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How EES - EU44_EESLogo

How online submission is evolving to better support editors

Since its launch in 2002, the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) has been Elsevier’s preferred online submission and peer-review system and now caters for around 2,120 journals. As you may know, we are currently developing a new web-based publishing workspace to replace EES. This new system — EVISE — has been designed to make the publishing experience easier […]

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Since its launch in 2002, the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) has been Elsevier’s preferred online submission and peer-review system and now caters for around 2,120 journals.

As you may know, we are currently developing a new web-based publishing workspace to replace EES. This new system — EVISE — has been designed to make the publishing experience easier and less time-consuming by providing improved intelligence, communication, connections, ease, clarity and personalization. We have been working closely with researchers and current users of EES throughout the development process and will continue to do so after the initial launch, with new features and functionality being included in each subsequent release. EVISE will introduce a range of new benefits for editors including:

  • A ‘My Assignments’ dashboard offering a customizable view of submission lists
  • A dedicated homepage for all submissions from which editors will be able to take all relevant actions, such as making an editorial decision and inviting reviewers
  • Visualized reviewer statuses and the ability to remind reviewers from the submission homepage
  • A ‘My Reviewers’ overview for an at-a-glance view of the status of all reviewers linked to submissions
  • Automated reminders for all tasks
  • Adjustable communication templates allowing messages to be personalized, as required

While development work on EVISE continues, the EES product development team has introduced a range of new tools and services with the aim of improving your EES experience. Many of these will also feature in EVISE so let’s take a brief look at them.

Automated article transfer service (ATS)

Quite often, we see research submitted that is of sound science, but not suited to the scope of the selected journal. ATS allows editors of around 600 participating journals to decline (rather than reject) the paper and transfer it to another, more suitable journal. To do this they simply select the right decision term in EES and identify the appropriate receiving journal(s). Editors can easily check the status of a transfer by looking at the dedicated ATS flags or at the ATS section in the manuscript’s ‘History’ screen. For editors of receiving journals, it is now easier to identify transferred papers within a journal, and view related information, such as reviewer comments. Automated ATS was first delivered in June of 2013, with enhancements delivered in January and April this year. The most recent enhancements support an author-driven transfer; all the editor needs to do is decline the submission. We will continue to add journals to existing and new ATS clusters during the course of this year.

How EES - EU44_EES_Fig1

User profile consolidation

We regularly conduct an audit of EES tools and processes to determine where improvements can be made. The major recommendations from a 2012 audit prompted a security change: user profile consolidation. First delivered in the early part of 2013, profile consolidation enables users to create one profile in EES with one username (email address) and password. This means people with multiple roles (editor, reviewer, author) across multiple journals, can create one profile applicable to all those roles/journals. Equally importantly, users consolidating their profiles in EES are protected from people misusing their profile because only they, as the registered user, have total control over the personal information it contains. More information about the benefits of user profile consolidation can be found on this Profile Consolidation FAQ. Consolidated users also benefit from ‘my EES hub’, which enables them to see an overview of all pending reviewer and author activities across all relevant journals. Uptake of user profile consolidation has been very high with 1.3 million unique profiles now created across 3.5 million accounts in EES. Enhancements to this feature have been delivered at regular intervals based on feedback from users. More information can be found here.

Did you know?

  • EES currently receives more than 1.4 million submissions annually from 14 million researchers (both corresponding and co-authors); 95 percent are satisfied with their experiences.
  • There are 3.6 million reviewers active in EES each year, 90 percent of whom have expressed satisfaction with the system.
  • There are 25,000 editors active annually in EES; however, with editor satisfaction currently at 82 percent, it is clear there are still opportunities for us to improve the service and we have been monitoring your feedback closely leading to many of the developments outlined in this article.

ORCID integration

ORCID is an open, non-profit, community-based initiative. By registering with ORCID, users receive a unique digital identifier — also called an ORCID or Open Researcher and Contributor ID — to which they can link their published articles and other professional activities. Researchers then have a single record of all their research, which can be made public. This can reduce or eliminate confusion when the same person's name appears in different ways in various publications, when people have the same or similar names, or when people change their name, e.g. following marriage. Put simply, an ORCID provides a unique identity for researchers — an ‘author DOI’ — similar to that used for publications.

EES integration with ORCID began in late-summer 2013 and we have already seen almost 50,000 EES user accounts linked to ORCID profiles; in fact, 20 percent of all EES submissions are now associated with an ORCID.

How EES - EU44_EES_Fig2 How EES - EU44_EES_Fig3

Editors can now search for reviewers on EES using an ORCID, which will help to ensure the right person is contacted when names are similar. If a user has linked their ORCID to their EES profile, the ORCID will be displayed in an additional column in the profile as a clickable link that opens the user’s public record on the ORCID website. This will allow editors to see the full list of research linked to that user, which will help with identifying suitable reviewers.

