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  1. 1. Introduction given its core skills, strengths, and experience…and an opportunity to abandon Strategic business planning has come a long those programs, policies, and strategies that are way from its origins as a largely intellectual outdated or ineffective in the present context.” exercise for the elites of corporate culture. (Sanders, 1998) Gone are the days when a small cadre of top officers and MBA consultants would meet in The objective of this paper is twofold: private and, after a week of number-crunching and scenario-spinning, emerge from on high to 1) To describe and defend the importance of present their vision for the future. Such plans the strategic planning process in the midst of tended to be long on business philosophy and present complexities and jargon but not well connected to the day-to-day operations of the organization. The 2) To identify and impart information about impracticality of such plans and the lack of specific publishing tools that have proved buy-in from employees often led to failure and instrumental in helping publications staff to reinforced perceptions that strategic planning manage journals and achieve strategic was an unproductive use of time. objectives. The purpose of strategic planning, even in Because some organizations have operated those early days, was always valid: to help an successfully without benefit of a formal organization identify, respond to, and influence strategic plan, it is only natural that they may changes in its environment. But today the question the value and relevance of such a process of developing the strategic plan has document. As Bill Breichner, Journal Publisher become a much better vehicle for achieving at Johns Hopkins University Press, commented: these critical goals. “It is amazing what you can accomplish before you know what you need.” (Breichner, 2004) No longer a top-down set of edicts from upper Still, there is great value to be found in tools management, the strategic plan now integrates that can produce a positive impact on a knowledge from all levels of the enterprise in a journal’s performance, direction, and goals. cohesive manner. Instead of just churning out data and information, the planning process Special emphasis will be given in the paper to identifies opportunities at the customer level. It so-called dashboard reports—those reports that answers questions with real practical you can view while driving, so to speak, those significance, such as “What is it that our reports that are “directional at a moment’s customers need? What don’t they want? What notice.” (Collins, 2004) is happening in the world?” (Stein, 2004) Strategic planning The current scholarly publishing environment—characterized by chaos, Strategic orientation complexity, and change—demands a sound The first step toward meeting strategic planning strategic plan. And more than ever before, the objectives is to adopt a “strategic planning process needs to be dynamic and orientation”—simply to begin talking about requires insight about the present and foresight strategy. According to one industry consultant, about the future. “It is a search for information 85% of management teams spend less than one and options, which will ensure an ongoing hour per month discussing strategy (Kaplan, competitive advantage for the [organization] 2000). If managers cannot find the time to The Sheridan Press 1
  2. 2. move beyond the day-to-day operational and External analysis tactical issues to talk about strategy, then it A strategic plan usually begins with an analysis should not come as a surprise when strategy of the external environment as it is relevant to does not become an organizational priority. The the organization. Since competition is a organization is likely to remain in fire-fighting primary external consideration of any business mode indefinitely. (publishing or otherwise), it may be valuable in this section to draw from the ideas of well- Strategic plan known competitive strategist Michael Porter. Once an organization adopts a strategic orientation, it is important to formalize the In his seminal book, Competitive Strategies, Porter (1980) identified five universal forces conversation in a strategic plan. Whether the planning is for the entire organization or just that shape the character of every industry and market, determining how profitable the sector for a single department, the concepts are the same. Only the scale is different. There are can be, how many competitors it can sustain, and what business strategies are likely to prove many schools of thought as to how a strategic plan should be structured; typically plans start successful. The savvy publisher can use the Five Forces Model to better understand the with an assessment of the broader market, identify objectives to be attained, and move context in which they are operating and develop a competitive edge over their rivals. toward increasingly specific tasks to be implemented. The following are basic headings The main elements of Porter’s model are under which this information can be illustrated and supplemented with examples presented; another popular format for the from scholarly publishing in Figure 1 below. strategic plan, the “OGSM” Model, is discussed on pages 5-6. Barriers to entry (brand identity, customer loyalty, proprietary learning curve) Supplier power Competitive rivalry Customer power (society, publisher, (industry consolidation, (librarians, authors, editors, industry growth rate) members, printers, online advertisers) hosts) Threat of substitutes (“big deals,” specialty collections, open access publications) Figure 1. Five Forces Model 2 Critical Business Planning
  3. 3. Internal analysis production, marketing, and business Next, the strategic plan should include an management skills? internal analysis, which can be defined as a 5. Staff: is the organization staffed with the shared view of the internal state of the right people, who are well-trained, talented, company. As with the external analysis, and assigned to right jobs? publishers may find it useful to use an existing 6. Style: does the organization share common framework—in this case the 7-S Model (Figure thinking and behavior? Is the staff working 2)—as the basis for their work in this section. together or at cross-purposes? 7. Shared values: Do the journal staff, society/publisher, and customer groups share the same guiding principles? According to Peters and Waterman, managers need to consider all seven of these internal factors to assure successful implementation of their business strategy. The factors are independent but connected, they say, and failure to manage any one of them can lead to a chain reaction breakdown in each of the others. Whether it is included in the discussion of internal and external factors or broken out separately, a SWOT (strengths/weaknesses and opportunities/threats) analysis should be Figure 2: McKinsey 7-S Model included in every strategic plan. Developed by business consultants Tom Peters This exercise helps the manager to focus and Robert Waterman (1988), the 7-S Model activities into areas where the organization is reflects extensive research regarding which strong and where the greatest opportunities lie. characteristics contribute to corporate It also can help shore up weaknesses that excellence. It was described in detail in their competitors may be exploiting. A typical book, In Search of Excellence, and was later SWOT analysis involves responding to the adopted by the global business consulting questions (or similar ones) shown in Table 1: group McKinsey & Company as a basic tool for analysis of client business strategy. Because SWOT Analysis of this association with McKinsey, the Strengths Weaknesses framework is sometimes referred to as the What advantages do What do we do McKinsey 7-S Model. we possess? poorly? What do other people What areas of our In the diagram, the 7 S’s stand for: see as our strong business have we points? neglected? 