September 1, 2023

The impact of digital transformation on scholarly publishing

Learn how digital publishing has evolved and impacted the scholarly publishing industry. Know its various features that simplify the work of research authors.

min read

Imagine being teleported to an era where only traditional publishing prevailed. You would probably be perplexed at the limited possibilities that existed before the onset of digital publishing. There would be many constraints on when and how you can consume and share information.

Gone are the times when you had to wait till the next day for the latest news to be published in newspapers or when you had to spend hours at the library trying to find information for your research. Unlike traditional publishing, digital publishing has resolved the relatively new need for immediacy.

How has digital publishing evolved through the years?

Digital publishing delivers eBooks, audio, infographics, blogs, and video through various platforms, including websites, emails, podcasts, apps, and social media sites. You can access this content through a wide range of electronic devices like PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

The onset of digital publishing began in 1971 when Project Gutenberg was established. This initiative was created when Michael Hart first made a digital copy of the American Declaration of Independence. It then gave rise to digital versions of nearly 60,000 books. The 1980s saw the rise of CD-ROMs. Newspaper publishers experimented with it to check alternate ways of publishing and distribution.

eBooks were introduced to the readers in various formats in the 1990s. In the 2000s, there was a surge in ebooks in PDF format, and it took the market by storm. eBooks provided a new experience that revolutionized the culture of reading. Later, Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iPad, and Google Books came into existence. After this, the meteoric rise in mobile technology in 2010 enabled reading ebooks from the convenience of a smartphone in your palm.

Digital publishing subsequently introduced newer formats like HTML, XML, ePub, and various cross-platform applications. This evolution in digital publishing has undeniably impacted the scholarly publishing ecosystem. It has paved the way for newer forms of research content.

Top reasons why digital publishing has taken over conventional academic publications

Conventional academic publishing has undergone a massive transition through digital adoption. The impact of digitization has changed how we perceive academic publications and has made life easier for scholars and editors in several ways.

Faster turnaround

With digital publishing, the time taken to publish has been considerably shortened. A hassle-free, customized content management system results in a faster end-to-end process.

This significantly reduces the time taken to compile, edit, review, and publish content.

What used to take around 1 to 2 years for a paper to get reviewed, accepted, and published in printed format, now takes just 6 to 8 weeks on average with digital. This means a shorter dissemination period of the research paper from submission to distribution.

Discover how one of our clients shortened their time-to-publication with Kriyadocs and published an article within a day of acceptance.

Wider reach

While it is a cumbersome chore to scan and retrieve a particular research paper in printed format, digital makes it easier and faster to access specific information. This is crucial because the discoverability of a research paper determines its global reach and impact.

The retrieval of academic articles is now simplified thanks to Indexing or discovery services. An indexing strategy helps your content become more discoverable online. Some of the different types of indexing services are:

  • Dedicated search engines for scholarly content like Google Scholar or Microsoft Academic.
  • Discipline-specific indexing databases like MEDLINE, PubMed for biomedical information.
  • Online directory of peer-reviewed open access journals like DOAJ.

Also, an array of relevant social media platforms are available to share scholarly content for better reach. Better discoverability means better chances for its relevance and ranking factors. Read more about how you can boost your research discoverability here.

Did you know that Kriyadocs supports out-of-the-box submissions to various indexing services/platforms like PubMed, DOAJ, and more?

Increased Storage

You no longer need to worry about space as a storage constraint. Digitization has made it possible to store any number of articles on any device. Users can also make use of cloud repositories like Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive.

Store and manage all your content in one place with Kriyadocs’ integrated CMS.

Contact us to see Kriyadocs in action!

AI-enabled tools for customized retrieval of information

It is estimated that nearly 1 million new scientific and academic research papers are published each year. That is equal to 1 record every 30 seconds. This massive flood of data needs to be streamlined for extracting, filtering, grouping, or ranking the search results.

