Major Non-Profit Publisher Boosts Capacity, Reaps Large Savings and Greater Flexibility from Outsourced Copy-Editing Project
Acquiring new content from up-and-coming scientists represents more than just an important revenue stream for major scientific publishers; it also reaffirms and enhances their stature in the scientific community. Without continually refreshing their intellectual content, scientific publishers quickly lose standing and readers.
Finding new content is a challenge for all of the publishers in the scientific community, including the publishing giant that is the focus of this case study. In the year before turning to Innodata, this non-profit publisher produced 91 individual journals, 750 total issues and more than 35,000 articles. To keep up with content demands, the publisher employed a large team of talented editors, writers and graphic artists. Adding new content, however, is not as simple as finding the supply necessary to meet demand. Each new manuscript must go through a detailed editing process, which includes copy-editing the text for accuracy and consistency before it is moved into production.
The publisher was under tremendous pressure to control costs, which meant that hiring staff members to handle the additional workflow was not possible. How could this non-profit publisher aggressively seek new content for its vast portfolio of print and online publications without a corresponding spike in overhead costs?
The non-profit publisher chose to outsource its copy editing to Innodata, based on our experience with editorial services and our ability to quickly mobilize a team of subject matter experts to review the manuscripts. As part of our abstracting and indexing services for a wide range of clients, Innodata had already built a strong team of domain experts in scientific disciplines, such as chemistry and physics. This was a critical requirement. To edit the manuscripts, which were often written by non-native English speakers, the copy-editors used their understanding of the subject in order to use proper terminology and make the text more readable.
Innodata was already performing data conversion services for several of the publisher’s journals, so it was relatively easy to set-up a workflow for the pilot. One of the premier journals was chosen for the project, because we were already familiar with its production. The pilot was successful and has bloomed into an ongoing project.
Every week, the publisher submits original manuscripts to Innodata's content services center in Asia. Using The Chicago Manual of Style as a guide, copy-editors review the 20-30 page manuscripts, checking the documents for run-on sentences, inconsistencies and factual errors.
The copy-edited manuscripts are returned to the publisher within five business days. During the pilot, the documents were returned electronically in PDF format. Now that production has kicked into high gear, however, the Innodata team also incorporates the copy-edits into the XML document, merging two steps in the production process. An editor in New York continues to do a final review of manuscripts before they are published.
This project has provided Innodata's client with several important benefits. Perhaps most importantly, the cost-savings have been tremendous. Sending the copy-editing work to Innodata spares the publisher from having to hire additional copy-editors at a much higher rate.
Moreover, while copy-editing is an important step in the editorial process, it doesn’t add as much value to the final product as an editor who is free to spend a significant amount of time helping an author revise a manuscript. In addition, the publisher’s editors are now able to concentrate on their more strategic tasks, which include collaborating with authors to launch new publications and ensuring that the existing journals remain highly relevant.
The on-demand services have provided the publisher with greater flexibility regarding its ongoing activities. The publisher can easily ramp-up if it decides to launch a new publication. Conversely, if it needs to close a publication, it may decide not to eliminate permanent, or freelance, staff members.
After starting out with a smaller number of projects, the publisher awarded Innodata broader copy-editing responsibilities for its entire portfolio (which includes more than 80 journals). The move will help the publisher’s editorial team continue to reduce editorial costs and expand its ability to develop new content for its readers.