1. Strategy: what is the agreed on vision and Opportunities Threats direction for the organization? Are there trends in the Are there trends in the 2. Structure: are the current policies and market that favor us? market that work procedures right for the organization? Can we take against us? 3. Systems: are the proper decision-making, advantage of a Are competitors competitor weakness? capitalizing on our electronic publishing, peer-review systems weakness? in place? 4. Skills: does the organization benefit from Table 1. SWOT Analysis individuals with the right editorial, The Sheridan Press 3
  4. 4. Vision citations? Or perhaps a combination of all Some form of vision or mission statement is three? required to describe the organization’s ideal future state. A vision is an overriding idea of Each publisher’s particular strategy should look what the organization should be. This ideal inward at the organization but also should look future state should recognize both the internal outward at the competition and at the and external analysis, drawing on the publishing industry climate. company’s strengths to take advantage of opportunities. The popular “OGSM” method for strategic planning was developed in Japan and has since An organization’s vision could be, for example, been adopted and refined at many top global to become the most reliable source of corporations. (Hastings, 2002) It follows the professional information in their field. The same general progression as the planning organization’s publications division could have process described in this paper but offers a any of the supporting mission statements: to slightly different way to organize the thinking. publish “the number one journal in terms of editorial quality,” “the most widely read It involves four basic steps, each of which publication in the field,” or “included among flows into the next (Figure 3). the ‘must-buy’ journals by university librarians.” Organizing a Plan with “OGSM” The popular “OGSM” method pioneered by Procter A vision must be sufficiently clear and concise & Gamble follows the same general progression as that everyone in the organization understands it the planning process described in this paper, but and can buy into it with conviction. The vision offers a slightly different way to organize the or mission statement should be supported by thinking. It involves four basic steps, each of which specific strategic goals. flows into the next: 1. Objectives: Identify simple, broad objectives to Goals be accomplished over the longer term. (Example: Having formulated a vision of the future, Produce the most-read journal in the field.) specific initiatives must be planned to achieve these goals. The strategy is one or more plans 2. Goals: List specific actionable results needed to support this objective. (Example: Expand that will be used to achieve the vision. The membership by 30%.) strategic plan should be a high-level plan reflecting the achievement of specific strategic 3. Strategies: Initiatives that will lead to goals—a sort of “project of projects.” achievement of your goals, often taking the form of projects or programs. (Example: Utilize effective marketing techniques.) If the vision is to be the publisher of “the number one journal in terms of editorial 4. Measures: Objective, quantifiable methods for quality,” the publisher must decide which measuring success. (Examples: Marketing strategies will work best to bring this vision to campaign response rates, renewal reports, monthly circulation tallies.) fruition. Is it better to take a more active role in recruiting top research papers? To add more Figure 3. Steps to organizing a plan with OGSM editorial commentary to original research articles in order to improve reader comprehension? To publish more review Strategic communication articles as a way of increasing the number of Once the strategic plan is drafted, the entire strategic plan should be communicated widely 4 Critical Business Planning
  5. 5. to all the stakeholders: anyone who has an U–Understand the full challenge interest in seeing the organization succeed—or N–Negotiate buy-in of key fail. “Outcome stakeholders” have an interest stakeholders in seeing that the organization’s objectives are L–Locate cultural advancers and achieved, while “process stakeholders” have an blockers interest in the way in which the plan is O–Organize priorities, goals, and implemented. actions C–Communicate credibly Correctly identifying all of the stakeholders is K – Keep adjusting the first and most important step toward the Figure 4. UNLOCK, Harper 2002 “project of projects” success. The next step is to understand why stakeholders want to see the project succeed or fail. What do they stand to Strategic measurement gain if the project succeeds or fails? What do Once an organization has analyzed its mission, they stand to lose? identified all its stakeholders, and defined its goals, it needs a way to measure progress It is equally if not more crucial to understand toward those goals. In general, this can be not just the tangible aspects important to measured along two dimensions: stakeholders but also to understand stakeholders’ emotional response to the project. Input measures Is the organization doing what they set out to Once this understanding is established, it is do in the plan? Can most of the employees usually very helpful to allocate time and effort summarize the strategic plan without referring for stakeholder management. Unfortunately, to the document itself? Are most of the stakeholder issues do not just fade away as the organization’s projects or initiatives directly strategic plan is implemented; instead they aligned with or indicated by the strategic plan? usually become more significant and disruptive. After having negotiated a way Output measures through stakeholder issues, managers can Is what your organization set out to do in the describe the strategic objectives in a way that plan having the expected effect? Is it happening incorporates the different expectations and in the anticipated timeframe? How can the concerns of all stakeholders—not just the organization be sure? project sponsor or top management. Stakeholders who do not feel their voices have Key Performance Indicators (KPI)—also been heard may, consciously or sub- known as Critical Key Success Indicators consciously, sabotage the strategic plan. (CKSI)—help an organization define and measure progress toward strategic goals. People are capable of achieving amazing feats (Goodstein et al., 1993) together: the hard part usually is not the achieving but is more likely the KPIs are quantifiable measurements, agreed to togetherness. Appropriate management of beforehand, that reflect the critical success stakeholders will maximize the chances of factors of an organization. They differ meeting the strategic goals laid out in the plan. depending on the organization. Following is a clever way to remember the A basic research journal may have as one of its steps needed to unlock organizations from KPIs the percentage renewal rate among strategic gridlock (Figure 4): institutions. A clinical medicine journal may The Sheridan Press 5