CrossCheck integration

The plagiarism tool CrossCheck has now been integrated into EES for a large number of journals. CrossCheck is configurable by article type in EES. Once an author has submitted a manuscript, EES will automatically upload the editor PDF to CrossCheck’s iThenticate website, where it will be checked against a huge database of publications. Editors can then view an automatically generated similarity report within EES. Over the past few months, several feature enhancements have been introduced based on your feedback and we will continue to roll out the tool with the aim of making it available to all journals by the end of 2014.

Find Reviewers tool

The Find Reviewers tool is powered by Scopus and allows editors to search for potential reviewers, compile a list of candidates and then export that list to EES.

How EES - EU44_EES_Fig4

In April 2014, an automated version of the tool was introduced. EES will now automatically send the keywords and authors associated with a submission to the Find Reviewers tool. Once compiled, editors can then export their list of reviewer candidates from the tool to EES at the click of a button. EES will check for matches within the journal’s EES database and, if none are found, allow editors to quickly proxy register the candidates they wish to invite as reviewers.

All of these new and enhanced features were introduced based on your feedback. We encourage you to continue letting us know how we can improve our products and services via the normal channel (support@elsevier.com). Or you can post your comment below. Your feedback is key in helping us continue to deliver the best submission and peer-review experience possible and also feeds development priorities for EVISE.

Author biography

Adrian Tedford

Following graduation from the University of Limerick, Adrian Tedford joined Elsevier in 1996. He was initially a Desk Editor before moving into an EES trainer role in 2001. Tedford took on management of the training team in 2004 before setting up the new Editorial Production Customer Support group in 2006. He was appointed General Manager of Services in the new Eddie organization in 2009; Eddie was set up to centralize management of all EES-related activities. In late 2012, Tedford moved into his current role as Director of Journal Editorial Services & Operations, adding journal production responsibilities in Spain, France and NL to his EES/EVISE brief. He continues to be based in Shannon, Ireland, but travels extensively.

Zakelijk Portret

Guest Editorial: Olivier Dumon, MD of Research Applications & Platforms

We appreciate how challenging the role of an editor can be; the continuous flow of papers many journals receive can result in a queue of manuscripts awaiting review. First, there’s the plagiarism check against the rapidly expanding body of research available; then, for increasingly interdisciplinary fields where research often stems from international collaboration, questions such […]

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We appreciate how challenging the role of an editor can be; the continuous flow of papers many journals receive can result in a queue of manuscripts awaiting review. First, there’s the plagiarism check against the rapidly expanding body of research available; then, for increasingly interdisciplinary fields where research often stems from international collaboration, questions such as “how incremental or significant is the research to my field?” and “who are the best reviewers?” are becoming harder to answer. The information that individual editors use to evaluate manuscripts across the thousands of academic journals can be as varied and complex as snowflakes. Oh, and what do you do with the experimental data that the author wanted to submit…?

How can we at Elsevier help? Well, we can bring together data from existing platforms such as EES, ScienceDirect, Scopus, and Mendeley to create new features leveraging search, aggregation and advanced recommender technologies, supported by our powerful HPCC supercomputer. A prime example of this is the recent upgrade to the Find a Reviewer tool in EES, powered by Scopus.

In this edition of Editors' Update, you will also hear about the next generation of SciVal and the 'term' or journal maps you can use to inform your future journal strategy – both these initiatives also look to Scopus for their data. And we link to data contained in non-Elsevier databases, for example, we recently announced the integration of CrossCheck's plagiarism software into EES, ensuring articles are automatically uploaded to iThenticate at the submission stage. We know how important it is to you and your authors to make the evaluation process faster; the initiatives outlined here are all important steps towards our goal of creating substantial efficiencies in the editorial workflow. Our aim is simple – to provide you with a toolbox, so that you can select which tools work best for you.

These are not just aspirations – we are working hard to make them a reality. We are changing how we build products and features; we are consulting editors throughout the development process, being more iterative in how we build and, more importantly, checking at each stage that what we are building is of value to you. We’re also continuing to develop competencies in online and analytics skills and are enhancing them through ongoing collaborations such as the Big Data Institute with University College London (UCL), which oversees research projects between our product teams and leading researchers in UCL in the area of big data and analytics. And we can go further…

…but first, let's go back to your role as an editor for a moment…

We realize that what is important to you is your real passion; your role at your institute, university or hospital. However, having reviewed incoming manuscripts, there is work to be done on the paper you are about to publish, the two peer-review requests for other journals sitting on your desk, and the grant funding application that needs finishing. The good news is that we can also support you with some of these activities. We can help authors find the best home for their research with our intuitive – and recently upgraded – Journal Finder tool and we can help them understand the impact of their published work through Scopus citations, downloads on ScienceDirect and altmetrics pilots. We can also now showcase their impact on their community via Mendeley.