With the help of AI-driven tools, you can now quickly scan through millions of scholarly records and easily retrieve the one you need in no time.

For example, the AI tool navigates through millions of records and returns a visual map of matching records. It relieves the burden of performing manual data extraction for your research.

Here are 6 reasons why AI is a game-changer in the publishing industry:

1. Better Citation Management

Citations play a major role in academic or scholarly publishing. They act as a reference to information from other external sources. Traditionally, scholars would spend a considerable amount of time including citations.

The impact factor evaluates how a journal performs within a field. It is a measure of how frequently articles from a journal are cited in a given period. This measure helps to find the rank and the importance of a journal. Thus citations play a significant role in determining the impact factor and the rank of a journal.

Some of the citation management tools like Endnote, Mendeley, RefWorks, and Zotero simplify the process of organizing, managing, and formatting the citations. They considerably cut down on time and effort.

2. Plagiarism Detection

Originality and quality are the cornerstones of any reputable academic publication. Plagiarized content could defame an earned reputation, thereby, resulting in the loss of trust within the scientific community. Also, prominent scholars of the world look up to high-quality content.

To ensure this high level of quality, stringent policies are required to identify and reject plagiarized content. It is a strenuous job to detect whether the submitted record is original. Plagiarism detection tools like iThenticate assist scientific or academic writers to detect plagiarized content. This also prevents working on the same underlying ideas that create duplicate records.

3. Multimodality

Multimodal communication involves the usage of multiple senses to enhance textual information. It includes aural, visual, spatial, gestural, and alphabetic semiotic modes. This existed well before the digital period in the form of images. But the most effective ones like audio and video are more common in digital media. According to studies, multimodality improves the effectiveness of content.

Also, more user-friendly and supportive formats like EPUB are more optimized for e-reading than the PDF format. It is device-independent and supports better search and navigation features.

4. Interactive content

Plain text educational papers tend to be difficult to consume. Hence, readers may have trouble retaining information. Such papers have become a thing of the past, with publishers and readers alike embracing newer interactive forms of content.

3D images, animation, and data visualization tools create impactful and interactive content. These improve the users’ engagement and reproducibility. It allows the readers to interact, explore, and change the settings dynamically to see the varying results. Plotly graphs and Code Ocean are examples of interactive visualization tools. These enable users to build their own map for different data points and see how the code works. eLife is one of the scholarly journals that implements interactive figures using Plotly.

Research journals like BMJ and SAGE Publications have enabled interactive learning. They provide engagement through outstanding visual content and simplify complex concepts.

5. Open access

Open access publishing in scholarly journals aims to remove the barriers in the scientific community. It grants full access to the research articles without the need for a paid subscription. This favors the authors looking to get funded for their research work. This movement of Open Access publishing has resulted in increased scientific research. It has also brought to light groundbreaking works by scholars around the world.

This also enables your work to be easily found and cited in other resources. Qualified individuals perform the peer review for the open access journals. The stringent review policies help maintain the quality and relevance of the research papers.

Discover how one of our customers streamlined their Open Access payment workflows with Kriyadocs and saved over 300 hours of manual work.

6. Multi-author collaboration

Collaborate with your co-author(s) with platforms such as Google Docs or Microsoft OneDrive. Earlier, multi-author research works involved a lengthy and tedious process. But now, it is much simpler because of digital publishing.

Kriyadocs supports collaborative review so you never have to worry about losing track of the changes being made to your content. Contact us to know more!


Digital publishing continues to open new avenues in the scholarly publishing industry. In the future, we can see improvised publishing processes, a rise in open access journals, and effective peer review.

Digital publishing has indeed revolutionized scientific and academic publishing. The publishing industry has come a long way in adopting and embracing digital transformation. As scholars contribute to the betterment of our planet through their research works, digital publishing ensures that their journey is smoother and the fruits of their hard work reach the wider audience faster while adding to the overall betterment of humanity.

Image courtesy: Designed by Freepik

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