  6. 6. focus a KPI on market penetration of high- “Increase the average number of monthly prescribing physicians. An academic social article downloads by 50% a year” is a clear science journal may measure the readership target that everyone will understand and be able rates among graduate students. Editorial and to take specific action to accomplish. production departments may share a KPI to reduce the average time it takes for manuscript Many things are measurable. That does not to move from submission through peer review make them key to the organization’s success. to publication. A society customer service In selecting Key Performance Indicators, it is department may have as one of its KPIs the critical to limit them to those factors that are percentage of member calls answered in the essential to the organization reaching its first minute. strategic goals. It is also important to keep the number of Key Performance Indicators small Whatever Key Performance Indicators are so that everyone’s attention stays focused on selected, they must reflect the organization’s achieving the same KPIs. That is not to say, strategic goals, they must be fundamental to its for instance, that an organization will have only success, and they must be measurable. KPIs three or four total KPIs. Rather there will be usually are long-term considerations. The three or four Key Performance Indicators for definition of what they are and how they are the organization and all the units within it will measured does not change often. The goals for have three, four, or five KPIs that support the a particular KPI may change as the organization’s overall goals and can be “rolled organization’s strategic goals change, or as it up” into them. gets closer to achieving a goal, but the KPI itself rarely changes. Publishing reports Reporting is the process of accessing data, If a Key Performance Indicator is going to be formatting it, and delivering it as information of any value, there must be a way to accurately inside and outside the organization. Reports define and measure it. “Add new institutional provide the intelligence behind an subscribers” is useless as a KPI without some organization’s strategy by providing the most- way to distinguish between new and repeat needed pieces of information reliably. In subscribers. It is also important to define the business, reports are used to measure the Key Performance Indicators and stay with the company’s success in meeting the target set for same definition from year to year. For a KPI of each of its Key Performance Indicators. “increase readership,” it will be necessary to Similarly, scholarly publishers create and address considerations such as whether to analyze reports to track their progress toward measure by physical units sold as with paper achieving their strategic goals. subscriptions, number of article downloads, or self-reports of pass-along distribution or At Johns Hopkins University Press, for volume of material read. instance, the journal’s division has hired a report writer to set up reports using one of the Organizations also need to set targets for each leading report-writing software packages, Key Performance Indicator. A strategic goal to Crystal Eclipse. Crystal Eclipse software is increase readership might include a KPI of designed to help managers access data from a “journal Web site use.” After the KPI has been variety of internal sources, format it, and defined as “the number of article downloads deliver it as information inside and outside the per month” and a way to measure it has been organization (Figure 5). determined—by tracking monthly page view data from the electronic use statistics package—the target has to be established. 6 Critical Business Planning
  7. 7. The reports highlighted in this White Paper are those that have been found most important based on the experience of the authors and of several other publishing experts interviewed. (A complete list of contributors is included at the end of this White Paper.) Interviewees were asked: • To do your job well, what reports or information would you absolutely not want to be without? • Would you tell us about the reports that you use which contribute most to the success of your organization? Figure 5. How data is accessed and analyzed to create management reports. © Copyright 2003 Business Objects • Which do you use regularly? (Crystal Eclipse) SA, 157-159, rue Anatole France, 92309 • Why are they useful? Levallois-Perret France. All Rights reserved. • What makes a report good? • Are there any reports that you wish you had but do not? Report-writing software packages, like Crystal And finally, Eclipse, Cognos ReportNet, MicroStrategy 7i, • May we reprint a copy of the report and Microsoft Business Solutions for Analytics template in our White Paper?” are all reporting toolkits whose aim it is to help professionals design flexible, feature-rich Financial reports by extracting data from a wide variety of sources. Formatting options are included to Certainly it is the experience of the authors that make it easy to create complex specialized financial reports often provide the context in reports or graphical summary reports. Many which to view all operational results. publishers are familiar with the graphical report Publishing managers who contributed to this capabilities of Microsoft Excel. These White Paper indicated that financial reports packages work along the same lines but are provided the most helpful information to more sophisticated and integrative. support the attainment of their strategic objectives. Given the value of establishing Key Performance Indicators on an organizational Bill Breichner, Journals Manager for Johns and departmental level, both reports that Hopkins University Press, shared several measure the organization’s progress on a macro interesting comments about the important role level as well as reports that measure a played by financial reports within his particular department’s success are important. organization: This section will discuss reports from all areas of the publisher’s operations, including: “Couldn’t forecast without monthly financial reports; they enable you to create a process… like a textbook for a class—they create structure. Financial and business management Then your syllabus can be built around the Marketing—circulation and advertising textbook…allows your decisions to be based on Production—paper and electronic facts. If you’re just discussing something, it doesn’t Editorial matter; but I’m a big proponent—if we need to make a decision, let’s use a report.” (Breichner) The Sheridan Press 7
