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Swiss Medical Weekly revolutionizes publication processes: A look at the collaboration with Xpublisher


Created on 24. April 2024

Laptop and scholarly publishing symbols

Swiss Medical Weekly is a medical journal from Switzerland. The SMW is a pioneer of the so-called "Diamond Open Access" model. The journal is published by the non-profit organization "Trägerverein Swiss Medical Weekly", whose aim is to enable and further develop publication according to the Diamond model.

Xpublisher is the new publishing system for SMW, with the help of which the journal publishes scientific articles online quickly and reliably based on JATS-XML. We spoke to Natalie Marty, Managing Director of the supporting association Swiss Medical Weekly, about her work with Xpublisher.


What were the most influential factors behind your decision to go with Xpublisher?

Natalie Marty: We had evaluated a number of options for implementing an XML-first workflow based on Word files. The key criteria for our decision to use Xpublisher were the configurability of the XML format used and the ability to export to other formats, as none of the other tools we tested offered both of these features.

There was also the advantage of working with a team located in the same time zone. This is very helpful for the many online meetings, and face-to-face meetings in the DACH region are also possible.

What was the work involved in producing the Swiss Medical Weekly like before you started using Xpublisher?

We used software installed locally on each user's computer that allowed us to export JATS-XML from Word. However, exporting was slow and blocked work on the computer during the saving process. In addition, errors in the XML were not visible until after the export, which meant that sometimes we had to run the exports multiple times after correcting the data in Word. We had already implemented an automated conversion from JATS to HTML at that time, but we didn't have the ability to access the HTML files directly in the workflow.

Are you already actively publishing with Xpublisher? If so, do you have any concrete figures that you can share, such as the number of publications, the amount of time saved, and so on?

We have imported an archive of some 3,500 articles from Xpublisher into the online platform „Open Journal Systems“. Since the end of 2022, we have been producing all newly published journal articles using Xpublisher.

What do you consider to be the advantages of using Xpublisher (including comparisons with other content management systems)?

Xpublisher is more user-friendly than other software we have used to convert doc/docx formats to XML. Because the workflow is XML-first, we no longer have to deal with the time-consuming export process. 

One major advantage is that it is not even possible to save invalid XML in Xeditor. This prevents nasty surprises when reusing the data, such as faulty XML data or dropped special characters, which used to be the order of the day.

Which of our products do you use in which parts of your organization, and what do you use them for?

We import data from Word into Xeditor, where it is processed in JATS-XML format (this includes things like text corrections, linking images, and automated import of references from the third-party tool Edifix). We store and archive images centrally in Xpublisher. Once the articles are finished, we export them in XML and HTML formats using the Transpect module. PDF automation is already in place, but the layout is still under development. 

In recent weeks, we have been using the Fabasoft Cloud for tasks that are separate from the actual publishing process − as a storage location for all our data and for collaboration within our decentralized team.

How does cross-departmental collaboration with Xpublisher work?

We do not require cross-departmental collaboration as we are a small team. But we do now utilize the Fabasoft Cloud as an online document repository for collaboration with external partners. 

Speaking of external partners: What makes the collaboration between Swiss Medical Weekly and Xpublisher stand out for you?

We really appreciate the close personal connection with the project managers responsible for us, Fabian Warta and Stefan Hackl, and their solution-oriented approach. Using software that is also utilized by numerous other customers with different requirements creates exciting opportunities to examine and refine our own workflows as the platform continues to evolve.

What plans do you have for the future when it comes to publishing with Xpublisher / How do you want to continue evolving with Xpublisher?

We have already discussed several project ideas. At present, however, we are still finalizing our initial project and implementing the final user stories.