The American Geophysical Union (AGU) disseminates scientific information in the interdisciplinary fields of geophysics. With over 60,000 members worldwide, the AGU publishes books, research journals, newspapers and other scientific periodicals.
In 2012 the AGU announced a publishing partnership with Wiley. And in September 2012 Freddie Quek, Director of Engineering for Wiley, was given four months to integrate the AGU content onto a single Wiley platform. He shared his story of coping with this ‘mission impossible’ with delegates at the Association of Subscription Agents conference in London.
By 2nd January 2013
- Start revenue earning
- Ensure systems ready to support entire content chain
- Ensure system works in a familiar way for all AGU customers
- Give AGU customers access to all licensed content
- 17 systems to check
- Non-standard content formats (one publication had no page numbers; one journal had seven parts – three of which had sub-parts)
- Over 700 special sections of content
- What to do about unique identifiers; new ISSNs required
- Unknown unknowns!
- Ensuring discoverability
- Development to start before all requirement were clear
- Creation of a 60 day plan
- Number one priority across the organisation – 52 people on the team
- Sense of commitment, urgency and importance of the project
- Rapid decision making at all levels
- Team effort by everyone and a can-do attitude
- Strong business lead and close cooperation
- Focus on people over process
- Embrace the challenge
- Break some rules
- Be brave
- Use your best people
Many of us will be asked to take on ‘impossible missions’ at work. Freddie’s best advice? Deal with it!