  8. 8. What is meant by “financial reports?” In addition, it is important to build a strong linkage between budget costs and expectations In scholarly publishing, these financial reports of work to be performed. For instance, the seem to be the two used most often: financial impact of a new hire in marketing should be reflected not just on the expense side 1) Annual Budget of the ledger, but also in improved licensing 2) Profit and Loss Statement revenues by year 2, for example. Annual budget If upper management requires a 15% reduction For many organizations, the budget cycle in the customer service budget, they should be seems to be the same—maybe a little more or informed that this will require shortening the less onerous, formal, or confrontational business day for live-answering of phone calls depending on the organization, but roughly the by 1 hour. Alternately, a 15% reduction could same: be proposed in an area that will have less of an impact on the business as a whole. The budget 1. Receive the preliminary materials from should remain linked to the services on which it finance with the necessary forms to will be spent. complete and submit. 2. Complain that the forms really do not fit the Many societies establish budgets for their department well, but the forms are organization as a whole but do not establish completed and submitted, usually on time. distinct budgets for their journals. When an 3. Wait while finance does some magic and industry is stable and prosperous, like the the budget comes back with a note from scholarly publishing industry was in the 1980’s, above to cut it by some unreasonable it may not be as critical to know budget details number. down to the journal level. 4. Trim out the “padding” initially put in and then identify other items that can be cut. In today’s more chaotic and complex 5. Resubmit the budget. environment, however, many society publishers 6. Sometimes repeat the cycle. are looking for answers to questions that a 7. Finally receive a note from finance with the journal budget would help clarify: What is the approved budget for next year, even if it largest revenue stream for the organization? already is next year. How do online costs compare with print costs? 8. Look at what remains in the budget and What percentage of subscription revenue is the wonder how the targets can possibly be marketing budget? Treating each publication as reached with such limited investment. if it were a separate business is an excellent 9. Promise to give the budget more attention way to optimize revenue opportunities and next year. (Reh, 2004) minimize costs. It goes without saying that this is not an ideal A journal budget is a financial report that process for managers personally or for the identifies and breaks out major sales and cost organization as a whole. But can anything be line items and important statistics. The done to improve it? While it is unlikely that any minimum revenue and cost items to include in one individual can effect much of a change to journal budget are found in Table 2. the budget process—at least not quickly—there are ways to make the budget less of a mechanized time-spend and more of a roadmap for reaching strategic goals. 8 Critical Business Planning
  9. 9. JOURNALS BUDGET certainly necessary, marketing costs should be Sales revenues Sales costs monitored and compared frequently to similar Subscriptions Editorial numbers from other organizations in the same Single copy Production industry with products in the same point in the Advertising Postage life cycle. Reprints Sales and marketing Licensing Total sales costs Author fees Gross margin Gross margin is the difference between sales Total sales revenues Overhead expenses revenues and sales costs. If the difference is Journal management positive, it is referred to as a surplus in the General and administrative nonprofit arena and as gross profit in the Total overheads commercial sector. A negative difference is a Total costs loss and is shown in parentheses. Net surplus/deficit Table 2. Journals Budget Adapted from Page, Campbell, Overhead expenses for journals usually are and Meadows, 1997, and supplemented using divided into two segments: professional experience of Kaufman-Wills Group. 1) Journal management 2) General and administrative Although many publishers may be comfortable Journal management costs are those costs such reading a budget, many others are not. Budget as dedicated and partially dedicated staff line items are relatively easy to understand salaries and benefits. General & administrative once the elements that go into them are costs are associated with running the elucidated. The following paragraphs describe organization in general terms, such as each of these line items. electricity, leasing space, etc. To maximize a journal’s surplus, these costs should be Often called the top line, sales revenues monitored closely and kept as low as possible. represents the amount the organization has sold during the period. One of the things that make Net surplus (deficit) is what remains when journals financially attractive as a type of total costs are subtracted from total revenues. publication is that they typically have more than one revenue stream. For future decision Creating a budget and understanding the line making, it is useful to provide detail as to items within should not just be based on history which products or services are major revenue but also should reflect the strategic vision. If producers. resources are not allocated to what the organization wishes to achieve, reaching those Sales costs are what it costs the organization to goals will be unlikely. generate the sales shown in total sales revenue above. Compare the total costs to the total Profit & Loss Statement revenue, but also look at the cost of each line of product or service versus its revenue. In some Once a journals budget is set, managers turn to organizations, sales costs also are known as monthly Profit and Loss (P&L) statements Cost of Goods Sold (CGS). Editorial, throughout the year to measure how actual production, postage, and distribution-related performance stacks up against the budget. costs all are part of sales costs for journals. Following is a sample monthly P&L for a scholarly journal including line items similar to Marketing expenses can be included under those supplied by Lippincott Williams & sales costs or in their own category. Marketing Wilkins to their society publishing partners expenses are not directly related to producing (Pippin, 2004): the product or service to be sold. While The Sheridan Press 9
  10. 10. Journal P&L Budget Budget Actual Actual year Last year Last SALES COSTS Subscription Edl, prod, and mfg Member Editorial allowance Nonmember Manuscript mgmt system Online-only Copyediting Sponsored Data conversion, tagging Total subscription Composition Business-to-business Printing Display Online start-up Classified Online maintenance Commercial reprints Total edl, prod, and mfg Supplements, other Subscription promotion Total B-to-B B-to-B promo Author charges B-to-B commission Author reprints Customer service Color charges Product mgmt overheads Page/submission charges General & administrative overheads Total author charges TOTAL COSTS Rights and permissions SURPLUS/DEFICIT Translations SOCIETY SHARE Other PUBLISHER SHARE Total rights/permissions STATISTICS Other sales B-TO-B TOTAL SALES Display advertising pages Classified advertising pages Total advertising pages Supplement pages ED’L, PROD, MFG Number of issues Print page budget Online page budget Cost/printed page Cost/online page OVERHEADS % sales Table 3. Sample Journal P&L 10 Critical Business Planning
