We were extremely excited to hear from IOP Publishing. Science publishers do vital and inspiring work, and, at Consonance HQ, we get a real kick out of supporting them. We embarked on the RFP process with enthusiasm.

Why IOP Publishing chose Consonance

Despite stiff competition, we were delighted that Consonance’s usefulness and intuitive interface stood out.

Christian Box, Head of Sales Operations, explained their choice:

We were hugely impressed with the interface and user design elements of Consonance, and the modern approach to system architecture which we feel is well placed to grow with us as our programme grows.

IOP Publishing were also impressed by our expertise, and keen to work with Consonance’s David Aldridge on metadata, whom they’ve since described as a true expert in the field.

A smart team, investing in design and technology

IOP marketing materials on-site

IOP Publishing impressed us from the outset with their strategic mindset.

They had invested time in defining their value to the scientific community as a publisher and were committed to investing in the technology to support it.

Their investment in Design, too, shone through their unique, in-house Studio, whose design principles unified their books, covers and marketing materials and generated a palpable sense of pride throughout the team.

This was a skilled and technical organisation with a growing title count. Their manual systems had served them in the early days, but they were now outgrowing them. With talented staff spending increasing amounts of time chasing and correcting data, it was time to invest in a convenient, central source of truth.

IOP’s objectives

  • Streamline workflow
  • Improve metadata
  • Automate marketing materials
  • Automate data feeds to retailers and distributors

Measuring and learning

IOP Publishing were keen to publish ever more efficiently, from acquisition to publication.

To that end, they aspired to measure the entire process from acquisition to manuscript delivery, production and publication. Consonance would handle IOP’s workflow from contract to production, capturing data on key dates to help IOP streamline and shorten their process over time.

There was also the possibility of an integration with Salesforce down the line, which IOP use to streamline and manage their acquisitions process. This would be technically feasible given Consonance’s Platform-as-a-service provider, Heroku, which has a tried-and-tested Connect service with Salesforce.

It was an exciting brief!

What we did

  • Migrated IOP’s data from Confluence and ONIX Edit into Consonance
  • Designed a bespoke AI to match IOP’s original
  • Trained up the team
  • Integrated a daily price and availability feed from NBNi
  • Prepared a reporting area in our database for IOP’s Business Intelligence team to directly access metadata
  • Set up production schedules on Consonance
  • Set up daily automatic ONIX feeds to their key trading partners and metadata aggregators.

IOP Publishing’s AI

Automatically generated, AIs can also be downloaded across titles in bulk in a few short clicks.

Briefing templates: a highlight

Consonance’s power is in being a ‘canonical source of truth’: one up-to-date, accurate data source. The beauty of this is the ability to reuse this data in many automatic ways.

IOP’s beautiful briefings templates are one of many examples, used for handing over work between departments:

Briefing template

The cover, title, description and other metadata fields feed onto the briefing document automatically, and the headers are templated. The briefing team adds in their unique instructions, and - bam - a delightful and impressive-looking PDF is created in Consonance.

Briefings save IOP Publishing from manually creating these documents and copying and pasting data and eliminate the risk of inaccuracy. More importantly, the templates are stored in Consonance for posterity. That’s invaluable for problem-solving down the line and for reflection, refinement and continuous improvement.

Next steps from here

The IOP Publishing team are up-and-running, feeling the benefits of having everything in one place. Their metadata - including their collections of ebooks, known internally as ‘releases’ - is stored and structured for the future.

Automated data feeds, AIs and briefings have already saved hours of manual data re-entry. And production schedules are enabling them to measure their workflow in readiness for a bumper 2018.

Nevertheless, this is just the beginning of a long-term partnership. We have several projects planned or underway to radically automate more of IOP’s workflow - and which we hope will benefit the client-base as a whole.

Ebooks Product Manager Callum MacKay, who expertly managed the implementation on IOP’s side, reflects on where we are now:

The automation of ONIX to distribution channels saves us a huge amount of time and effort. The relationship with your team - David Aldridge in particular - allows us to develop our existing metadata, and develop new product metadata and mechanisms too using Consonance as a source. This is really valuable.

We’re proud to be equipping this talented team to bring ever more benefit to the scientific community.

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