This spring we met with our European and North American Society Focus Groups to find out more from society leaders about their pain points and challenges – here are the top 10:
- Staying abreast of new developments in Open Access and understanding their implications –most senior society officers find it hard to keep on top of new policy developments around the world and what these mean for their journals program (and, ultimately, revenues) both now and in the future.
- Presenting information to their boards – helping board members understand the tension between the society’s goal of disseminating knowledge and the need to ensure the future viability of the society.
- Proving their value in order to retain members – how can societies demonstrate the value of membership and of the services they offer to members? What metrics can they develop to help monitor this?
- Supporting early career researchers – outreach and support for the next generation is critically important. What new products and services can they develop for this group? Can social media help?
- Helping them identify and develop new business opportunities/member services – e-learning and online events are among the areas society executives are interested in developing.
- Establishing/maintaining a strong brand – making sure the society is directly associated with the benefits it provides its members and with other products and services it offers is essential.
- Making their own data meaningful – journal information such as usage and circulation is more meaningful to society executives and their boards when it includes more context about the market, the industry, etc.
- Understanding their usage vs that of peer societies/journals – society executives would like to see their journals benchmarked against the competition (ideally at journal and discipline level), and to know what is good and bad usage.
- Understanding how content is used, especially by their members - including at article and discipline level. Knowing who is using what and why will help society executives to better understand their members’ needs and behavior.
- Data – what role should societies play in data management? Are there other opportunities around data that societies could be exploiting?
Many of these challenges resonate with those which librarians identified in our Customer Advisory Board meeting.