The digital landscape is developing at an incredible rate and COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend. User expectations for education and entertainment content continue to evolve and collide, and we don’t expect the rate of change to slow any time soon.
"Content publishers must look for opportunities to embrace market disruption and to combat threats to customers."
Meanwhile, due to remote working arrangements, cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever to exploit weaknesses in organizations’ digital infrastructure. As a result, we’re seeing increasing cyber threats to both businesses already operating online, and those who have had to speed up their digital transformation.
In this context of disruption, content publishers must look for opportunities to embrace market disruption and to combat threats to customers. This is especially true for us at Wiley, as we enable researchers, professionals, students, universities and corporations to achieve their goals in these ever-changing times. It is our mission to unlock human potential; when our customers succeed, so does the global knowledge ecosystem.
How can content publishers stay ahead of the curve? Below are three key trends that I see shaping the industry and some strategies that we use at Wiley to address them.
1) Information overload - Keeping users engaged
Information disruption is significant–and keeping users engaged has never been more challenging. I believe there are a few universal principles to reduce information overload.
Less text on screen. Wiley adopts this principle in our Wiley PLUS platform. Instead of encountering the entire textbook on the screen at once, students interact with content in the form of learning paths that intuitively organize materials into modules, including manageable sections of text, videos, animations and practice questions. Moreover, our adaptive practice solution, powered by Knew ton technology, serves up relevant content for just-in-time instruction. The practice and assignments are adaptive, pinpointing learners’ knowledge gaps and driving students to what they need to focus on for better outcomes.
Enriched content. In addition to reducing the amount of text, rich media components–like audio and visual materials–help keep audiences engaged. At Wiley, we publish more than 1,700 academic journals–and while articles have plenty of images, abstracts typically don’t, making selecting articles for in depth review a tough task.
We embed graphical abstracts into research articles, as well as add data visualizations, to help the reader visually see what the article is about–and make the science come to life.
Greater accessibility. The digital age has brought new challenges for users with different abilities. Content providers need to invest in accessibility solutions. To support all learners, Wiley is following a content and platform strategy that strives to make our e-books, videos, lecture slides, and assessment questions accessible through a range of accessibility tools.
2) Content piracy and cyber threats - Protecting IP through better proactive security, content protection and digital innovation
Cyber threats loom large across every industry–and they’re particularly rife in media. We cannot let this disrupt our business nor the lives of our customers. In our business, students, teachers and researchers, as well as authors, are the ones who suffer when academic materials are pirated. Since pirate sites do not retract nor correct the research they circulate, this piracy leads to inaccurate content being distributed. The result is damage to the credibility and integrity that has been built over many years by academic and scientific communities.
Combatting piracy often requires both company-specific and industry-aligned approaches. At Wiley, we are developing a content and brand protection strategy that takes action to better secure intellectual property. This means creating more robust digital ecosystems for our customers, and partnering with other content industries to leverage their expertise. Only by developing an in-depth knowledge about our content and rights portfolio, and the ways in which assets are being infringed, can we successfully remedy piracy. Holistic strategies that increase protections for our content and products, dissuade piracy efforts by identifying bad actors, and remove illegal content and counterfeit products from distribution channels, benefit everyone involved in the knowledge ecosystem.
To increase visibility of piracy issues at an industry-wide level, Wiley has become part of coalitions that work to safeguard the scholarly record. For example, Wiley is part of the Scholarly Network Security Initiative, which brings together publishers and institutions to solve cyber-challenges threatening the integrity of the scientific record, scholarly systems and the safety of personal data.
3) Information access: any place, anytime, anywhere - Providing a global audience with easy, safe and secure access to valuable knowledge
Reaching each individual user remains an ongoing challenge for the industry, with regulations and technological capacity varying in each jurisdiction. And let’s not forget that customer needs are always changing.
Wiley works very hard to customize solutions to better meet local needs.
We enable scientific discovery by supporting universities and their staff to publish and access cutting-edge research. This is especially important when it comes to open access publishing, which seeks to publish and disseminate peer reviewed research to wide audiences. We also work with editors and experts on-the-ground to ensure the development of high-impact research content.
When it comes to powering education and shaping workforces, we deliver up skilling and reskilling services that meet the specific needs of the market. For example, Wile y NXT, which works with academic institutions and industry to build workforce for new and in-demand technologies, is particularly impactful in India.
The pace of change is faster now than it was even five years ago. With this, the content publishing industry faces ongoing challenges–and opportunities–to deliver more content more effectively to more people. Whether the goal is to educate, entertain, or anything in between, industry professionals should consider how they can stay ahead of the curve to keep audiences engaged, combat content piracy and cyber threats, and reach a global audience.