However, in this issue we are focused on editors and I am excited to share with you some of the innovative things that we are working on to not only help you determine the future of your journal, but to streamline the editorial process so you can choose to spend your time where it matters most.

EgbertVanWezenbeek_square

Finding reviewers in EES just got easier…

Improvements to the Find Reviewers tool in EES have simplified the process of searching for potential referees. Find out more…

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Egbert van Wezenbeek | Director Publication Process Development, Elsevier

The Find Reviewers application in the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) was built to help you locate appropriate reviewers.

Since its launch in 2010, editor feedback has been positive but we know that you have been keen to see better integration of the tool with EES.

We are pleased to inform you that following a recent update to EES this is now the case, resulting in a new workflow, details of which are outlined below.

FindReviewersProcess

In addition to the improved workflow outlined above, visibility of the Find Reviewers tool on the 'Search for Reviewers' page has been improved by adding a logo and hyperlinking the entire phrase that follows.

FindReviewers_Search

More detailed information on how to use the Find Reviewers tool can be found on our support pages and your publisher can also help with any queries you might have.

MasakoTakeda

Discover the latest re. EES user profile consolidation

Learn what a consolidated EES user profile can mean for ORCID profiles and managing EES accounts.

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Masako Takeda | Publishing Services Manager, EES, Elsevier

Introduced in December 2012, user profile consolidation allows users to link their Elsevier Editorial System (EES) journal accounts so that they can use the same username and password for each account and more easily update their personal information. This also improves the security of personal data on EES as only the individual user is allowed to make changes.  Since user profile consolidation was implemented in EES, over 1 million users have created a consolidated profile, representing nearly 3 million individual EES journal accounts.

There are also added benefits available to researchers who have undergone the consolidation process.

ORCID is a non-profit organization providing researchers with a unique digital identifier (also called an ORCID or Open Researcher and Contributor ID) that links their work, eliminates name ambiguity, and stays with them throughout their career. Elsevier supports this initiative and has integrated the ORCID ID within EES. A user with a consolidated profile can link their ORCID ID to their EES journal accounts. When submitting a paper to a journal via EES, not only the corresponding author but also the co-authors can link their ORCIDs to the submission. This helps editors select the right reviewer candidates and also means that if a submission is accepted and published, all authors’ ORCID publication lists will automatically be updated. To date, over 650,000 researchers have created ORCID IDs and the number is growing

Providing users with a single username and password to access all of their journal accounts was an important step in making EES easier to access. In December 2013, we went one step further when we introduced My EES Hub. If you have consolidated your profile, you can now log into EES and view all pending actions across the journals linked to that profile. My EES Hub features a single landing page from which you can:

  • Switch between the journal accounts linked to your profile without logging in and out of each journal individually.
  • View a list of your pending author, reviewer and editor actions for all your linked journal accounts and go to the relevant journal and folder (for author and reviewer tasks) or directly to the submission (for editor tasks) by clicking on a link.
  • Search for additional Elsevier journals for which you would like to create an account to add to your profile.
  • View a list of any journal accounts registered with the same email address as your consolidated profile that you have yet to add to your profile. You can then log into them and add them to your profile.

To access these services, just log into any journal linked to your profile and click the My EES Hub link that appears at the top of the page (see below).

MyEESHub

 

 

 

More information on these benefits is available in our support article: What is My EES Hub?

Further reading

For more information on ORCID integration and the benefits for all EES users, please see ORCID/EES integration offers new benefits to researchers.

A guide to EES User Profile Consolidation is available on our Support Hub.

Ben Rowe

ORCID/EES integration offers new benefits to researchers

Discover how the integration of ORCID into Elsevier’s Editorial System (EES) can simplify your workflow.

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Ben Rowe | Service Manager, Operations, Elsevier

The use of ORCID - Open Researcher and Contributor ID - is growing in the publishing community. Elsevier has now integrated ORCID functionality into EES with the aim of making it even easier for authors to link their ORCIDs to their publication history, while also providing benefits to reviewers and you as editors.

What is ORCID?

ORCID is a not-for-profit organization founded by academic institutions, professional bodies, funding agencies and publishers in 2010. Elsevier is among the founding sponsors and helped to fund the initiative through loans and donations of money and staff time. By registering with ORCID, users receive a unique digital identifier, also called ORCID, to which they can link their published articles and other professional activities. Authors then have a single record of all their research, which can be made public.

This can reduce or eliminate confusion when the same person's name appears in different ways in various publications, when people have the same or similar names, or when people change their name, e.g. following marriage.

Put simply, an ORCID provides a unique identity for researchers — an ‘author DOI’ — similar to that used for publications.

How is ORCID integrated into EES?

Users with a consolidated user profile can now add their ORCID to their personal information on EES. Linking an ORCID in one journal automatically links it to all of the journals in their consolidated profile.

Those corresponding authors with a consolidated profile that don’t already have an ORCID linked to their profile will be offered the chance to link their ORCID as part of the submission process.

