Cambridge Core: a new home for future publishing
Over three years ago, we set out to replace our existing academic platforms with a new offering founded on three key goals;
- To bring together our journals and books content into a single platform
- To create the optimum user experience
- To develop a stable and high performing technology base to support current needs and future growth
Cambridge Core launched in September 2016. The needs of our users were at the forefront from the very start of the project. Working with a market research agency, we commissioned extensive global research including a survey of almost 10,000 respondents, and 50 face-to-face customer interviews. This research led to the creation of key user personas, and formed the bedrock of the design and development of the platform.
After the original market research, we continued to gather user feedback throughout development. We had numerous touchpoints with our users and customers, including one-to-one, lab-based and global remote testing with over 400 users, and ‘preview’ phases with librarians.
The result is a fully-responsive platform that facilitates research and meets the needs of our users.
Unlike many publisher offerings, Cambridge Core brings together book and journal content onto a single platform. Our research had emphasised the format-agnostic approach of our users, who search for and consume content primarily based on its relevance to their research, irrespective of whether it is an article or chapter.
Cambridge Core and the future
The story of Cambridge Core does not end at launch. We are committed to maintaining user centricity as the platform grows and evolves and we start to see new trends and expectations. Consistently putting users at the heart of the platform means getting closer to them and understanding them better; to do that we recently launched a global researcher panel, inviting researchers to take part in focus groups, interviews, surveys and platform testing. This complements our already established global librarian panels.
Preserving this connection with our users is essential in ensuring the future development of Cambridge Core meets real-world user need, and allows us to validate the implementation of new publishing innovations.
An agile development methodology fosters innovation, allowing us to quickly respond to evolving user needs. New requirements can be assessed, built, tested and deployed to the platform within a matter of weeks. We can then monitor usage and user feedback to swiftly refine and further develop these requirements.
The scalable technology that powers Cambridge Core also allows for easy adaptation of the platform to suit new products or publishing models, maintaining a seamless user experience across all Cambridge academic content.
Our ongoing focus on user behaviour through our programme of user feedback, and our agile development approach, ensures Cambridge Core can provide a home for future publishing, whilst adapting to changing researcher and market needs.
Interested in giving feedback on Cambridge Core? Volunteer for our researcher panel here.