Last month the ISMTE (International Society of Managing and Technical Editors) held its first conference in Asia. Singapore’s Novotel Clarke Quay played host to over 100 delegates from 16 different countries. Managing editors, editors, publishing professionals and representatives from a number of various service providers had the chance to interact and network in a very relaxed and conducive environment, sharing experiences and their plans on tackling some of the publishing world’s biggest issues.
The first keynote covered the ethical issues surrounding the management of all journals which seemed to set the tone for the remaining meeting. Helen Atkins (Director, PLOS) and Sarah Tegan (Vice President, American Chemical Society) both clearly articulated the ethical concerns faced by their suite of large journals. The added challenge caused by the sheer volume of submissions received yearly seems to have multiplied and exacerbated the problem. Vigilance is required and both publishers have recognized and implemented policies and procedures to tackle and address each case. Irene Hames provided a stirring speech which rattled many attendees. She stressed that our environment is always changing and that we need to be proactive. The fake reviewer scandal seems to be common knowledge now, but how do we handle dubious third party service providers who not only suggest fake reviewers but also now write papers, conduct experiments, create false data and ask for payment for authorship? Irene suggested a number of ways we can be proactive and stay ethical revolving around education beginning with the PhD student, and creating easily accessible policies.
The day progressed with a presentation from Michael Wise, a council member for COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) who reiterated the resources available to all COPE members. There were breakout workshops either with Michael who provided examples of cases that COPE has advised on or a great session with Jason Roberts of Origin Editorial who provided a detailed presentation on the best way to use and present your data properly. This was hugely beneficial to those of us who provide reports in any capacity.
Open Access publishing is no longer a new concept to most of us. However, we were treated to a very interesting session that looked at the ever changing landscape of Open Access. Together with SPARC and OASPA, PLOS have created How Open Is it? It is a guide of standardized terminology that enables users to effectively compare publications and policies. As part of this session, many of us were introduced to two major projects conducted by INASP, an international charity that aims to improve and strengthen the sharing and research information of developing countries. The AuthorAid project provides resources and training to developing researchers assisting them to achieve publication. The Journals Online project provides a cost effective and secure platform for online journals along with assistance through resources, hosting options and promotion for greater discoverability. As an example of this, Vasanthi Thevanesam, Editor of the Sri Lankan Journal of Infectious Diseases, gave a heartfelt talk on the challenges faced by researchers in Sri Lanka. She discussed how the Journals Online project helped her create a journal in an expanding field that disseminated necessary information ion for the management and prevention of infectious disease in Sri Lanka.
Much of the remaining sessions then focused on the resources and tools available to authors, editors and publishers. Katherine Christian from Altmetric looked at Altmetrics as a complement to traditional metrics that allows you to include different parts of the article and types of output. With the increasing issues surrounding authorship, Amy Brand (MIT Press) spoke of the CRediT Taxonomy of transparency, using 14 terms to classify an author’s contribution. Rachael Lammey from CrossRef explained that CrossRef provided the infrastructure to allow the linking or connection of metadata through the allocation of DOI’s and the CrossRef Funding Data. Nobuko Miyairi from ORCID spoke of the importance of an ORCID identifier and their efforts to increase awareness and support of this initiative.
The audience was led through a number of resources that are provided by pre-submission service providers and those also available by membership. Technica Editorial provided a detailed presentation on best practices for the management of an editorial office and this included communication, clear guidelines and building relationships as the key to success.
It was clear that an event such as this was well-received in this region as seen by the great affinity everyone had to one another and their willingness to listen, learn and hopefully bring new ideas back to their workplace. Delegates left the conference looking forward to meeting up again at the 2017 Asian ISMTE conference in Beijing!
Images credit: Michael Willis