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Sharing knowledge and learning

With 12 offices in locations ranging from the United States and Brazil, across the Middle East and north and sub-Saharan Africa, to India, Malaysia, China and Australia, Emerald truly has a global reach.

The company has grown from publishing a management print journal nearly 50 years ago to where it is today, managing a range of digital products, a portfolio of nearly 300 journals, more than 2,500 books and over 450 teaching cases.

More than 3,000 Emerald articles are downloaded every hour of every day. The network of contributors includes over 100,000 advisers, authors and editors, reaching 4,000 customers in over 120 countries. Many of these are large institutions, providing thousands of students and researchers with access to Emerald content.

Our aim is to promote research and learning in the broadest sense, furthering the body of knowledge as well as demonstrating its applied value

“Our customers include some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world, leading public sector bodies and businesses,” says Emerald chief executive Richard Bevan.

Central to Emerald’s philosophy since its foundation in 1967 by Dr Keith Howard, who to this day remains actively involved with the company’s strategy and direction, is an overriding passion for learning, research and sharing knowledge with the wider world. Emerald seeks to help its communities create a meaningful impact that enhances knowledge, supports teaching, advances society and the environment, and influences government policy and business practice.

“Increasingly, this means helping our communities harness rapid advances in technology to achieve research and learning outcomes more effectively,” says Mr Bevan. “Our aim is to promote research and learning in the broadest sense, furthering the body of knowledge as well as demonstrating its applied value. Emerald’s publications provide both the academic and practitioner communities with a full breadth and depth of knowledge.”

Demonstrating “impact” and value is one of the things foremost in the minds of Emerald and all stakeholders in research and education.

Mr Bevan explains: “Academics have always written scholarly articles for one another’s consumption and journals are assigned impact factors based on how many times their articles are cited. This process remains vitally important to furthering knowledge, and will continue with the support of Emerald and other publishers.

“At the same time, we are now seeing increasing desire from funding bodies and policy-makers to demonstrate the broader impact of this work in public forums, whether in the mainstream press, political debate, social media or practical application in policy-making and business.

“A growing number of academic authors and scholars are responding to this changing environment, and recognising the importance of applied value. We therefore continually seek to help our communities adapt to this changing landscape in the development of our products and services.”

Impact is a hot topic of debate in the academic and scholarly publishing market, including North America, where Emerald sees future growth.

“The US is home to some of the highest profile academic institutions in the world, producing some of the highest quality research and leading advances in education,” says Mr Bevan.

“It therefore represents an extremely important market to Emerald, and we will continue to expand our existing networks and relationships in North America accordingly as we develop products and services that can serve communities, both there and in the wider world.”

And helping its authors, editors and the wider academic community has always played a key part in what Emerald does, whether by publishing research that helps them to develop their career, making research as discoverable and accessible as possible in the digital age or by helping with classroom teaching of the next generation.

Emerald’s Guide to Getting Published helps new authors navigate the many stages of the publishing process through to successful publication of their work, while the company’s extensive awards programme provides extra funding and recognition for the best research.

Digital clearly has a big part to play in this and the arrival of the internet challenged existing ways of working, but overall presented a tremendous opportunity. In the early 90s, Emerald was among the first publishers to anticipate the need to adapt to the changes the internet would bring.

“The landscape is still developing at a rapid pace and continually presents new opportunities. Our goal as a publisher in this digital age is to help our communities understand the opportunities and take advantage of them,” says Mr Bevan.

“This includes helping to make research more discoverable through more effective use of search, social and mobile, or making teaching and learning more engaging through the increasing possibilities of e-learning tools, whether it’s to help make classroom learning more interactive and engaging through simulations or to open up more possibilities for remote and professional learning.

“As our global presence grows, Emerald will expand its product and service range across the research, higher education, and professional training and development markets. This will include a continued commitment to publishing the highest quality of peer-reviewed research as well as introducing new products and services, including through acquisition.”

In 2013, Emerald acquired Research Media, the Bristol-based provider of communications and creative services to the scientific research community. This was followed in 2015 by the acquisition of GoodPractice, the Edinburgh-based provider of cutting-edge performance support tools for business leaders and senior managers. And a proactive acquisition strategy is very much key to Emerald’s growth ambitions.

But while Emerald may indeed have bold ambitions, it will never lose sight of its values or the principles on which it was founded.

Mr Bevan concludes: “We are a dynamic, growing business, but one with the values you would expect of a family-owned company. This means we care for our staff and the communities we serve, including the local community here in Yorkshire, which we support through the work of the Emerald Foundation, chaired by our founder Dr Howard.

“Ultimately, Emerald is a business with a passion for sharing knowledge and learning that will benefit people, industries and society as a whole.”