A couple of weeks ago, several Wiley colleagues joined peers from the publishing community at the ALPSP Conference, to share information and knowledge and participate in discussions on both the challenges and the opportunities facing the industry.
We asked a few of these colleagues to tell us what stood out for them among all the information packed into two days. Here’s what they shared:Davina Quarterman, Associate Director, Society Strategy and Marketing at Wiley was particularly interested in discussions around factors affecting the research community:
Changes in behavior
Changes in researcher behavior will impact on the design and usability of content - millennials are taught early on in school to scan and skim long form; so this will inevitably impact the consumption of research content. A number of conference speakers called for improved abstracts and layman summaries.
Discoverability of content
Microsoft is making great strides in improving the discoverability of content for the research community. They’re thinking not only about the semantic web, but the knowledge web, where human intent is factored into the result. Kuansan Wang, of Microsoft Search, talked about the possibility of machines reading content and learning from it in the same way that humans do. Kuansan also showcased developments to Cortana (Windows Phone personal assistant).Integrating data will allow Cortana to provide more relevant content, research and events.
Kate Smith, Director, EMEA Library Marketing, Wiley, noted some stats that really are food for thought:
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) cited that 50% of library searches are 1-3 words long at UICU, which isn’t much to go on and 10% of logged UICU searches are single words. These stats really highlight the importance of search behaviors; researchers aren’t framing the questions they have but expecting systems to still deliver results.
Additionally Kate noted that publishers have the challenge of getting their metadata in good shape in order to respond to changing consumption demands and deliver information in a future-proof, flexible way.
OA Predictions – China
In the Global Positioning plenary, speaker Dr Xiaolin Zhang, National Science Library, Chinese Academy of Sciences discussed OA to support Open Science and Open Innovation in China and indicated where they are heading with open access:
- Green OA: They anticipate a wide spread of agency and institutional policies, best operational practice guidelines within three years, a smooth ecosystem for deposit such as iSwitch and a conformance check and enforcement within five years
- Gold OA: They foresee funding for domestic STM journals, experiments and established services to fight against predatory journals within three years and collaborative bargaining about APC levels within five years
Jenny Neophytou, Bibliometrics Manager, Market & Publishing Analytics thoroughly enjoyed the keynote talks by Anurag Acharya (Google Scholar) - What happens when your library is worldwide and all articles are easy to find, and by Kunsan Wang (Microsoft Research) – From web publishing to knowledge web publishing. Jenny mentioned the sessions could be characterized as ‘Google vs Bing and underscored some key differences in personalization between the two in regard to research articles.
Google vs Bing
It has long been known that Google ranks your search results according to your internet search history, yet Acharya revealed (to the surprise and, frankly, disbelief, of many attendees) that Google Scholar is free from personalization. Whether this is a benefit or a hindrance depends on your perspective. Yes, this makes it more difficult to locate what you’re looking for – but it has the benefit of returning records without your own views/perspectives coloring the research you retrieve. No academic wants to live in an echo-chamber.
By contrast, Microsoft Research revealed a host of Bing upgrades, including extensive personalization that enables Bing to ‘predict’ what the user is searching for. Not only that, but it is able to summarize research articles for you – not merely provide the abstracts, but actually summarize the paper. How accurate this is remains to be seen, but the demonstration by Wang was extremely impressive.
Funder and Government Policy
And last, but not least, the Global positioning plenary really got Duncan Campbell, Director of Journals Digital Licensing, Wiley, thinking about how funder and government policy is becoming increasingly important in driving change in the industry – perhaps without being aware of (or interested in) possible negative or unintended consequences.
If you attended the ALPSP Conference, we’d love to hear about your highlights in the comments.
Image Credit/Source: Kuansan Wang, Microsoft