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Hong Zhou

Director of Intelligent Services Group, Wiley Partner Solutions


Please summarize yourself and your professional experience in a few sentences (e.g., where you’re from, course of study, where you currently work, job title).

I hail from the historic city of Xi’an, mainland China, renowned for the legendary Terracotta Army. Currently, I reside in the intellectually vibrant Oxford, UK. My academic journey began with a Master’s degree in Digital Communication from Sheffield in 2003, which paved the way for a deep dive into technology. In 2007, I earned my PhD in Computer Vision with AI from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. To complement my technical expertise with robust business acumen, I pursued and completed an MBA at Saïd Business School, Oxford University, in 2016. This unique blend of communication, technical insight, and business strategy has been the cornerstone of my professional and personal growth.

Please describe the main function of your organization and your current responsibilities.

As the Director of Intelligent Services Group at Wiley Partner Solutions, I oversee the creation and advancement of smart services and products that transform research and publishing into more automated and efficient processes. My role involves harnessing AI, big data, and cloud technologies. Additionally, I lead the AI R&D Team, developing innovative AI solutions and information discovery systems for scholarly research. I focus on aiding publishers in their Open Access and Open Science initiatives and empowering researchers worldwide to expand their knowledge and accomplishments.

How did you get into scholarly communications, and what was your path to your current role?

My first step into scholarly publishing was pretty cool; I landed a gig as a Senior Product Manager for Information Discovery at Atypon. After wrapping up my MBA, I was on the lookout for something nearby that mixed a bit of business savvy with tech chops. Having been a researcher and then a software engineer, I realized I was pretty jazzed about business strategies and felt I had a knack for it. The product manager role was just the ticket—it let me dive into all the stuff I was into, bridging the gap between the business and tech side of things. It was the perfect blend for me and set me on the path to where I am now.

If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.

A key figure in my career has to be Georgios Papadopoulos, the founder of Atypon. He’s the genius behind turning Atypon into the world’s leading digital publishing platform. Georgios brought me on board as a Senior Product Manager for Information Discovery back in 2017. Although I didn’t report directly to him, I worked closely with him and learned heaps. He’s got this visionary mindset and a profound understanding of the scholarly publishing world, not to mention a clear direction for the company. What’s really inspiring is how hard he continues to work, even after Wiley fully acquired Atypon in 2016. His passion for improving the industry and his entrepreneurial spirit are something else. He’s quick to act on his ideas, always eager to learn new things, and genuinely interested in understanding customer needs. Working with him has been a pivotal experience for me.

What tools, websites, and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?


Information discovery: Google Scholar, Semantic Scholar, Dimensions…

Authoring/Writing: Wordtune


Publons: For tracking issues of peer reviews and publication.

COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics): Provides guidance on best practices and ethical standards in publishing.

The Scholarly Kitchen: Blogs to share ideas and trends

What are some of the surprises/obstacles that you’ve encountered during your career?

Throughout my career, I’ve encountered plenty of surprises, both good and bad. One thing I always aimed for was blending business with technology. Despite my background as a researcher and software lead, the business side was somewhat out of reach. Deciding to pursue an MBA was a leap, and getting accepted into Oxford’s Saïd Business School was an unexpected but thrilling surprise. Post-MBA, transitioning into a product manager role allowed me to integrate business, tech, and strategy—aligning perfectly with my interests. Another remarkable surprise was the advent of Generative AI, like ChatGPT. Having worked in AI for years with the challenge of selling AI products, the sudden buzz around AI in 2023 and the interest from various companies was a positive and exciting development.

What do you wish you knew more about?

I would like to have in-depth knowledge and hands-on experience on the Peer Review Process, including various models, impact metrics, Technology in publishing, and OA movements, including its economic models and challenges. All these will help me better understand the customers’ needs and design the right products/services.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

  • Dive Deep into the Publishing Lifecycle: Get to know each stage—authoring, submission and review, production, publishing, and dissemination. Understanding this cycle is crucial.
  • Sharpen Your Skills: Not only should you beef up on digital publishing and content management systems, but also don’t skimp on soft skills like critical and creative thinking.
  • Ethics are Key: Familiarize yourself with the ethical landscape, including issues like plagiarism and bias. Integrity is non-negotiable.
  • Never Stop Learning: The field is always evolving, so staying informed about the latest trends is essential for staying relevant.
  • Network, Network, Network: Joining organizations such as the ALPSP or SSP can be invaluable. Conferences and workshops are not just about learning; they’re about connecting with peers and mentors.
  • Passion is Your Power: Remember, your work in scholarly communications isn’t just a job; it’s a mission. You’re contributing to societal progress and helping to shape a better world. Let that passion drive you and your work will not only be fulfilling but also impactful.