Co-authors also have the opportunity to link their ORCID. When the corresponding author completes submission to the journal, an email is automatically sent to all co-authors. The email contains instructions for linking their ORCID to the submitted paper. This linking is done on a stand-alone page without co-authors being required to register for an EES account.

Full details on linking an ORCID on EES are available on our ORCID article on the Support Hub.

Is adding an ORCID on EES optional?

Yes, linking an ORCID is entirely optional. We do encourage usage but we will never make it mandatory.

How does this benefit EES users?

Editors
You can now search for reviewers on EES using an ORCID, which will help to ensure the right person is contacted when names are similar.  If a user has linked his ORCID to his EES profile, the ORCID will be displayed in an additional column in the profile as a clickable link that opens the user’s public record on the ORCID website. This will allow you to see the full list of research linked to that user, which will help with identifying suitable reviewers.

Authors
When a paper is accepted and published in one of our journals, the ORCID will be included as part of the submission metadata. This metadata is sent to CrossRef, which in turn forwards it to ORCID. The article is then added automatically to the user’s list of works in his public profile on the ORCID website.

Reviewers
When reviewers have linked their ORCID on EES, you as editors will be able to view the public record on ORCID and gauge their suitability for a particular review. This should help to ensure that reviewers are not invited to review submissions outside their area of expertise.

Where can I get more information on ORCID?

The ORCID website contains a wealth of information on ORCID, including a list of FAQs. On this website you can also register for your unique ORCID.

A recent article on Elsevier Connect provides information on the growth of ORCID.

A Support Hub article on ORCID is available that provides information on ORCID and EES, including a guide to how to link an ORCID.

ElmaKleikamp

CrossCheck-EES integration go-live date announced

This autumn will see the integration of CrossCheck with Elsevier’s Editorial System (EES). We look at what this will mean for manuscripts.

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Elma Kleikamp | Team Leader EES Application Management, Elsevier

Update, November 2013 - Since this Short Communication was published, there has been a change to the planned timeline for integration. The technology is currently being piloted with a group of journals and the EES team aims to roll it out to all journals by the beginning of 2014.

An integration of the plagiarism detection software CrossCheck with our Elsevier Editorial System (EES) is due to go live next month.

CrossCheck uses iThenticate originality detection software to identify text similarities which may indicate plagiarism. It does this by  comparing manuscripts with both a web repository and the CrossCheck database, which contains more than 50 million published articles.

Currently the software needs to be operated separately from EES, which means editors wanting to use it to check manuscript(s) must login to iThenticate and upload the papers before they can view the results.

The new CrossCheck-EES integration will benefit editors in several ways:

  • The article will automatically be uploaded to iThenticate at the submission stage. Editors will be able to access the similarity report by clicking a CrossCheck/iThenticate Results link in EES. They will no longer have to download/upload files themselves.
  • All editors who can view the EES article can access the similarity report for that article.
  • To help editors quickly identify articles that need further assessment, the ‘largest match from a single source’ value will be displayed beside the CrossCheck/iThenticate Results link.

The integration is scheduled to go live in October 2013.

EU39_YPYW_hero_web

Your Paper, Your Way – now available to all journals

Over the past year, journals enrolled in the Your Paper, Your Way pilot have been allowing their authors to do just that – submit their papers without strict formatting or referencing requirements. Your Paper, Your Way was the brainchild of Sir Kelvin Davies, PhD, DSc, Editor-in-Chief of Free Radical Biology & Medicine. He introduced the […]

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Over the past year, journals enrolled in the Your Paper, Your Way pilot have been allowing their authors to do just that – submit their papers without strict formatting or referencing requirements. Your Paper, Your Way was the brainchild of Sir Kelvin Davies, PhD, DSc, Editor-in-Chief of Free Radical Biology & Medicine. He introduced the concept in mid-2011 and, in 2012, we extended the option to a further 41 journals across all disciplines. Their experiences have proved so encouraging that, as of this July, all Elsevier journals will have the opportunity to join this exciting project.

Your Paper, Your Way – the origins

Anthony Newman

Anthony Newman, a Publisher for Elsevier’s Life Sciences journals, was present at the annual editors’ meeting of Free Radical Biology & Medicine, when Davies came up with his unusual suggestion. In an article on Elsevier Connect, Newman recalled: “We were sitting around the table talking about what’s good and what’s bad. We’ve had a lot of push-back from authors who say, ‘I know you have a high rejection rate, but I have to spend a lot of time just to submit a manuscript’. We talked about the fact that we are forcing them to put it into our format when the chance of it being accepted is just 20%. It was at that point that Kelvin suggested we try allowing contributors to submit their manuscripts without the formatting.”

