Open Access publisher Hindawi recently started a pilot with Writefull, one of Digital Science’s portfolio companies. Writefull lets authors revise their manuscript right before they submit it to one of Hindawi’s journals.

Writefull in brief

Writefull offers tools to help researchers with their academic writing. Using a technique called Deep Learning (a strand of Artificial Intelligence), Writefull gives researchers automatic feedback on their text. Writefull uses language models that have been trained on millions of published, scientific papers. Thanks to this, its language suggestions – on grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and more – follow the norms and patterns of academic writing, tailored to researchers’ needs.

How this helps publishers 

The idea of automatic language feedback is appealing not only to researchers, but also to publishers. Editors often have to reject manuscripts because of poor English – sometimes after a time-consuming peer review process. Letting authors revise the language of their manuscripts at pre-submission can save time and increase acceptance rates.

Pilot Hindawi – Writefull

Hindawi is the first publisher to integrate Writefull into their submission page. Authors who are about to submit a manuscript get to see a pop-up inviting them to use Writefull to revise their text:

If authors accept and upload their document, Writefull shows them their text with language suggestions in-line, and an overview at the top. The report is interactive: authors can click suggestions to accept them. After this, they can download their revised document, and continue to the journal to submit.

Early pilot results

Hindawi and Writefull started the pilot early December last year – with authors submitting from six countries, and to a select number of journals. Over a month into the pilot, both Hindawi and Writefull see positive results. Juan Castro, CEO of Writefull: 

“We knew Writefull gave solid feedback when we started the pilot. But whether authors would accept the invitation to use Writefull, and then also take the time to revise their text, still had to be seen.”

Early results show authors are indeed keen to use the tool:

  • Two-thirds of the authors accepted the invitation to use Writefull.
  • Writefull offers an average of nearly 100 suggestions per manuscript.
  • Most authors accepted more than 87% of the suggestions.

A pilot is meant to trial a product, and a few technical hiccups were found early on. For example, researchers uploaded file types that weren’t supported by Writefull, and conversion from one file format to the other was error-prone. Writefull and Hindawi combined efforts in fixing these issues, and also adjusted the user interface where they saw authors got lost.

Mathias Astell (Director of Marketing at Hindawi):

“We are interested in facilitating as seamless and worthwhile an experience as possible for all our authors and so we are excited about the prospect of a tool like Writefull helping to level the playing field for researchers from non-English speaking countries by ensuring valid research doesn’t fall at the language hurdle. The initial insights from this pilot seem to show that researchers are finding Writefull useful in checking and correcting the language used in their manuscripts.”

Check out Writefull’s website for publishers or contact the team directly at publishers@writefull.com.