As the world gets ready to pin up their 2024 calendar in preparation for the year ahead, Aries Systems is eager to enter our next chapter. But before we turn the page, we humbly reflect on the successes of 2023. Over the past twelve months, Aries has experienced growth in areas related to the refinement of our strategies, advancement in technologies, and continued prioritization in partnership and collaboration. Our overarching theme for 2023 is A Year in Service of Our Communities due to efforts made to provide dedicated service and innovative solutions to our clients/publishers, partners, and local communities alike.
Our multi-component cloud migration initiative is nearing completion. As announced in 2022, Aries is shifting off our legacy data centers and migrating to Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud technology to allow for greater scalability and flexibility, improved performance and stability, better alignment with industry standards, and additional resources towards innovation. Component one, which included asynchronous services such as Similarity Check, Duplication Submission Check, ORCID Peer Review Deposit and more, were successfully migrated in late 2022. Throughout 2023, our teams have been diligently preparing and executing Component two – the seamless migration of customer Editorial Manager® (EM) and ProduXion Manager® (PM) sites to the cloud. With over 95% of journals currently operating on the cloud environment, we already experiencing the benefits of this transition through enhanced system support and monitoring, security and compliance, and improved performance. We are thrilled to be near the finish line, with the anticipated completion date in early 2024, and are pleased to offer our clients the most sophisticated platforms to support their everyday workflows.
This past June, we are very pleased to have hosted the 20th annual in-person Editorial Manager User Group (EMUG) meeting in Boston, MA. Aries user group meetings offer EM/PM users the opportunity to stay informed of the latest workflow innovations, discuss advancements and challenges in scholarly publishing, provide feedback to drive future product development, and network with industry colleagues. An event dedicated in service to our user community, we were thrilled to reconnect with familiar and new faces at the first in-person user group meeting since the pandemic. We welcomed 116 clients and staff – 34 of which were first-time attendees – and immersed them in a series of bootcamps, workshops, networking options, and educational presentations. We were joined by our guest keynote, Christopher Kenneally of Copyright Clearance Center (CCC), who spoke on the topic of integrity and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
At EMUG 2023, we introduced a new Discovery Roundtables workshop in lieu of our traditional Feature Workshop. As attendees participated in a series of interactive discussions facilitated by the Aries team, deeper insights were captured against three areas of focus – Performance and Notifications, Feedback and Analytics, and Mentorship in Peer Review. Designed to solicit targeted input on specific problems, gaps, opportunities, and successes our clients have in these three areas, the Discovery Roundtables session enabled a more focused and purposeful approach to fueling Aries’ business and product strategy to meet user needs. Additionally, EMUG 2023 featured a new interactive user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) design station hosted by our UI/UX Design team. Attendees were encouraged to stop by the station to provide product feedback through surveys and posters, discuss recent enhancements, and get an exclusive look of upcoming design prototypes. The momentum continued beyond the user group meeting, as user research outreach and volunteer participation has expanded greatly throughout 2023 to help shape future designs of EM/PM to best serve our clients and their workflows.
In service of our local communities, Aries staff participated in several group volunteer events throughout the year. In May and October, members of the Aries team volunteered to clean up trash near our office headquarters in support of Friends of North Andover Trails (FONAT), part of the North Andover Improvement Society which is devoted to natural beauties and history of North Andover, Massachusetts. Additionally, several Aries team members collaborated with the Community Giving Tree to support their Holiday Gift Giveaway program in early November. Participating staff unloaded trucks of donated children’s clothing, toys, and winter coats and sorted items by gender and size at the Middleton Congregational Church to help the Community Giving Tree organize gifts for hundreds of local children in need.
From all of us at Aries Systems, we wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season and prosperous beginnings to 2024! We look forward to continuing our commitment to our communities next year.