Davies highlighted the benefits of Your Paper, Your Way (YPYW) in both a video editorial (above) and a post on the Editors’ Update Short Communications board back in March 2012. He explained: “Although standard formats do make it just that little bit easier for editors and reviewers to see everything in the correct style, the reality is that the advantage is very small, and we should really be focusing on the quality of science and not the format. For authors the difference is very significant… an easier submission process not only saves time and effort but may also allow authors to achieve faster publication speeds.” That easier submission process could also help to alleviate one of authors’ key concerns - when Elsevier’s Research & Academic Relations team surveyed researchers about what they find most frustrating, nearly one in three chose ‘preparing manuscripts’.

Feedback from editors

Once the YPYW pilot was underway, we asked the editors involved to share their thoughts on the project - 33 responded. Their feedback proved very positive, with the majority of editors reporting no increase in workload (see Figure 2).  In fact, 95.5% of editors agreed that the new Your Paper, Your Way author instructions were clear and easy to follow. Their comments included: “Great feature and very helpful for authors.” “Highly recommend to do this and to in fact extend this to all submissions.” “Much easier submission process - if you have 10 figures you can easily see them in the right order.”

Your Paper, Your Way – the statistics

  • 80% of editors surveyed found that YPYW manuscripts require less or the same amount of time as standard submissions.
  • 70% of editors surveyed found that YPYW manuscripts are either the same or easier to work with than standard submissions.
  • 87.5% of authors surveyed believed that YPYW reduces the amount of time typically taken to format and submit their paper
  • 85% of authors surveyed found YPYW easy or extremely easy, compared to 51% of authors who chose traditional submission

Editors participating in the pilot were asked a series of questions related to the YPYW process. Their answers are captured in the pie charts below:

Figure 1. Manuscript quality.

Figure 2. Time required.

Figure 3. Author friendliness.

Becoming more author-friendly

Papers submitted via the Your Paper, Your Way route still need to include the following key elements:

  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and methods
  • Results and discussion
  • References
  • Figures and figure legends

Kelvin Davies

Any important ethical requirements, e.g. the Conflict of Interest declaration, are also still mandatory. As long as the references have all the necessary information, the author need not format according to a specific style because Elsevier will take care of that after acceptance.

Reflecting on Free Radical Biology & Medicine’s experiences since they launched the pilot in July 2011, Davies said his journal had not received any complaints from reviewers, and many authors had sent letters of thanks and praise for the system.

Author uptake so far

From December 2012 to date, the 42 pilot journals have received around 51.5% of submissions via the Your Paper, Your Way route. We expect this figure to increase as more authors become aware of the service. Authors who chose the Your Paper, Your Way submission route commented: “We chose to spend time on content instead of the ‘correct format’." “It was simpler and faster than (the) traditional one. I think it is a good way to speed the process.” “…time consuming formatting work was not undertaken unnecessarily.” “I didn't have to waste time with formatting before being sure about the acceptance.” We also asked authors to let us know which submission option they intended to use in the future - 80% said they will either always use, or mostly use, YPYW when it is available.

Feedback from reviewers

The pilot data suggests that Your Paper, Your Way is an author-friendly initiative that simplifies researchers’ lives. However, it is also important to ensure that the resulting papers do not complicate the review process. To evaluate the impact on reviewers, 165 responses from the Reviewer Feedback Programme (RFP) were analysed: 77 of these responses related to a YPYW submission, the remaining 88 to a traditional submission. There were no significant differences in reviewer satisfaction based on any related criteria: "The review format and structure for review submission was helpful"; "I am very satisfied overall with my experience of reviewing"; "I could read the manuscript and figures clearly with no technical problems".

July 2013 - upscale to all journals

Based on the positive researcher feedback we have received, invitations are currently being sent to all journals to participate in Your Paper, Your Way. If you haven’t already heard from your Publisher, they will be in contact shortly to discuss this further.

Author biographies

Catriona Fennell

Catriona Fennell
DIRECTOR PUBLISHING SERVICES
Following graduation from University College Galway, Ireland, Catriona joined Elsevier as a Journal Manager in 1999. She later had the opportunity to support and train hundreds of editors during the introduction of the Elsevier Editorial System (EES). Since then, she has worked in various management roles in STM Journals’ Publishing and is now responsible for its author-centricity and publishing ethics programs.


 

Daniel Gill

Daniel Gill PROJECT MANAGER, JOURNAL DEVELOPMENT Daniel joined Elsevier in January, working on web-driven, content innovation projects alongside a small team based in Amsterdam, New York and Dayton, Ohio. Daniel has a publishing degree and has publishing project management experience mainly centered around science publishing within the educational, postgraduate and professional arenas. Prior to Elsevier, Daniel worked at John Wiley and Sons Ltd and Pearson Education UK.


Edward O'Breen

Unique ORCID now available in EES

Find out about the changes underway to make our publishing systems ORCID-compatible.

