This past January, Wiley hosted an Executive Seminar in Copenhagen where society and association representatives met for discussions and presentations on the future of publishing. The theme of the seminar was ‘The Next Big Thing’ and attendees joined us from across Europe representing the health, life and social sciences. With this diverse group of attendees, it truly set the stage for interesting discussion from varied perspectives.
We were glad to see that the attendees took advantage of the opportunity to ask questions directly to Wiley Directors or VPs within Professional Innovation, Society & Association Marketing, Publishing Solutions and Communications. There were a few themes of great interest to attendees, so we thought we’d reflect on them here.
1. How can societies most effectively use social media?
As this recent blog post can attest, how societies use and leverage social media is of great interest and, not surprisingly, was one of the most popular topics at the seminar. This type of media provides a space for journal editors or societies to reach and interact with a wider audience and engage a community of readers. With that in mind, it may be beneficial for societies/associations to form a social media strategy, deciding which channels to focus on and allowing them to continually evaluate efforts compared to output (retweets, shared content, comments etc.). Several attendees expressed a need to communicate more effectively with young researchers and inform them of their society/association/journal. Social media, when used carefully and strategically, can help societies reach readers, members or peers and increase the visibility of theirjournals. Altmetrics can also be used as a measure of social media outreach, to estimate impact and evaluate promotional efforts.
2. What are the open access publishing options available to societies?
Open access has changed rapidly over the past 15 years and some societies and associations are exploring how to adjust to this dynamic environment. Should they change their publishing format to open access? Or, do they need to introduce society repositories to meet open access mandates? At the seminar, we discussed some of the options available to societies to help them meet current mandates. There is the Hybrid/OnlineOpen option, ‘flipping’ a subscription journal to open access, launching a new open access journal and introducing self-archiving policies.
If a society/association is considering launching a new open access journal, it is important to:
- Perform a reject analysis for a journal to make sure that there is enough material
- Consider if supporter journals are needed to refer papers
- Explore if there is a gap in the market for open access journals within the field
We also discussed the important role that societies and associations play in setting data policies and data archival standards. There was great interest in more in-depth information on open access, thus Wiley is looking into hosting a webinar on this subject.
3. Know your members!
It’s no secret that many societies and associations are struggling with decreasing membership numbers. We’ve also found that some have not actively been involved in recruiting members. The responses from attendees at the seminar confirmed these concerns. However, there are several steps which societies can take to counter this trend. Two of these steps are: 1. understand your member value proposition and 2. properly segment members in order to deploy targeted communications. We suggest looking into the demographic, geographic and psychographic profiles of your members to determine different member profiles. For instance, societies can segment members based upon experience, industry, motivation, career progression, etc., and they can then use these segments to target communications through various channels, including social media.
4. New technology needs to be easy
The vast array of new technologies available for authors can at times be overwhelming, or as one attendee put it, “there is too much bad technology out there”. It can be difficult to find the program that fulfills the needs of both authors or readers. And, at a bare minimum, the technology should be easy to use! Focusing on readability and functionality, Wiley’s Anywhere Article allows readers to browse figures, links to references/citing literature and more on the device of their choice. Additionally, the open access movement has increased the number of open source software that, for instance, helps authors collaborate on projects and papers online or enables researchers to highlight and annotate webpages and online PDFs, as with Readcube. The digital transformation in the publishing industry brings some great new tools for scientific writing and we found that there was an interest in exploring ways to simplify workflows among our attendees.
5. Identify and keep ahead of the next set of challenges.
We heard from attendees that we must continue to rethink workflows and develop new creative formats and solutions for the journals we publish on behalf of societies and associations. The rapid pace of change is unlikely to slow down anytime soon and it is important that Wiley continues to support authors, readers, societies/associations and libraries. Hearing from our publishing partners at Wiley’s Executive Seminars is so valuable because it helps us to find innovative solutions to current and future challenges.
Thank you to everyone who participated in Copenhagen!