  11. 11. Different organizations find different elements On the cost side, manufacturing costs typically of the P&L more useful than others. The represent a large percentage of total costs. Cost American Psychiatric Association says that it is savings can often be identified by tracking more important to them to focus efforts on manufacturing costs. Johns Hopkins University understanding and impacting revenues—“given Press monitors the items illustrated in Table 4. Date of invoice Printing Total # Comp Pgs Manufacturing invoice date Mfg Total Postage Printing Vendor Vendor Mailing Paper Comp Comp Distro cost tracker Cost/ Pg $ $ $ $ Journal # # Volume Print Copies Issue Pgs Table 4. Manufacturing Cost Tracker (Breichner) Other societies find that growing editorial costs the challenge of protecting and managing so require them to set up and monitor editorial many revenue streams.” (Stein) Luckily, the office expenses. Even with a fixed editorial association’s expenses are coming in on allowance, editorial staffs often require help to budget. To track revenues, 2-page variance manage their offices more cost-effectively. An reports are used, which identify at-a- editorial office budget template (Table 5). glance those areas requiring greater attention. Smaller publishers may find that while P&Ls Editorial office budget template are important to review, other reports are even Personnel Expenses more critical to their day-to-day operations. Salaries Such publishers may have little need to monitor Employee Benefits accounts receivable, but are likely to rely heavily on cash flow reports as compared with Taxes, insurance allocations the previous year. Thinking about the reason Personnel Expenses Subtotal behind the variations can be very useful in Office Expenses identifying the next best steps to take. (Collins) Office Supplies Photocopying When there are particular areas of a journal that Manuscript System Maintenance need attention because of potential Telephone and Fax opportunities or challenges, it is often helpful Postage, Shipping, Overnight Mail for organizations to hone in on those areas. For Travel/Entertainment/Dues many publishers, licensing revenue is growing faster than any other revenue stream. It is Institutional Overheads useful therefore to understand which licensors Institutional Charge backs are providing the greatest share of the total Office Expenses Subtotal licensing revenues. Once these licensors have TOTAL been identified, publishers work to increase Statistics revenues further with those licensors. It may be Total Staff possible to negotiate a higher royalty, to license Total Manuscript Submissions other titles, or change licensing rates in some Manuscripts/Staff way to optimize sales. If the demand is there, it may be profitable to license a collection of Cost/Submission titles. (Richman, 2004) Table 5. Editorial Office Budget, Ekman and Quandt, 1999 The Sheridan Press 11
  12. 12. Paper/Online v online only cost comparison template Paper + Online Online only Costs Per pg % Total Per pg % Total Diff % Diff Editorial Editorial office Copyediting Subtotal editorial Production Page composition Print, bind Paper Subtotal print mfg Mail Subtotal print mfg, mail Data conversion/archiving Online hosting Subtotal online mfg Subtotal production Total editorial + production Table 6. Paper/Online v Online Only Cost Comparison Template In addition to tracking print manufacturing journal, everyone cares about circulation— costs, many publishers are wondering how a editorial, production, marketing, and finance. decline in print subscriptions may impact their Circulation reports can be enormously editorial and production costs. Above (Table informative. For instance, if a journal’s 6) is a spreadsheet template comparing the nonmember individual circulation is declining costs of producing both the print and online but the publications staff does not know why, edition versus producing the electronic edition the circulation report may provide important only. clues. The circulation report may show that the membership department has been successfully While this analysis does not take into account adding in members by converting nonmember the impact of different scenarios on revenue, it individuals to members. does provide publishers with information on which costs are fixed whether or not a Tracking the number of graced subscribers on publisher produces a print version. the membership rolls each month will provide an advance glimpse of the success of renewal Marketing efforts and offer valuable intelligence for Marketers rely heavily on report data to decision-making. If the number of graced evaluate their success, make decisions about subscribers has increased substantially from the next steps, and identify trends. Marketers use previous year at the same time, it could be circulation reports, new business reports, worthwhile to implement extra renewal efforts, renewal reports, and online usage reports. perhaps faxing or emailing to augment efforts to date. (Collins) Circulation report Historically, the circulation report has been the There are many appropriate ways to format a crown jewel of all journal publishing reports. circulation report; following is one example After all, no matter their direct interest in the (Table 7): 12 Critical Business Planning
  13. 13. Current Previous Renewal report Circulation report year year/s Expire Effort Effort Effort Effort Effort US group 1 2 3 4 5+ Member < 2004 Aug Oct Jan Mar Check % Personal Nov/Dec Aug Oct Jan Mar Check % nonmember Jan/Feb Sep Nov Mar Jun Check % Institutional Total US Mar/Apr Nov Jan May Aug Check % Non US May/Jun Jan Mar Jul Oct Check % Member Jul/Aug Mar Jun Sep Dec Check % Personal nonmember Sep/Oct May Aug Nov Feb Check % Institutional Table 8. Renewals Schedule Total Non US TOTAL CIRCULATION The schedule also can be augmented with information on the types of renewals employed: Total US direct mail, email, journal cover wrap, phone. Total non US Total member Detailed information on renewals is provided in other Sheridan White Papers such as Total nonmember personal “Marketing Scholarly Journals” (2001), “How Total institutional to Market Print and Electronic Journals to Total site license Libraries” (2003), and “Member Recruitment” Total personal (2003) found at online-only Total institutional While a renewals schedule provides a good online-only foundation for an organization’s renewals strategy, knowing whether the strategy has Table 7. Circulation Report been successful requires a solid renewal rate report. Below is an example of a renewal Renewal reports report adapted from a report generated by Conventional business wisdom suggests that it QuickFill, a PC-based subscription fulfillment is far less expensive to keep existing customers package (Table 9). than it is to find new ones. Even so, many Renewal rate report organizations devote more time and effort to gaining new customers than to answering the No action Canceled Renewed Renewed subscribers and paid Expired Source list needs of current customers. Similarly, many Effort Total publishers neither maximize the return on their renewal efforts nor accurately measure their renewal rate. # % # % # % # % # % A 1 The first step in maintaining the current B 2 customer base is to establish a cost-effective Total renewals strategy. A renewals schedule is often the basis of a strong renewals strategy. The renewals schedule lays out the number of Table 9. Renewal Rate Report, adapted from QuickFill efforts the organization will put forth. (, subscription fulfillment package An example of a 5-effort renewals schedule for The foregoing report allows publishing staff to a bimonthly journal follows (Table 8): check on the renewal rates of subscriptions from different sources. Renewal reports can be generated in many different versions depending The Sheridan Press 13
