Tag Archive: Academic publishing

  • TBI Communications at ALPSP 2018

    TBI Communications has regularly attended the ALPSP annual conferences for the past ten years. The Conference has always offered a wide-ranging program, expert speakers and provides a friendly forum for everyone in the scholarly publishing community to share information and knowledge, learn about new initiatives and engage in open discussions on the challenges and opportunities in the industry.

    This year’s ALPSP conference had several sessions that stood out for us, one of which was the address by the keynote speaker Prof. Chris Jackson from Imperial College London. Prof. Jackson’s address titled ‘Adventures in Publishing’, gave a refreshing author perspective on several different topics and challenges in the industry. He had a strong message for the attending publishers and societies – which we thought he summarised nicely on this one slide.

    In particular his point about ‘building brand loyalty, and using it to attract and retain authors’, certainly resonated with us. Many societies and publishers we have worked with recently have recognised the importance of developing author loyalty programs to build brand recognition. The starting point for our work with them is understanding author behaviours, assessing the various challenges they face throughout their career stage – whether that’s securing funding, time management, or making their research discoverable. From this research, we develop messaging recommendations, a detailed plan of marketing activities and content assets to support our author campaigns.

    One of the other stand-out sessions for us was the ‘Tackling harassment and the roots of gender bias’ plenary session. The talks and Q&A really engaged people. If you would like to find out more about publisher initiatives in educating their staff – in order to manage effectively this sensitive topic, you can listen to this session here. A big shout out to ALPSP for organising this as a plenary session, and recognising its importance.

    In between the opening and closing sessions, we enjoyed the fun traditional quiz night, plenty of opportunities to socialise with our clients and colleagues in the industry, but certainly, the highlight for us was celebrating the success of one of our clients – Code Ocean winning this year’s ALPSP award for Innovation in Publishing! It was another great conference and we certainly look forward to the next one.



  • The Power of Partnership and Collaboration in the Publishing Industry

    At TBI Communications we understand the challenges publishers and societies face particularly when it comes to keeping up to speed with new technological developments in our industry.

    Over the years we have forged close partnerships with many technology providers, which has certainly added to the spectrum of our marketing capabilities, strengthened the strategic partnerships with our existing publishing partners and opened the doors to many new ones. Understandably, we jumped at the opportunity to attend ‘The power of Partnership and Collaboration in the Publishing Industry’ seminar organised by ALPSP this month to find out how other organisations in our industry collaborate and partner with each other.

    Our expectations were exceeded with some very interesting presentations. Dr. Joris Van Rossum, Director of Special Projects at Digital Science was presenting on the very topical issue of blockchain. Blockchain is a new technology that could radically change many industries and this presentation zoomed in on its potential to transform scholarly communication and research, focusing on important initiatives in the field. Dr. Rossum discussed in detail how blockchain technology can impact many critical aspects of scholarly communication such as open science and reproducibility, and how it opens the possibility to share data in a safe, transparent way through new forms of partnerships. Many questions followed, and it certainly whetted our appetite to discover more. For anybody that wants to get a better grasp on the subject, Dr. Rossum has published a report entitled ‘Blockchain for Research – Perspectives on a New Paradigm for Scholarly Communication’, which is available to download on Figshare.

    We found the presentations by 67 Bricks Ltd and Wisdom.ai particularly interesting – both sharing ideas on how AI and machine learning can aid the longstanding issues in the global research landscape of discoverability and advance the future of scholarly communication by integrating these new technologies within publishers’ processes. David Leeming, Head of Client Services at 67 Bricks gave an interesting example of the Washington Post’s Robot Reporter that has published 850 articles within a year – helping expand their audience and freeing up about 20% of journalist time to do more high-value work.

    Refreshingly free of information overload and very enjoyable were the talks by OUP and Kudos. They gave examples of how they collaborate with other partners within the scholarly publishing sphere to achieve technological innovations and serve our community better.

    In our opinion, ALPSP has delivered yet again another well received, well attended and very informative seminar. The day gave an interesting insight into some great ideas for collaboration, promising to push the boundaries of traditional publishing and advance the future of scholarly communication.

    Here at TBI Communications, we have certainly seen demand from organisations that want to collaborate with us to upscale their marketing activities and strengthen their position in the industry. For more information on the type of strategic partnerships and projects we have been involved with visit our website or contact us at info@tbicommunications.com.

