In a recent survey by Editage Insights, academic authors were surveyed on how happy they are with the status of the academic publishing system. The long publication time was the main challenge recognized by the majority of respondents. The publication process is a double edged sword; it propels academic researchers’ careers and our collective knowledge, but costs them a great deal of time, and exponentially so as research output grows. AI offers much needed help. With a closer look at the publication process, we identify ways AI reduces time to publication for reviewers and editors.
Imagine life as a researcher. You are well on track in your career; you research an exciting topic, you contribute to your research field with your newest findings, and you share your insights in lectures and presentations. Other researchers act as reviewers on your papers and help you improve your manuscripts whenever you submit to a journal. Concurrently, you return the favor by reviewing other researchers’ manuscripts.
Sometimes, manuscripts that arrive at your desk need a few tweaks to meet acceptance criteria. Other times, manuscripts call for a lot more attention. Attention that you take away from your current research, your lectures and let’s be frank – your late nights. Sometimes these manuscripts will require extensive time that you don’t have available. With limited time available, you keep extending the deadline for returning the manuscript to the journal. This eventually drags out the time to publication.
Now, imagine how AI could help reviewers and editors focus more in the reviewing process. Services powered by AI could support reviewers and editors in getting an overview of how well versed a manuscript’s author and co-authors are in the field by automatically identifying similar articles written by them. Or automatically identify overlapping findings in other very similar articles that could lead to questioning the newsworthiness or rigor of the findings in the manuscript. At the time same, these services could auto identify contradicting findings in the literature that the author might not have mentioned in the manuscript.
On a more textual level, AI could recommend missing terms or sentences in an abstract to make the abstract more aligned with how other abstracts have been written in the same journal, or the wider field. Or automatically identify outdated terms that don’t comply with the most recent terms within a field.
AI could augment reviewers and editors with tools that analyze and digest millions of existing research papers, and use this as background knowledge when assessing any new manuscript. Ultimately, for reviewers and editors this helps draw their attention to things that software picks up on based on pattern recognition beyond human capacity, yet still leave decisions to be made by humans.
Examples of how AI could assist reviewers
To anyone working in the field of research, anyone who has ever reviewed, authored or edited, or provided the framework for publishing as publishers and associations, it is evident beyond any survey and any doubt that editors, reviewers, and authors are increasingly pressed for time. Expectations for personalized services that separate signal from noise and present information to people with appropriate interests will continue to increase just as the amount of information exponentially grows. AI offers solutions today that can help us use our increasingly limited time to process information more efficiently.
If you have read this far, you have spent many more minutes reading this than AI would have spent matching all the manuscripts submitted in a year with all the authors in existence. AI isn’t the future, it is the present, and for every year that passes a younger generation of researchers is emerging who will take these solutions for granted. Publishers can and should already now take advantage of the benefits that AI brings to the table. Providing smart ways of reducing time spent by their volunteers to build value is the greatest single benefit and return they can provide their communities.
Please contact us to learn more about how your own publishing business can benefit from AI – whether you look for enhancing the reviewer and authoring process, improving search and discovery on your website or you want to make use of existing content in new ways.