  14. 14. on the information desired: for example, by publication, list, package, plan, and tracking Analyze visitor traffic patterns. This can code. For journal publishers, ensuring a high improve how well the site leads visitors to renewal rate along with securing new the desired location by identifying which subscribers are the two elements needed to paths they follow and whether the route is increase the absolute number of subscribers. helping to meet the organization’s business goals. New business marketing reports Expanding its customer base is crucial to the Measure content effectiveness. This helps continued viability of any organization and identify which content, pages, and sections often is a key component of the strategic plan. of the site are most interesting and Table 10 is a new business report like the one engaging. publishers often use to track the success of their direct marketing efforts (reprinted from Following are two sample web trend Kaufman-Wills Group, “Member “dashboard” reports (Figure 6): Recruitment,” The Sheridan Group, 2003). Online usage reports The use of online information resources is growing exponentially. Both the producers and purchasers of information believe that the use of these resources should be measured in a way that is useful. Librarians want to understand better how the information they buy from a variety of sources is being used, and publishers want to know how the information products they disseminate are being accessed. Editors want to know which articles are being downloaded. Marketers want to cite the most popular Web features. More than ever, business managers are required to run their online business like their offline business—by the numbers. WebTrends is an Figure 6. Top visited sections on Web site. Copyright © example of one tool to which many businesses 1993 - 2003 NetIQ and/or its suppliers, 3553 North First Street, San Jose, CA 95134, U.S.A. All rights protected. turn in order to measure these key performance indicators: Sample promotion tracking grid List Quantity Mailed Offer Package # % Cost 1 Income 2 Inc:cost Response Response A 5,000 4/20 Standard 4-piece letter 40 .8% $4,500 $4,000 $.89 B 7,500 4/25 Discount Self-mailer 95 1.27% $7,500 $9,500 $1.26 Letter w/ C 10,000 4/30 Premium 175 1.75% $15,000 $17,500 $1.16 teaser copy 1. The cost per piece is $.90 for mailing A, $1 for mailing B, and $1.50 for mailing C. 2. Assumes an annual membership fee of $100. Table 10. Sample Promotion Tracking Grid (reprinted from Kaufman-Wills Group, “Member Recruitment,” The Sheridan Group, 2003). 14 Critical Business Planning
  15. 15. Many online service providers provide alternate purchasing decisions; and plan infrastructure reporting systems to which WebTrends can be more effectively. added as an adjunct. For instance, Science Magazine is hosted online by HighWire Press Publishers and intermediaries will be able to but also relies on WebTrends reports to track provide data to customers in a format they progress toward its electronic publishing expect and desire; compare the relative usage objectives. of different delivery channels; aggregate data for a customer that is using multiple delivery Launched in March 2002, COUNTER channels, and learn more about genuine usage (Counting Online Usage of Networked patterns. Electronic Resources) is an international Code of Practice governing the recording and To comply with Release 1 of the COUNTER exchange of online usage data. COUNTER is Code of Practice, vendors will have to provide supported by librarians and publishers around to customers the set of basic usage reports. the globe, as well as their professional Samples follow (Figures 7-8): organizations, including: Journal Report 1: Number of Successful Full -Text Article Requests by Month and Journal AAP, Association of American Publishers ALPSP, The Association of Learned & Print Online Jan Feb Mar Calendar Professional Society Publishers ISSN ISSN 01 01 01 YTD ARL, Association of Research Libraries Total full- ASA, Association of Subscription Agents text and Intermediaries turnaways 453 233 318 4765 for all JISC, Joint Information Systems Committee Journals NCLIS, National Commission on Libraries Journal A 1212-3131 3225-3123 23 40 12 342 and Information Science Journal B 9821-3361 2312-8751 18 20 16 287 NISO, National Information Standards Figure 7. Full Text Article Requests, reprinted with Organization permission, STM, International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers Journal Report 2: Turnaways by Month and Journal (This report is applicable only where the COUNTER initially is concentrating its efforts user access model is based on a maximum number on journals and databases, as these types of of concurrent users, such as Ovid Technologies, content are not only the major items in Inc.) most library material budgets but also Print Online Jan Feb Mar Calendar have been available online for some ISSN ISSN 01 01 01 YTD time and have a core of well-accepted Total for all 6637 8732 7550 45897 journals definitions and content structures. This Journal A 1212-3131 3225-3123 456 521 665 4532 is not the case, for example, with e- Journal B 9821-3361 2312-8751 203 251 275 3465 books; these and other types of content Journal C 2464-2121 0154-1521 0 0 0 0 will be covered later. Journal D 5355-5444 0165-5542 203 251 275 2978 Figure 8. User Turnaways, reprinted with permission, COUNTER promises to bring these benefits to librarians, publishers and intermediaries (as paraphrased from All major scholarly publishers and online service providers have agreed to make their full Librarians will be able to compare usage text web sites COUNTER-compliant by 2005. statistics from different publishers and online Once the COUNTER reports become prevalent, service providers; make better-informed publishers will have a whole new set of Key Performance Indicators. Many publishing The Sheridan Press 15
  16. 16. “futurists” believe that these types of online to use the Key Performance Indicators of article usage data may usurp the significance of even downloads, renewal rate, and cost-per-article to the journal circulation report and change the try to show the positive results of their notion of a subscription from that of a volume investment in online services with the purpose to an article-by-article proposition. of reassuring and enthusing the shareholders. Elsevier, the largest publisher of scholarly Advertising journals, recently announced its financial In addition to subscription revenue, product records for 2003 and forecast for 2004 and and/or classified advertising is a very important after. Two slides bear reprinting in this section revenue stream to many journals. Many of the White Paper. Elsevier has been counting publishers have strategic goals to increase their the number of articles downloaded on its share of advertising market dollars and, thus, aggregated journal service, Science Direct. The establish Key Performance Indicators to data collected appears in Figure 9: measure their progress toward meeting those goals. Strong Demand In advertising, these two factors are most typically tracked: 1) Market share—that is, ad Acceleration in article Continued low attrition dollars and ad pages against journals in the downloads (m) 175 market; 2) Advertising exposure trends, which 8.5% are dependent on circulation and readership. 