May 03, 2021

Journal of Animal Science, Translational Animal Science and Animal Frontiers production changes geared to combat production issues in India linked to COVID-19

Journal of Animal Science, Translational Animal Science and Animal Frontiers production changes geared to combat production issues in India linked to COVID-19

Counter to what we anticipated, journal submissions to all ASAS journals have increased throughout the pandemic, but many may have noticed, particularly within JAS that even though articles are moving from submission to Advance Access faster than ever before, there have been issues getting final article proofs and moving the final articles into paginated issues, resulting in smaller than normal issue sizes for March and April. This is due to complications with our supplier in India. Recently, we upgraded to the SmartProof tool to increase ease accuracy for authors processing proofs, unfortunately this went live just as India (home to Newgen a vendor that does a great deal of our production work) began experiencing a dramatic upsurge in COVID-19 infections and, sadly, deaths. Even under the best of circumstance, massive IT changes are never easy coupled with the crippling effects of COVID-19 in India have resulted in delays.

ASAS and Oxford University Press are engaging with all of our supplier partners on regular business continuity planning calls, and the teams are transitioning to fully home-based-working again (where some had returned to the office). The goal for ASAS is to get the technical glitches fixed, while making sure that we aren’t putting anyone working with ASAS and OUP in India at greater risk. The services provided by Newgen are skilled and not easily transferred on-shore or to other geographic regions, and therefore we want to prepare for the possibility of some impact and reduced service levels in the coming weeks.

What can ASAS and ASAS members and authors do to help?

  1. Fully and rapidly check all author proofs. We will suspend the final EiC viewing of Author Proofs following author submissions of the proof – this means, the EiC will not catch final errors, consequently it is up to the authors to catch them. Fully look at proofs.

  2. Do not ask for a revised proof.

  3. We will need to establish a paper line up earlier than we usually do and if author proofs are not returned, we will not be able to replace an article in an issue, consequently, we absolutely need authors to process author proofs within 48 hours of author receipt.

  4. Please be patient and understanding in communications with colleagues in India; individuals may be covering for sick colleagues, or concerned for friends and family, and our support and kindness means a lot to them.

What is already being done to minimize issues and production delays?

  1. All Newgen staff working in the offices are moving to working from home, with suitable laptops and infrastructure.

  2. Newgen is investigating vaccination programs for staff.

  3. Newgen is setting up buddy systems for project managers so at least one other team member is familiar with our journals.

ASAS and OUP are committed to doing everything possible to keep journals running well and on time while we respect and help the individuals working for us in India.

Please do not hesitate to contact us at ASAS with any questions or concerns.