  • Getting the most out of social media – Facebook

    Social media is still a relatively young technology in the context of scholarly communications, with many organisations still trying to find the right way to maximise the strengths of the most popular networks. If you’re still finding your way in social media, there are a few simple – yet often overlooked – tactics that can make the difference between making a conversation spark or fizzle.


    Facebook’s immense popularity – with roughly one in seven people worldwide maintaining a profile – means that it’s often the first port of call when building a social media strategy. But are you making the most of your followers’ connection with your brand?


    One of the defining factors of Facebook is that, in most cases, people tend to use the site as a respite from professional life. That’s not to say that content aimed at ‘the day job’ doesn’t gain traction, as there are countless journals and learned societies that do a great job of engaging their audience through Facebook. Rather, it’s a question of choosing the right stories to feature.

    Put simply, the content on Facebook that gets the most traction is that which generates an emotional reaction, whether that’s a gasp of admiration, laughter at a punch line, or a grin of acknowledgement as people interact with a story that impresses them. Announcing the publication of a new journal issue might not get those reactions from your followers, but putting a spotlight on a ground-breaking article, challenging opinion, or thoughtful editorial piece within tends to increase re-posts and comments – extending that post’s reach beyond direct followers. (Unsurprisingly, posts relating to serious society/company business – aside from conferences and other events – tend to generate significantly fewer interactions.)


    Tone of voice is also an important consideration. All too many organizations use the same uniform tone across all communication channels, but the personal touch is far more appropriate in social media. Whereas a brochure or email campaign might need to speak for your organization as a whole, keeping a light-hearted, conversational tone in Facebook posts will make them feel less like a one-way broadcast and more like part of a conversation – which is the precise strength of social media. Don’t be afraid to add some personality to your organisation’s Facebook posts!


    If your social media strategy needs a further boost, TBI can help with anything from communications audits to staff training. Melinda and Charlie have also written about how to integrate social media in a campaign communications mix to achieve optimum results.

  • What gamification means for your audience

    Increasing audience engagement is a perennial challenge for societies and publishers. An invested audience is more likely to cite a work or renew their membership dues, but with people’s time fragmented by a seemingly endless number of information sources, it can be harder to capture their attention with your content or increase their involvement in society activities.

    Gamification, the process of using game design theory and tools to engage your audience and address everyday problems, is an approach that’s ideally suited to building audience investment. A generation of new customers and staff have grown up hand-in-hand with electronic entertainment that speaks directly to what motivates us, providing feedback on progress and challenging them to reach that next milestone. And from social to mobile, the way we interact with the web makes introducing those familiar elements into business and consumer contexts ever more relevant.

    Gamification has been applied in a wide variety of scenarios, from health and fitness community Fitocracy, to productivity applications such work.com from Salesforce. Consumer brands like Nike have embraced gamification with the Nike+ initiative, and it’s even being used to motivate self-directed learning through the Kahn Academy. The success of gamification methods such as these has led analysts to predict that 70% of the world’s top businesses will be managing at least one gamified platform by 2014.

    Getting gamification right requires a deep understanding of why and how your audience is engaging with a system, process or community. It’s not as simple as simply bolting on a points leaderboard or a badge system – for gamification to work in the longer term, it needs to be designed to complement the underlying task or system, hence incentive models such as LinkedIn which drive you towards an ever-more complete profile, or the coding Q&A community Stack Overflow, which awards engaged users with both special profile badges and access to additional features on the website.

    Gamification is an exciting area that fascinates us here at TBI. We’ll be talking through some of our experiences of how it can benefit learned societies and scholarly publishers in a forthcoming TBI Masterclass – you can register here.

  • Why don’t publishers prioritize digital influence?

    Why don’t publishers prioritize digital influence?

    In TBI’s recent Heatmaps survey, we were a little surprised to find that advocacy and digital influence campaigns were scored as a relatively low priority by publishers for 2013. It’s a very hot topic in consumer marketing circles, so why do we not seem to be giving it much attention in academic publishing?

    Here’s why we think advocacy and digital influence should be on your priority list:

    • Because people value personal recommendations more than they do organizational ones
    • The emergence of social media and altmetrics makes it easier to identify influential members of our communities and give them advocating tools
    • Digital has the power to dramatically amplify influence, so engaging with influential members of the communities that we serve is becoming a critically important part of marketing strategy

    It’s about achieving the perfect mix of the right influencers, with the right conversation in the right place at the right time – see Melinda’s article for more advice on how to put together a digital engagement plan. TBI is also running a webinar about digital influence and advocacy marketing.