A Case of Improving the Peer-Review Process

Page 1 of 3

Marion Waldman began Albany, N.Y.-based iD8 Publishing Services in 2005. The company is a vendor for the educational publishing industry, providing a full range of services that take the customer through the early phases of production. Waldman, who partners with Triple SSS Press Media Development, uses a dual approach to each project, integrating editorial and marketing to work in tandem. iD8 also provides online services.


Business Challenge
An integral part of academic publishing is peer review, which ensures the quality and integrity of a book or journal. However, based on her past experiences, Waldman knew peer review is rarely an efficient process, largely because of the long periods of time involved in collecting reviews or "slice and dice" comments to make decisions regarding information. A first-edition book project, for example, may require up to eight unique reviewers per chapter. Waldman wanted to find an efficient online system that could manage large amounts of qualitative data that could generate reports for authors.

QSR International
QSR International provides a qualitative research software platform that assists researchers to not only manage information easily but, as CEO John Owen explains, to extract wisdom out of the information. Its premier product is NVivo, which is used to analyze the different data available in research materials. The Melbourne, Australia, company has been in business for 15 years.


The Problem in Depth
Marion Waldman worked in the academic and educational publishing for 20 years before deciding to going into business for herself in 2005. Thanks to her experience, she knew there was often a disconnect between editorial and marketing and believed that the two areas need to work together in order to create a successful end product.

Peer review is vital to educational and scientific publishing, not only for the quality of content but also for seeding the market for future sales. As Waldman began to take on large, first-edition projects, she found she had to subcontract the peer-review process. "As the person managing the project, I couldn't work with the content and do project management and take care of all the details required in handling the review process," she explains.

She was also frustrated with the lack of services out there to manage the review process. One company she found allowed reviewers to go online to perform a quantitative review online and provide a grade. However, she found that the grading system was demoralizing to the authors. "It's one thing to give a student a ‘C,' but the authors didn't like getting one," she laughs.

The bottom line, she adds, is that there was no report. While you could read the different aspects of the review and the grade, there was nothing to turn over to the authors or that could be used to allow her to make editorial decisions.

"I felt like there had to be something out there that could manage large amounts of qualitative data so that we could turn over qualitative reports," she says.

What she had hoped to find was something that reviewers could access online and could help them easily pull together custom reports, as well as databases that can tie reviewers to reviewer quotes for sales managers. "I wanted to be able to synchronize all of the information we have," Waldman says.

Page 1 of 3