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Edward O'Breen | Marketing & Brand Manager EES and Evise, Elsevier

October last year saw the launch of ORCID, the Open Researcher and Contributors ID repository. The scheme allows academics, researchers and contributors to register for a unique ID which can be used to reliably identify individuals in the same way that ISBNs and DOIs identify books and articles.

Elsevier has now taken the first steps to fully integrate ORCID into the editorial and publishing process. Over the coming months we will gradually roll out functionality in the Elsevier Editorial System (EES) and other systems with the aim of fully supporting ORCID by Q4 2013.

The rollout will be phased as follows:

Phase 1

As of June 11, 2013, researchers can link their ORCID to their consolidated EES user profile.

Phase 2

A corresponding author’s ORCID, if linked to the consolidated EES user profile, will be added to the article metadata. As a result, the published article will automatically appear in the corresponding author’s ORCID list of published works. This functionality will be launched in July 2013.

Phase 3

Co-authors’ ORCIDs, if provided during submission of the paper, will be added to the article metadata. The published article will then automatically be added to the ORCID list of published works for all authors who shared their ORCID with EES. This functionality will be available in Q3 of 2013.

Phase 4

Authorized users, e.g. editors and journal managers, will be able to find people in EES using the ORCID as a search term. This feature is of value to EES users who select and invite reviewers. Using the ORCID removes ambiguity when searching for people. This functionality will be available in Q4 of 2013.

 

 

EU38_ReferenceSimplification

Reference simplification will streamline author submission process

As journals’ reference-related instructions have continued to grow in complexity, so too has the amount of time required to comply with them. Recent research [1] shows that authors now spend an average 3.2 hours per paper on this task. Not only is this an unnecessary use of their time, the focus on formatting increases the opportunities […]

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As journals’ reference-related instructions have continued to grow in complexity, so too has the amount of time required to comply with them.

Recent research [1] shows that authors now spend an average 3.2 hours per paper on this task. Not only is this an unnecessary use of their time, the focus on formatting increases the opportunities for factual errors to creep in.

Elsevier’s Publishing Services team has been working on a multi-stranded shake-up of the reference system. Dubbed the Reference Simplification Project, it will not only standardize reference styles, but offer journals the opportunity to forego them completely. Other elements will focus on the accuracy of link information.

Elizabeth Przybysz, a Junior Project Manager in Publishing Services, has been leading the project team. She believes one of the key benefits will be an increase in author satisfaction as more of their time is freed up to concentrate on other elements of the paper. “We think we will also see journal discoverability enhanced, while publication times should experience a reduction,” she added.

Over the coming year, a number of changes will be rolled out – one of these will automatically be applied to all Elsevier titles while others will be introduced on an opt-in basis. Read on to find out what it could mean for your journal.

All Elsevier-owned journals will switch to one of six standard reference styles

Examples of some of the detailed formatting specifications we currently require from authors:

  • Journal titles should be abbreviated without punctuation and not in italics
  • Always use "&" symbol when there are two authors in parentheses
  • ONLY use the English version "et al"

The majority of Elsevier journals require authors to use one of 10 standard reference styles. Another 200 plus journals use their own unique, non-standard reference styles. Last summer, Elsevier’s User Centered Design team carried out a survey and usability tests with journal readers. Those questioned indicated that six styles in particular were easy to follow. Based on this information, six standard Elsevier styles will be rolled out to all Elsevier-owned journals in 2013. These are:

Numbered
Appreciated by our readers for displaying all author names. Once all deviations are removed, this style will be used by 335 Elsevier-owned titles. The style is popular in Physical Sciences.

Harvard
Primarily used in Humanities and Social Sciences. Our readers liked the name / date format, which displays basic information without the need to visit the last article page. It will be used by more than 400 journals.

Vancouver Numbered
The Vancouver Embellished format will be incorporated into this style and the result will be used by more than 242 journals - popular in Medical Sciences.

Vancouver Name / Date
A version for communities that prefer citations to feature the authors’ names in parentheses.

American Psychological Association
The only style presenting full journal titles, an option preferred by 35% of the readers we spoke to. Almost 200 of our journals will follow this style, especially within Social and Economic Sciences.

American Medical Association
This style is used in more than 150 medical journals, especially popular amongst Societies.

A standard style for each journal will be chosen based on its close resemblance to the journal’s current reference style. If you feel that another style from our list above suits the journal better, please contact your Publisher.

All styles will include the article and chapter title. In the past, these items were removed due to space restrictions in print versions of journals, however, our survey respondents asked for their reintroduction to assist with assessing source relevance.

Figure 1. Current situation with regard to reference styles – Elsevier titles only

Figure 2. What we hope to achieve by April 2013 with the rolling out of six standard styles – Elsevier titles only.

 

Journals are invited to consider removing formatting requirements

This will be offered an on opt-in basis only. If you choose this model for your journal, authors will be invited to submit their references in any style, as long as the references are complete and consistent. The typesetters will apply the final style.

