Measures you can rely on

Here at DataSalon, we’re getting excited about our plans for new analytics tools in MasterVision, with greater flexibility and interactivity and snazzy new visuals. But we know that the most attractive charts in the world are useless unless they’re based on the right information. So we’ve been considering some basic questions about how we can support publishers in evaluating and improving their business.

1. What do we want to measure? Although the exact measures may vary from publisher to publisher, four major indicators will be relevant to most journals publishers: author submissions, subscriptions sales, article usage and denials. These interact with one another and so should be looked at side by side. For example, poor submissions will ultimately affect subscriptions, low usage may put renewals at risk and denials data may be converted into new sales.

2. Are things getting better or worse? To look for patterns that will help determine business strategy, it’s important to see how measures are changing over time. Enabling accurate year-on-year comparisons is an important aim, and our analytics tools include a built-in option to factor up the current year-in-progress to provide an accurate estimate of the most likely full-year picture.

3. Drilling into the detail… While overall submissions, sales and usage figures give a helpful ‘headline’ view, more detailed analysis is needed to support future strategy. For example, overall high figures could mask an issue with a particular title or in a particular subject area, so it’s important to be able to see these figures broken down by journal, subject area, country etc. at the click of a mouse.

4. What exactly does each report mean? Finally, for our analysis to be used correctly, we need to make sure that it’s absolutely clear what each chart is showing. With so much underlying source data available, it can be easy to make the wrong assumption about whether a report is counting customers, orders, value in pounds, value in dollars and so on. All charts in MasterVision will be labelled with absolute clarity, with additional pop-up notes to provide further explanation wherever it’s needed.

We’re going to be working hard on getting this right for all the data in MasterVision, to ensure that the new charts are as useful as they are attractive and that these new tools really do support our clients in effective data analysis.