U.K.-based international publisher Emerald (http://www.emeraldinsight.com) has developed a new article submission and peer review system, called JADE (Journal Article Delivery Engine). Emerald publishes 130 journals in library and information sciences, management, engineering, and applied science and technology. The new system will go live early in 2004 with full rollout to all 130 journals by the end of the year. While acceptance of electronic manuscripts and editorial tracking systems are now commonplace, Emerald's JADE is designed to be among the best of its kind along with what is claimed to be a publishing first: a digital signature solution for author copyright assignment.
At a time when many authors are questioning the added value that publishers bring to the process of disseminating research results, with particular concern often expressed about the time it takes to get manuscripts through the editorial and peer review processes, it is interesting to see developments from publishers directed at improving and enhancing the traditional publication process.
JADE is powered by FatWire's Content Server, which provides Emerald with an end-to-end submission, peer review, and editorial content management system. Authors are able to track the progress of their articles through personal, secure homepages while journal editors and reviewers are provided with an online peer review facility. FatWire was formed in 1996 and is headquartered in New York, but may be known to Information Today readers as the buyer of the electronic content management business of Divine, Inc. in last year's bankruptcy auction.
The novel copyright assignation and legal status tracking system comes from Entrust, whose TruePass software provides identification, verification, and privacy capabilities to both Emerald staff and authors without the need for software to be loaded on the authors' own computers. TruePass was launched in 1999 and became the first Web security product to gain validation by the U.S. and Canadian federal governments through the U.S. Federal Information Processing Standard: FIPS 140-1.
The advantages of online copyright assignation were outlined by John Peters, Emerald's editorial and author relations' director, who stated: "We pride ourselves on a customer-focused copyright policy. Using digital signatures is a continuation of that ethos. For the first time authors will be able to assign copyright online resulting in a more efficient article submission process, much shorter time to publication, and of course, the widest possible dissemination of their work."
Entrust is based in Addison, Texas with 530 staff employed in offices in 20 countries around the world. Its solutions have also been chosen by the U.K. government in the provision of secure information services and e-government, by the Commonwealth of Kentucky in support of its field tax accounting staff, and by Credit Suisse for handling sensitive financial information.
JADE expands and complements the services offered through Emerald's Literati Club for authors and editors. The club provides resources, advice and guidance relating to the learned article publication process. In addition to Web-based information resources, Emerald has experimented with author workshops where Emerald staff and editors guide new authors through the process of publication from choosing the right journal to improving the chances of final acceptance.
The emphasis on author support follows from successes in the area of customer support. Emerald's aim to be responsive and customer focused led to an award for "Best Customer Support" in 2002 by readers of the Charleston Advisor. As noted by Richard Poynder in his review of Emerald titled, "Reinventing MCB University Press" (Information Today, November 2002), that effort came following criticism of the publisher for high prices and substantial annual increases. Today, a subscription provides customers with print plus online with a range of additional features, including archive access, extra content, alerting, linking, usage data, and so on. However, subscription prices continue to escalate with 2004 increases well into double-digit percentages.