Elizabeth believes this may prove a deciding factor for authors when choosing a journal and could help to attract more high-quality papers. She adds: “In exchange, we will ask authors to focus on the quality of the data critical for the link creation, invite them to use the DOI and urge them to pay attention to the presence of links in any references they decide to copy from other sources.

“Online what really matters is that a citation is linked to its source. Impact Factors take into account the number of citations an article has received. An error introduced to a reference can prevent a link creation and potentially lead to a journal missing out on a few decimal points on its Impact Factor.”

Key data used by the linking services to create a link are author(s) name(s), journal title (or its standard abbreviation), year of publication and the pagination. Italics, use of dots and data sequence are not important. Elizabeth explained: “That key data must be recognized correctly in the process of tagging; therefore the consistency of the pattern of the reference is essential for the structuring. DOIs are real life savers: even if all other data is misspelled, but the DOI is correct, the link will be still created.”

Those journals adopting this model will be closely monitored to ensure that the typesetters effectively convert the styles and that the change brings the benefits expected.

Examples of the journal-specific reference style will still be displayed in the Guide for Authors.  As part of the project we will also update the Endnote and Reference Managers, so that they accurately reflect the journal style.

Journals adopting this option would see the following section appear in their Guide for Authors

Guide for Authors: new instructions

Discoverability of research and high quality peer review are ensured by online links to the sources cited. In order to allow us to create links within ScienceDirect and to abstracting and indexing services, such as Scopus, CrossRef or PubMed, please ensure that data provided in the references are correct. Please note that incorrect surnames, journal/book titles, publication year and pagination may prevent the link creation. When copying references, please be careful as they may already contain an error. Use of the DOI is encouraged.

There are no strict requirements on reference formatting at submission. References can be in any style or format as long as the style is consistent. Author(s) name(s), journal title/book title, chapter title/article title, year of publication, volume and issue/book chapter and the pagination must be present. Use of DOI is highly encouraged. The reference style used by the journal will be applied to the accepted article by Elsevier at the proof stage. Note that incorrect or missing data will be highlighted at proof stage for the author to correct.

The reference style used by this journal is 'here we state the journal-specific style'. If you do wish to format the references yourself they should be arranged according to the following examples...

In future, accuracy of references will be checked with one of the major linking service providers

Elsevier plans to introduce a new step of comparing the references received from an author with the database of one of the major linking service providers. This will allow us to correct and complete missing data without the need to delay publication by sending the manuscript back to the author. We hope to see this come into effect next year (2014).

If you wish to find out more about the Reference Simplification Project and what it means for your journal, please contact your Publisher. The project complements other author-centric solutions currently under development at Elsevier. The Simpler Submission service, for example, offers authors the opportunity to reduce formatting across all manuscript components.

Understanding reader behavior

The survey and usability tests carried out by our User Centered Design department have uncovered the following facts about reader behavior:

  • While 53% of researchers read articles as downloaded files on their screens, 45% prefer to print them out before reading. With new technologies such as tablets, we expect the percentage opting for print to decrease.
  • 48% indicate that while they may look through the references while reading an article, they only go to the sources once they have finished reading.
  • Linking of references online was important to 88% of the respondents.
  • 58% prefer the name / date citation format over numbered citation.
  • 46% indicate they want to see the names of all authors in the citation, no matter how long the list is.
  • 69% of authors format references manually. Reference formatting takes, on average, three hours per paper, even taking into consideration the use of reference managers.
  • 39% do not include DOIs, and 16% don’t know what a DOI is.
  • The researchers surveyed believe that within a reference, items should be listed in the following order of importance:
  1. Author
  2. Article title
  3. Title of publication it appeared in
  4. Year of publication

Author biography

Elizabeth Przybysz

Elizabeth Przybysz
JUNIOR PROJECT MANAGER
Elizabeth joined Publishing Services for STM Journals in October 2011. Alongside the References Simplification project she manages the Simpler Submission project mentioned in the article. Elizabeth has also successfully introduced the Guide of Transfer and Acquisitions for Publishers. Prior to her move to Publishing Services, Elizabeth worked in Customer Services, assisting our customers in both Italian and Polish. Before moving to Oxford, Elizabeth worked in the banking sector in Italy and Ireland.


References

[1] Elsevier’s User Centered Design team surveyed around 200 authors in August 2012. Respondents were asked how long it took them to prepare references and if they used any software to reduce the workload. Although 60% of respondents used software, the average time taken to format references was found to be 3.2 hours.


Edward O'Breen

Update on EES User Profile Consolidation

Since the launch of the EES user consolidation project in December last year, thousands of researchers have responded. Find out more…

Read more >


Edward O'Breen | Marketing and Brand Manager, Elsevier

In a recent post on the Short Communications Board, our Vice President of Corporate Relations, Tom Reller, discussed the hacking of EES, our online platform for managing the submission and peer-review process.