5% 86 4% 4% 4% FOCUS and MediaChek/APEX are two 29 50 syndicated reports that measure journal reach 16 and exposure potential in the healthcare market. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 ( 7 Every six months, FOCUS provides a means of Figure 9. Article downloads. evaluating medical journal average issue readers and average issue advertising ScienceDirect hosts some 1,700 journals. Since exposures, giving performance information 1999, article downloads have increased from 16 important to planning campaigns or attracting million to 175 million per year. At the same new advertisers. Media-Chek® is an audit that time, Elsevier reports that it has reduced and measures readership and exposure potential of held constant its subscription attrition rate to medical journals. The audit provides measures 4%, which is lower than the 8%-10% or more of the number of high, medium, and total that many other journal publishers are facing. readers for more than 300 medical publications, In Table 11, Elsevier discloses these data: and relates these to various audience Elsevier 2001-2003 characteristics, including physician specialty and type of practice. Usage - article downloads +86% Reduction in cost/article download >50% Table 11. Article Usage If a publisher thinks that their journal would benefit from being included in the study, and Not only is the information revealed in these the journal is distributed to at least 25% of slides interesting in its own right but also it market, the publisher can ask to be included demonstrates how usage data can be used with (Tauber, 2004). Access to the data then is other data to help achieve various strategic available for purchase by the publisher. objectives, such as “Provide increased value to shareholders.” In this example, Elsevier is able 16 Critical Business Planning
  17. 17. For tracking healthcare journal advertising Sample production schedule spending and campaign strategy, there are the Text Journal Ad Review (JAR) and JARScan Manuscript in reports. Journal Ad Review™ (JAR) provides a monthly audit of spending that helps users Manuscript to Conversion understand where advertisers are spending and Manuscript to Ms Editing why. JARScan™ is an online complement to Manuscript to Composition JAR that enables access to ads placed in Proof to Author/Editor/Production Mgr pharmaceutical publications. JARScan Corrected proof to Production customers can sort, view, and print 4-color ad Late news to Ms Editing images to perform trending and competitive Late news to Composition analysis, and add impact to new business Final TOC to Ms Editing presentations. Corrected proof to Composition Production Revised proof to Ms Editing (incl news) Following is a two-part graphic that can be Breakdown to Production used to illustrate a publisher’s goal to Revised proof to Composition dramatically cut their time to publication—a Confirmation proof to Production Mgr number one goal for many publishers today Final approval to printer (Figure 10). The first graphic illustrates the Postscript files to printer goal by comparing the average number of PDF files to int’l printers weeks a manuscript takes to move from Late Editorials submission to publication with the optimal Advertising number of weeks. The second graphic Ad closing date illustrates what might be done to accomplish the goal; that is, how much time needs to be cut New ad material due out of each stage of production. Ad dummy in Press Blue = optimum Released for planning Black = current Text and conversion materials to litho Mail material in Press planned Labels FTPd to int’l printers Blues out Blues in Inserts in 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 (Weeks) Accept Press date Edit Advance copies mail 1st proofs optimum 1st proofs approved Mailing complete current 2nd proofs Online release date 2nd proofs approved Final proofs Embargo date and time 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 101112131415 Film Online Activity Print/bind/mail Weeks Customer receipt Release of text, graphics, PDFs to online vendor Figure 10. Current v Desired Time to Publication Table 12. Sample Production Schedule The Sheridan Press 17
  18. 18. To achieve these objectives, journal production Societies generally do not set specific staff needs to establish and follow a production requirements for each factor as much as they schedule that reflects the desired reduction in monitor an editor’s adherence to broad time intervals. Table 12 (on the previous page) objectives and watch for positive trends. is a sample production schedule from submission of manuscripts to publication in A publications director of a major basic science print and online. A production schedule should journal responded to our query on this subject identify major production tasks and typical with the following comments, which time-to-completion. Johns Hopkins University characterize many scholarly journals: Press completes the worksheet below (Table 13) to help them track the speed with which “I’ve worked with mostly self-motivated editors who issues move through production. demanded perfection from themselves and others. In my experience, time to first decision, backlog, adherence to page budget and even circulation and Editorial financial matters fall on the shoulders of the Given that “content is king,” no paper on managing editor or director of pubs. strategic planning would be complete without a “I have never seen formal performance discussion of the critical role that editorial requirements for an editor. I have seen plays. The next few paragraphs discuss the Publications Committee’s call into question myriad ways in which goal-setting and overshooting page budgets, overspending within measurement of editor performance and the the Editor’s office, and diminishing quality of the peer-review process can help in fulfilling the journal. Typically, editors (have) strong personalities and so the Publications’ Committee strategic mission. casually points out a problem, grumbles behind the Editor’s back for the next few years, and then just Editorial performance criteria waits out the term of the editor.” What are the Key Performance Indicators for editorial performance established by peer- reviewed scientific journals? There appears to In our experience, it is rare for societies to be significant commonality in the factors that employ an actual carrot-and-stick approach to scientific scholarly societies view as important editor management, but it is not unheard of. In in evaluating an editor’s performance. These our experience, there is only one society that factors include: employs an actual carrot-and-stick approach, albeit using subjective criteria. One society Quality, balance of editorial content rewards editors who have performed well in the Scientific impact eyes of the Publications Committee by paying Quality of peer-review for additional pages. However, failure to live Number of manuscripts submitted up to expectations results in a lowered Time to publication, backlog performance bonus—a third component of the Adherence to page budget editorial allowance (the other components Board composition being a flat honorarium and cost of living Adherence to editorial budget increase). Online use, circulation Production time intervals Issue Comp. To To Total To Advance Print Prod Mail Vendor comp. printer comp. printer coord. copy code rec’d Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Date: Table 13. Number of days in each stage of production (Breichner) 18 Critical Business Planning
