How AI is Changing Academic Publishing — And How This Helps You

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) technology over the last two decades is changing the way we do things in nearly every field. From healthcare to education and law, AI is revolutionizing task management and organization. The publishing industry is no different. AI in writing has developed far beyond early word processing tools and can now correct grammar, detect plagiarism, and suggest ways to improve our writing. But the role of AI in publishing doesn’t stop there. In this article, we take a look at the different ways AI is impacting the world of writing and how you can use it to your advantage.

Just How Developed is Modern AI?

 When most people think about artificial intelligence, they tend to imagine robots doing tasks that humans normally do. We picture robot surgeons, driverless cars, robot teachers, and computers that can cook our meals. This article is being written in 2021, so for the most part, such images aren’t quite reality yet. But in fact, AI is already part of our daily lives and we don’t even realize it. Have you had products recommended to you by online shopping websites? Used spell check on a report you wrote? Used your smartwatch to track your fitness performance or heart rate? Then you’ve already taken advantage of modern-day artificial intelligence.

In fact, AI is simply computer programs that can take in large amounts of data and learn from it. AI is capable of learning from any data fed to it, whether this is a consumer’s specific online shopping habits or sports statistics. As shocking as it may be, AI that can write books already exists. However, they probably aren’t books that you’re interested in reading—yet. But the kind of AI that can improve scholarly writing, academic research, or academic writing certainly does exist, and is readily available to consumers.

AI For Writers

Writing isn’t simply a matter of thinking of an idea and putting it to paper. Any scholarly writer knows that the academic writing process requires editing, copy editing, proofreading, revision, plagiarism checks, and more. If you’re not a native speaker of the language you are seeking to publish in, you might need additional support in translation or specialized language editing. Can AI really do all of these things? Well, yes and no.

The most basic type of AI for writers and publishers is spelling and grammar checkers. While it may not be obvious, these technologies have advanced significantly since the early days of computer word processing. AI-based spell checkers can not only identify spelling mistakes, but also employ advanced algorithms to recognize when correctly spelled words are used in the wrong context. Advanced English grammar is no problem for modern AI. AI writing tools can make much more nuanced corrections as well, checking for writing style and tone. News outlets have taken advantage of this by using AI to repackage a single article for different formats and audiences—print, social media, television, and more.

For academics, new AI tools can not only help with academic writing by specifically targeting language and tone, they can also make subject-specific corrections. Trinka is one AI program that compares academic articles with similar ones in the field to correct and improve writing instantly in any discipline, from engineering to social science. Other tools like AuthorONE can scan article content to recommend the best academic journal to submit for publishing, provide instant paper summaries and keywords to help find peer reviewers, and even recommend which level of copy editing a paper requires. But AI isn’t quite at the level yet where it can give you a word-perfect translation or beautiful and elegant phrasing to explain the phenomena you observed in your research. It’s helpful, but not quite a human replacement. It is still often worthwhile to pay an editor for a professional grammar check.

AI For Academic Publishers

These same AI tools that help writers can help publishers, too. Current AI tools make it possible to scan through sales trends and statistics to evaluate the market and determine what kind of content to focus on. Automated summarizing and keyword identification, noted above, can make published content more accessible and easily discoverable to potential consumers. AI-powered plagiarism checkers can quickly identify whether or not content is original, which can help publishers avoid costly lawsuits or copyright infringement claims. It can also evaluate sales trends and comment sections online, which in turn make it easier for publishers to see what kind of impact their publications have, identify what is popular, and see what consumers like and dislike. Academic publishers in particular are enjoying the fruits of AI, with new tools being created to identify and cross-check citations. This type of innovation has benefitted publishers who use it to improve the quality of the data in some journal articles.

What Does This Mean For The Future Of Writing And Publishing Careers?

While AI has advanced rapidly, there are still many tasks it cannot do. AI can copy-edit for grammar and spelling, but it cannot recreate the artistry and magic of the works of Shakespeare. While it can produce a decent translation, it cannot understand all of the nuances present in human language. So while you may have gotten this far and wondered if people working in the writing, editing, translation, and publishing fields are going to be out of a job in the near future, don’t worry! The majority of those in these fields are embracing AI not because it is cheaper than humans, but because it takes over tedious tasks and frees up valuable time and resources.

If a reporter doesn’t have to rewrite the same article in six different formats, they can spend their time coming up with new pitches or doing in-depth investigative work. Academic researchers who can spend less time stressing about their English syntax have the ability to dedicate more effort to the substance of their writing. Even editors can spend less time correcting subject-verb agreement and more time artfully rephrasing awkwardly written passages. AI isn’t perfect, but these tools can help academic writers and publishers work faster and more easily. So what are you waiting for? Incorporate AI into your scholarly writing today.

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