Jenna Pope, Associate Developmental Editor and Marcel Knöchelmann, currently interning as Consultant in the Editorial Development team, were awarded Fellowships of the Society for Scholarly Publishing. As part of this, they attended the SSP Annual Meeting 2016 in Vancouver and took part in a mentorship program. Below are perspectives on how the conference reflects the industry from two different early career positions: business development and journals editorial.
Scholarly publishing is in a state of flux. That’s visible in the new processes that change the publishing landscape every day. From arising concepts that want to shift the whole economic system or new paradigms of measuring impact and attention of research to the many tools and services that try to establish a place somewhere between research, writing, publishing, and reading. Everything moves. As an aspiring business developer, I’m particularly interested in trying to find patterns in the various movements. Who actually uses what, why, and how? And then: How do I apply this knowledge to my current work?
The SSP Annual Meeting offered a great deal of insights. Some were quite specific, for instance the use of persistent identifiers, cybersecurity issues in scholarly publishing, or insights into international markets. Yet, the actual learning experience happened in between the seminars and talks. It’s about the growing strength of communities in scholarly publishing and their impact on the fragmentation of the industry.
Communities become visible in the form of sciences which label their interests with certain brands down to individual journals, communities of interest that are advocating or rejecting new paradigms in publishing (whether they be Open Access, impact indicators, peer review processes, or even rigorous reliance on standards), or communities which are formed by the behavior of their individuals (and thus make use of tools and concepts that many others haven’t even heard of before).
These communities are manifold, but proper market segmentation hasn’t always been a strength in scholarly communication. Though, we’re beginning to see that this is shifting. And, discussions at the SSP Annual Meeting made that recognizable. Publishers and service providers follow more differentiated approaches, diversifying the supply in regards to the fragmented demand. This is useful especially in times where revenues shift away from the one core service called publishing towards a bundle of services around providing and analyzing knowledge.
Jenna Pope, Hoboken:
The 2016 SSP Annual Meeting hosted a number of panels of special interest to me in my work as a journals development editor. Some of these themes included: discovering scholarly content in rapidly changing geographic, cultural, and age demographics, collaborating with libraries, facilitating news coverage of content, using altmetrics, and combatting increasingly complex ethical issues.
We heard a number of discussions on new technologies that are being used to strengthen scholarly communications. As authors desire a move past static text alone, new strategies exploring more engaging media are emerging. Visual descriptions of research can be found in video abstracts, infographics, and embedded interactive graphics, such as those on news sites. As content browsing migrates to mobile devices,, user experience is being closely considered. Submission systems are also being updated to handle the ever-increasing number of submissions and reviews.
We also saw an infrastructure of persistent digital identifiers taking shape. In addition to the ubiquitous DOI, authors themselves are being assigned identifiers by ORCID. Researchers will benefit from the identifiers by making themselves more recognizable and their work more discoverable. Submission and review processes will be streamlined, as it will be easier to create a log in over a number of systems, and editors will be able to ensure they are requesting reviews from the correct people. Funding agencies will also benefit from the widespread use of personal identifiers by being able to confirm that their grants are producing usable outputs. Datasets are being published in their entirety, some are being given DOIs and others are assigned identifiers specific to the repository, such as accession numbers in GenBank.
In addition to all of these positive technological advancements, panels also spoke of the drawbacks to new technology. Predatory journals are more present than ever, due to the ease of posting content online and the confusion arising from new open access models. Content theft is also easier than ever and has been on the rise recently.
The meeting showed us that it’s an exciting, but challenging, time to be in scholarly publishing. Change is ever present and if we want to maintain our reputation for excellent scholarly communications, we need to continually adapt to the new challenges and technologies around us.
Image credit: Vancouver forest, Radius/Superstock