The Journal of Health Economics and Outcomes Research (JHEOR) is an open-access journal that focuses mainly on the economics of health and health policies. The journal publishes articles on topics such as the cost-effectiveness of certain treatments as well as different analyses of medications in the pharmaceutical industry and of hospital processes.
JHEOR was searching for ways to create the metadata and JATS XML (Journal Article Tag Suite XML) tags necessary for their articles to be indexed and included in the PubMed and Web of Science databases. JHEOR was using a typesetting process that was time-consuming and simply did not produce the quality of work JHEOR expected for their articles. For this process, the journal was using Adobe InDesign to create between five and eight articles a month. Authors would review PDF versions of their articles and return them with changes and comments, which JHEOR had to then implement via InDesign.
“We didn’t know we had a problem with the typesetting process being a bottleneck for us,” said Nadia Rodriguez, one of the managing editors of JHEOR. “We’d have to go in and make a lot of edits, and all the going back and forth with authors was really delaying us publishing articles promptly.”
Large images and tables were especially time- and labor-intensive. “Our articles have many tables, and sometimes they’re really large,” said Nadia. “There’s a lot of editing going on in the InDesign document in terms of the layout itself. It doesn’t automatically update. It takes us about two weeks [to make the edits] sometimes.”
Pradeep Jain, the Founder and Chief Content Architect of Ictect, offered JHEOR a solution for streamlining the review and PDF creation process. “Ictect has a program where a Word file can be converted into a fully-formatted PDF, while also giving us the metadata we want,” said Nadia. “This will cut the publishing process by half because the typesetting is done instantly with their program.”
JHEOR switched to a journal-publishing platform that was able to provide the XML they required, coupled with Ictect’s Intelligent Content software to help make its proof-review and typesetting process much faster and more efficient.
Ictect’s Intelligent Content software allows JHEOR to insert articles into an established layout and then send authors review-ready proofs in Microsoft Word format. The authors are able to make their changes directly into the Word document, which JHEOR easily converts to PDF.
“It’s now just one step,” said Nadia. “We don’t have to go back and forth with a PDF. If the authors have to make any changes, they can do everything in the Word document.”
Ictect has also dramatically improved JHEOR’s typesetting process for tables and references. “When we transferred manuscripts from Word to InDesign, a lot of the table formatting was lost,” said Nadia. “But thanks to Ictect, references and formulas are not lost. We don’t have to go back and edit them. They’re automatically updated and easily transferable. This makes the PDF more dynamic and interactive.”
Ictect’s software has resulted in significant time savings for JHEOR. “It would take us about 25 hours to apply an author’s edits to just one manuscript over the course of two weeks,” said Nadia. “Now it’ll take us two hours to review and copy edit an article before sending it to the author for approval.”
JHEOR is also satisfied with the level of support and communication from Ictect. “Ictect’s response is basically immediate,” said Nadia. “I make comments on little things in the PDF or in the layout that needs work, and Ictect works on it immediately. By the next day or two, I already have a revised layout. It’s been very smooth and very quick.”
Nadia is confident that the ease of their prompt new process will also result in improved author relationships. “The authors want to see their articles published as soon as possible,” she said. “Ictect’s solution makes it easier and faster for them to have access to newly published articles. This will be very helpful in having a good relationship with the authors, as well as the community that interacts with our journal.”