With over 5,000 new papers published across 27,000 online journals daily, many scholarly articles simply never reach their intended audience and consequently fail to generate the impact they deserve.
Traditionally, scholarly publishers ensured the visibility of an authors’ work by circulating print journals to targeted readers. But fewer people are reading print journals anymore and as content continues to migrate from print to online — how can publishers optimize electronic distribution of content?
Current dissemination strategies, such as online press releases, certainly enhance visibility, but are limited to only a few selected publications. Other strategies, such as improving online journal user interfaces and the increasing availability of Open Access content help to enhance visibility, but these strategies fall short in getting the right content to the right audience.
There has been a lot of hype about social media and its effects on enhancing visibility. But the data has been mixed on its effectiveness. In the Nov. 2014 study “A Randomized Trial of Social Media from Circulation,” the data proved inconclusive in determining the effectiveness of social media for enhancing visibility of articles.
“A social media strategy for a cardiovascular journal did not increase the number of times an article was viewed,” the study concluded.
TrendMD fills a niche in the area of online content dissemination. The company was founded in 2012 by physician-scientist Dr. Paul Kudlow, and leading open access publisher of JMIR Publications, Dr. Gunther Eysenbach, with the simple goal of connecting the right content to the right audience. The two joined forces with a talented software engineering team to create a personalized recommendation engine that allows us to distribute scholarly content across online journals and blogs and push content directly to its intended readers.
The recommendation widget, which is free for content providers like journals to install, generates recommendations for readers based on their reading habits. Clicking on the link might take the reader to another article within the same journal—or to another journal owned by a different publisher altogether. Each click on a link that directs a reader outside the host publisher earns that publisher revenue, and/or a new visitor back to their site in return.
Here’s a concrete example, from the reader perspective:
- JAMA publishes an article about respiratory disease and would like to promote it. It sets a budget, and the article is disseminated through TrendMD’s network (360 journals and growing).
- Meanwhile, you’re reading a different article on respiratory disease in The BMJ. Since The BMJ has the TrendMD widget installed, it tells you that you might also be interested in the first article published by JAMA.
- You click the link. Your click “costs” one dollar, which is deducted from JAMA’s tab. The BMJ and TrendMD split the proceeds—and JAMA enjoys the increased exposure and site traffic. Alternatively, The BMJ may opt to reinvest the proceeds earned from the click on the sponsored link in order to have their content distributed, thus receiving a visitor directed from JAMA or another journal in the TrendMD network.
But we didn’t just create TrendMD for publishers. Content providers of all sorts, including individual researchers, can promote their research through TrendMD. As buyers, they select a budget and pay only for the actual click-throughs they receive. While Open Access was a first step towards authors enhancing the visibility of their work, TrendMD is a technology that addresses an unmet need of authors and publishers to actively distribute their best work across journals and publishers.
How TrendMD helps authors increase the visibility of their work
You may be asking yourself - “what determines where my content will be recommended?”
Traditional recommender systems stop at semantic enrichment (i.e. relatedness).
TrendMD utilizes a variety of factors to determine the best links for each reader, including relatedness, audience click behaviour (“people that read X, also clicked on Y”), article popularity, and personalization (i.e. what you have read in the past). Our algorithms are optimized to connect the right content to the right reader, at the right time.
We found that unrelated content recommendations generated a 24% higher click-through rate (number of times link seen / number of times link clicked). We think this makes intuitive sense. How would you feel if you were given recommendations on what to read next and each of them featured another review paper on heart failure? In some cases (e.g, if you were not satisfied with the first review paper), this might do the trick, but more often than not, you’d probably like to move on to another topic that really interests you.
We then tested TrendMD’s effects on visibility. We completed a parallel-group randomized controlled trial on 100 articles, all published on the same day, randomly selected from 75 medical journals indexed on PubMed. 50 articles were distributed and 50 articles remained undistributed. Articles that were distributed across the network received an 87% average increase in article views at 6 weeks versus control (191 views versus 102 views).
Moving forward, we are now testing to determine how distribution over the TrendMD network affects other metrics such as altmetrics and citations.
Edanz has established a partnership with TrendMD to help authors using our service to reach larger, more targeted audiences.We are currently designing a “premium author package”, whereby authors can pay for post-publication promotion over the TrendMD network in addition to receiving editing services, etc. TrendMD is offering Edanz authors a 50% discount off their regular prices. As soon as you publish your manuscript, TrendMD promotes your work, and you can monitor the increased visibility and uptake of your work by logging into your Edanz account.
In the interim, feel free to sign up to TrendMD at www.trendmd.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org. When signing up to TrendMD, input Edanz in the Organization box to receive a 50% discount off of regular prices.