  19. 19. Some publishers have their editors prepare an manuscript review times, page budget usage editorial development plan which can be (including backlog of accepted manuscripts), revisited later to compare and contrast actual acceptance rate, reviewer performance, achievement with the plan. It has been our submissions, budgetary expenditures, and experience that it is very uncommon for office management issues. The editors and SPC scholarly publishers to terminate an editor. review and discuss regularly these data, There has been just one medical specialty reinforcing expectations, identifying potential journal publisher that has fired an editor due to imbalances, and developing new standards and failure to follow the editor’s own editorial plan. objectives appropriate for each journal. The Other societies do take, if not specific goals and performance objectives set by the measurements, at least a more structured SPC are outlined below: (Prudhomme, 2004). approach toward monitoring an editor’s performance. Some societies’ editor-hiring 1. To improve the quality of published science in decisions are based on intangibles such as AHA journals, the SPC has mandated an professional reputation, networking abilities, acceptance rate of no more than 25%. 2. A new review category for manuscripts of and administrative proficiency. “inappropriate” is being instituted. While the AHA wishes to encourage quality science, For some of its journals, the University of many manuscripts submitted to the journal may Chicago Press (UCP) has a process whereby be inappropriate for reasons of quality, subject editors are subjected to “peer review.” Before matter, presentation, or other reasons. 3. A manuscript should be considered a new renewing an editor’s term, UCP identifies four submission after 120 days have passed since to five lead scientists in the journal’s area and the decision to reject has been communicated asks for an evaluation of the journal. Statistics to the author by the Editor. This interval can be and highlights about the journal are provided to shortened at the Editor’s discretion as a part of the reviewer as background (Shirrell, 2004). the initiative to shorten the review process. 4. The AHA has established a goal of no more than 6 weeks for review time from submission Another way editors and content are evaluated of a manuscript by an author to the Editor’s first is by regular reader surveys. Sometimes editors decision regarding the manuscript. are responsible for rating reviewers. Editors 5. A backlog of articles is not permitted to rate reviews as they come in: continues to use accumulate. A backlog is defined as articles good reviewers, stops sending manuscripts to with a publication interval of more than 12-14 weeks from the date of acceptance to the date poor reviewers. At another journal, editor of publication. performance is being measured against online 6. Annually, the AHA may survey authors, editors, usage. Which articles are being viewed? Is reviewers and staff to assess service and usage increasing? How does online usage performance levels the editorial offices. compare against competitors? (see earlier 7. Annually, the AHA may solicit the opinion of external expert reviewers to assess the quality discussion about COUNTER). and impact of the journal’s content. It is typical at editorial board meetings to discuss strategies for improving the journal. These discussions usually cover impact factor—both in terms of rank and the year-on- year trend. One journal’s Board has set a goal to improve their impact factor by publishing review articles on hot topics early in year. The American Heart Association has quite a formal editorial performance framework. Each editor is expected to provide the Scientific Publications Committee (SPC) with data on The Sheridan Press 19
  20. 20. Table 14 below outlines the performance measuring the proportion of manuscripts indicators and reporting schedule for editors: received by subject area, and virtually eliminating manuscript delivery expenses. P erfo rm ance assessm ent fo r jo urnals R eview S chedule There are several available systems on the 12/yr 4/yr 2/yr 1/yr market today of which publishers can avail C riteria themselves. Three of the most common Im pact factor X include Scholar One, Editorial Manager, and R eview tim es Bench>Press®. The latter system is used by S ubm ission to 1st decision (<6 w eeks) R eceipt to acceptance X X The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental A cceptance to publication (8 w eeks) X Therapeutics. The sample reports (using mock P age budget data) below (Figure 11) show how data can be M onthly quota B acklog of accepted m anuscripts X X extracted from the system to monitor M anuscripts in review X publication speed throughout of the peer- Subm issions year-to-date X review process: A cceptance rate A cceptance rate <25% X E ditorial review : inappropriate X R eview er perform ance Acceptance to first decision X Turnaround for 20XX Q uality of review X N um ber of review s X Submitted to First Decision P roduction deadlines Print m aterials X # Submitted 500 O nline only m aterials X Avg. Days to Assignment 2 E ditorial office "C ustom er service," author satisfaction X Avg. Days to Suggest Reviewers 5 E ffective com m unication w / B oard, Avg. Days Until Paper is Under Review 5 review ers, staff X S taffing issues X Avg. # Reviewers Used 2 O ffice efficiency X B udget under/overruns X Avg. Days to Review 17 E ditorial B oard Avg. Days to Render First Decision 3 Frequency and effectiveness of m eetings X Balance and expertise X Avg. Days from Submission to First Decision 42 Solicitation of new , key w ork X Revisions Table 14. Editorial Assessment Criteria, reprinted Avg. Days From First Decision Until Revision 60 with permission, American Heart Association, 2004. Arrives Avg. Days for AE to Take Action 3 Peer-review reports Percent of Manuscripts Rereviewed 30% There are two main (and inter-related) editorial Avg. # of Revision Reviewers 1 objectives front-and-center in the minds of journal publishers today: 1) Shorten time to Avg. Days for Rereview 10 publication; 2) Automate the peer-review Avg. Days to Render Revision Decision 2 process. Some of the tools that publishers use Avg. Days from Revision Receipt to Revision 30 to monitor their progress toward the goal of Decision shortening time to publication have already Accepted Papers been discussed (see Production section). Avg. # Days from First Submission to Acceptance 72 Making use of software available today to # Days from Acceptance to Publication 40 automate the peer-review process is another Figure 11. Copyright © 2001 by American Society for way that publishers can achieve not only the Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. Reports from goal of hastening time to publication but also Bench>Press®, a service of Stanford University’s HighWire Press. reducing tedious data entry among editorial staff, identifying the best and fastest reviewers, 20 Critical Business Planning