PubFactory to produce a new journal website and transfer 6,500 articles in just 10 weeks.
PubFactory also participated last year on NISO’s Content Platform Migration Working Group to develop best practices across publishers, platform vendors, and academic library stakeholders. Our own Tom Beyer presented outcomes and lessons learned at ER&L, ALA Annual, and the Charleston Conference. The final Recommended Practice report was published in November.
MG: Since the pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in publishers exploring different content forms. What developments have you witnessed in this space among PubFactory customers?
JF: The move towards integrating different types of content is very much something we have seen reflected in our customers’ requirements, particularly in 2021. We worked with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) on a new platform to host its front and backlist ebooks, and teamed up with Bristol University Press to deliver its forthcoming hybrid books and journal platform, housing 6,500 journal articles across its 16 titles, in addition to 1,500 books.
Beyond books and journals, and as has been reported elsewhere on our site, we have also seen a rise in demand for video functionality to be embedded into publishing platforms. Teaming up with our video partner, Cadmore Media, our customer the Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group is a great example of a publisher experimenting with mixed content forms to the benefit of its members, launching its very own video-based journal, Neurosurgical Focus: Video.
MG: A year-and-a-half since the formation of KGL, how are customers now able to benefit from the consolidation of services across the group?
JF: One of the most satisfying things to come out of 2021 for us as a company was that as part of the KGL and Sheridan family, we could truly offer a one-stop content solution. Current and prospective customers began to look across our business and explore new ways we could work together to eliminate handoffs and delays.
We saw customers such as the aforementioned AVMA and APMA, both longstanding Sheridan print services clients, launch their journals platforms with PubFactory and utilize KGL production and composition services. Meanwhile, KGL customer, American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH) extended its journal production and fulfilment relationship to PubFactory hosting its site, and AMS added KGL workflows and Smart Proof author proofing in addition to its new journal portal. As a family of publishing service brands with a growing portfolio of integrated solutions, we are starting to witness the end user benefits this group-wide partnership can bring to our customers, and long may it continue.
José Fossi is VP of Client Services and co-founder of the KGL PubFactory platform. He oversees the breadth of the PubFactory business and focuses on operations, excellence in delivery, and the scaling of PubFactory technologies. He can be reached at email@example.com