He explained that in late October last year, one of the editors of Optics & Laser Technology (JOLT) alerted our EES team that reviewers for two of his assigned submissions had been invited but not by him. Our team immediately launched an investigation and discovered that someone had been able to retrieve the EES username and password information for this editor.

Tom went on to outline the various steps we are taking to reduce these risks, and that one of these innovations - user profile consolidation – had become available to all EES users on December 3, 2012.

Consolidation of user profiles was a project the EES team was working on prior to the hacking.  A regular audit of EES had identified the many advantages that enabling researchers to use a single username and password across all EES journal sites would provide. Not only would it streamline their workflow, it would increase security levels too.

Since December 3, about 350,000 users have consolidated more than 950,000 individual EES accounts into about 350,000 consolidated user profiles.

Alongside the user profile consolidation, we have also introduced enhancements in security and user data protection. EES users can now reset their passwords via a self-chosen security question. They will receive a confirmation by email and only the user will have access to the password and security question.  This makes the end user responsible for his/her own data and helps to avoid abuse of EES accounts.

On December 19 last year, we surveyed those EES users who had consolidated their accounts since the December 3 launch. More than 400 researchers provided their feedback, which revealed:

  • 85% consolidated their accounts immediately after logging into EES
  • 83% needed less than 10 minutes to consolidate their accounts
  • 88% were satisfied to have a consolidated account, while 3.5% were dissatisfied. Those who recorded a dissatisfied reaction identified the main drawback as being that they still have to log into each EES site separately – they would like to login and view their tasks across journals. This will be fixed in Evise, the next generation editorial system Elsevier is working on.
  • 87% approved of the fact that the end user is now solely responsible for updating their personal information - 3% disapproved

For a few days following the December 3 launch, EES servers were slow to respond due to the large number of users consolidating their profiles. We appreciated this was very frustrating for users and worked on improving the situation. Luckily, only very few users still experience this problem and we have seen calls to our Elsevier Customer Services team fall from 1.6% to 0.2%.

eeslogo

Planned 2012 Innovations Promise Easier-to-Use EES

As many of you know, Elsevier is currently building Evise, our next generation online submission and peer-review system.  The rollout of Evise is planned to begin in the second half of 2013 and to prepare for a smooth transition, 2012 will see the introduction of new features to our current system, EES. These include something […]

Read more >


As many of you know, Elsevier is currently building Evise, our next generation online submission and peer-review system.  The rollout of Evise is planned to begin in the second half of 2013 and to prepare for a smooth transition, 2012 will see the introduction of new features to our current system, EES.

These include something we know you have been keen to see – a single username and password across all EES journal sites.

Single login across EES journal sites

Researchers have multiple roles in publishing: many authors are also reviewers; many Editors are also authors and reviewers. And researchers can perform these roles for multiple journals. We know that EES does not recognize that sufficiently so, later this year, we will begin the task of consolidating all user accounts.

How to consolidate your account

Once the change has been rolled out, when you log into EES you will receive a prompt to consolidate your accounts. EES looks for matching associated email addresses when deciding which accounts to group together. If you have used different email addresses per EES site, you can indicate this during consolidation. Once you have selected the accounts to consolidate, you will receive a confirmation email. This is sent to ensure that only the account owner can give approval.

During consolidation, you will also be asked to choose a security question and answer. You will need these to reset your password if you forget it.

You will have 30 days to consolidate your accounts. After this period, you will only be able to use EES if you have consolidated your accounts.

Figure 1. The consolidation notification screen.

Logging in to EES after consolidation

After you have followed the consolidation procedure, you will be able to use the same username and password to access each EES journal site you use. Your primary email address in EES will be your username. You will continue to log into each EES journal site separately.
If you have multiple roles for a single journal, you will need to log off and log in again if you want to switch your user role.

Roll out timing

The new user consolidation functionality will be piloted in July and August 2012, with roll out activity ramping up from September 2012 onwards. We will keep you informed of our progress by email.

Online support consolidation

We are also working on consolidating the online support available for EES. This is currently spread across the Elsevier website but going forward generic information on EES will be available on Elsevier.com, while EES support information will be presented in EES. That means that if you click on Help in EES, a pop-up window will open up in which you will be able to quickly access the right support content. The content will be presented per role and per phase in the editorial process to make it easier for you. The search function will also be available in the window.

EU36_EESFigure2

Figure 2. The new help window.

Future improvements

Elsevier has a number of user feedback programs and the results of these, along with the questions end users ask Elsevier customer support, are just some of the sources we call on when determining which improvements we should introduce. You can also provide feedback via evise@elsevier.com.

Author Biography

Edward O'Breen

Edward O'Breen
MARKETING AND BRAND MANAGER, EES AND EVISE
Edward has worked on the development and launch of new products and services since 1997. Prior to joining Elsevier in 2011, he worked for telecom operators, utilities and publishers. He has a MSc degree in Business Administration from the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam.


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