Date of visit: 26 February 2016
Illuminating – if one word can sum up our visit to the World Scientific Publishing. Situated at Toh Tuck Link, the publishing company has established itself as one of the leading scientific publishers in the world, and the largest international scientific publisher in the Asia-Pacific region. Warmly greeted by Ms Khoo Yee-Hong, we were ushered to the conference room, where we met some members of the editorial team.
Deputy General Manager, Dr Rick Lee, provided the overview of this publishing company, detailing why it pitches itself as the intellectual bridge between east and west. This was followed by respective unit representatives sharing their works on electronic publishing, editorial, production, art and design, marketing and finally printing.
World Scientific prides itself on its author-centrism, as nothing beats a face-to-face, personalised attention. The team attributes this as part of the reasons why notable writers, including Nobel Prize winners, choose to work with them.
With millions of hits each month for its thousands of e-titles, the publisher has established a solid ground in the increasingly online academic publishing. The publisher has also contributed an improvement to worldwide scholarly community by offering Open Access (OA) for some of its journals. The establishment of their own online archive repository has also enabled them to be the hosting server for OA articles.
World Scientific focuses its marketing on selling contents via various mediums. The tour that followed gave us an insight to what really happens behind the scenes before readers get to peruse those publications.
In the art & design department, we were shown some of the works done by the team for local authors. As an author-centric publisher, the team has always prioritised the authors’ opinions on the way the books’ covers and layouts are designed. Perhaps not surprisingly, this may sometimes result in the team creating many versions of cover designs and page layouts for each book they are assigned to.
As production costs are getting higher and higher, the publisher’s printing department in Singapore only deals with local and urgent materials. We were shown how the pages were printed in bulk, assembled, assigned laminated covers, and glued to get their final forms.
Next, we were shown the works of the production department, which has held the most of our awes. If we had not appreciated the lengthy process that goes into publishing each book before, we certainly changed our mind when we saw the tremendous tasks done by the typesetters, who need to look beyond P’s and Q’s so that we readers may read the authors work as it is meant to be read. We were saddened by that fact that the public interest in a typesetting job is dwindling, as we certainly admire these unsung heroes.
Finally, after the series of tours, the 19 LAS members were gathered back in the conference room for some light refreshments and networking. Overall, it was a great experience for all of us – and certainly illuminating!
Reported by Jamila Osman and Stephanie V. Budiman, NUS Libraries
Photos by Stephanie Ow, NIE Library
Submitted by Jenny Wong, Member of Programmes and Social Committee (LAS)