Aries’ annual Editorial Manager User Group Meeting (EMUG) is a two-day event that includes presentations about upcoming features, workshops to identify requests for future releases and general discussion about publishing industry trends. Here are some of the most exciting takeaways from EMUG 2017.

Editor Signposting

In the upcoming 14.0 release, Aries is introducing an enhancement to the Editor Main Menu that allows editors to see at a glance which folders require more urgent attention. The Editor Signposting feature adds color-coded bars to indicate assignments that are on time (green), need attention (yellow) and late (red). Publications can customize per folder the number of days before an assignment needs attention or becomes late.

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The color-coded bars also extend to the individual submissions within each folder, by adding a sortable status column in each folder view.

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Along with the Editor Signposting feature comes enhancements to the Automated Editor Summary Reminders. These new reminders now include information from any of the folders in the Editor To-Do List, rather than only the New Invitations, New Assignments and Submissions with Required Reviews Complete folders. These folders may be configured to always be included in the summary reminder, or only appear if submissions need attention or are late. The color-coding is carried into the Rich Text (HTML) version of the summary reminder email. Together, the Editor Signposting and enhanced Automated Editor Summary Reminders will be useful tools for editors to better track submissions and manage their workloads.

Submission Form Redesign

The 14.1 release, planned for January 2018, will introduce a redesigned Author Submission Form interface, which promises to be a significant improvement to the author experience. The most impacting element of the new interface is the ability to extract information from the manuscript file, including the title, abstract and authors. This feature will work with any Word-readable file and doesn’t require the use of a Word template.

The new interface will also have an improved look and feel. The submission steps now appear horizontally across the top of the page, and condensed into fewer steps. This will hopefully lead to a quicker submission workflow and more efficient editorial process.

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Editorial Manager for Books

Beginning with version 13.0, Aries began enhancing existing features to better facilitate a books workflow. EM for Books uses a combination of Editorial Manager and Produxion Manager functionality, with text throughout the system updated to use a book-related vocabulary. “Schedule Groups” in Produxion Manager, renamed “Books,” are enhanced with new book-specific metadata fields, such as book title, edition, and ISBN.

Several book-related enhancements have been made to the Proposals workflow, renamed “Projects” for books sites. When a project is initiated, it can be linked to a specific book, and submissions solicited for this project are automatically assigned to the book. Additionally, the project can be assigned a specific manuscript number prefix, which will be applied to all of the solicited submissions. Editors are able to assign contributors directly to the project, rather than invited them to submit. Editors are able to assign contributors by uploading a Contributor List file, rather than assigning each contributor individually.

Additional enhancements are planned for the Books workflow in the 14.0 upgrade. The BITS 2.0 transmittal method, which includes book-related metadata, will be added to the available FTP options for submission and book production tasks. Custom additional data fields, which function similar to the Additional Manuscript Detail fields, will be available at the book level. Additional, customized flags, currently available for use with manuscripts and people, will be extended to books. Custom book flags can be linked with additional book details fields.

Manuscript Exchange Common Approach

Aries is part of a consortium of vendors and publishers that is establishing the Manuscript Exchange Common Approach, or MECA. MECA aims to facilitate the transfer of manuscripts and peer review data across boundaries—from preprint servers and authoring systems to submission systems, between submission systems, from submission systems to various services—to reduce redundancy and inefficiency.

MECA is not a software or service, but a set of non-proprietary, CC-BY licensed best practices. The MECA project includes the development of a standard vocabulary and standard method for packaging files, the creation of XML DTDs to pass submission information, peer review information and transfer information between systems, defining a unique identifier across systems, and choosing a consistent method to send the information across systems.

The project was formally launched through a presentation at SSP, and trial implementations will begin in the second half of 2017.

For more information, visit the MECA web page at www.manuscriptexchange.org or email info@manuscriptexchange.org.