Textbook review by 1000s of experts

Crowdsourced editorial review of a bestselling medical textbook

"We are also very grateful to Dr Fred Howell and Dr Robert Cannon of Textensor Ltd for providing us extensive customization and support for their powerful collaborative editing platform which allows us to efficiently manage thousands of contributions"

The problem

The issue for this application was how to gather and process detailed feedback on each year's edition of a leading medical textbook - for scientific accuracy of each claim, to include new discoveries, and to correct any errors. The book contains hundreds of pages packed with images, tables and formulae needed checking in detail by hundreds of subject experts, faculty, and medical students. Then each suggestion needed to be checked for accuracy, and finally the new edition needed to go to the printers, with a proofing cycle on the print-ready version.

PDF Review Workflow using Annotate.co

The review workflow involved three distinct stages: discussion, voting, and curation.


The popularity of this textbook and the enthusiasm of its readership helped the authors recruit 1000s of students and academics to the task of gathering suggestions and corrections for the new edition. The editorial team felt "like they lived inside of annotate" for the duration of the rather intense phase of activity of crowdsourcing and voting. The following statistics show the scale of the project:

Advanced features in use

The platform had to withstand thousands of notes created in a short period of time by thousands of users. Controlling the progress of the review cycle was made easier by Annotate.co's customisable roles. A manager can easily create new roles by selecting required permission sets and assigning those to users at the same time as sending the invitation or at a later stage.

Full capability of types of annotations was utilised during this process:


The screenshot below shows some of the comments made on a single PDF page of the book; you can see a sample of the long and detailed comments containing proposed improvements; and also the use of Tags on notes to control the workflow. (e.g. "Defer to 2016 Edition").

Crowd Source

Thumbnails of pages with marked notes.

Crowd Source

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