It’s an exciting time to be President of SSP. In February 2020, I became a remote worker, leaving Baltimore to join my husband in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. This decision had nothing to do with the looming pandemic. Instead, it was a simple story of one family member having a job opportunity with less flexibility than the other. Weeks later, the rest of the world followed me (sorry, if you’ve heard me tell that joke before). We are now all a hodgepodge of fully remote, flexible, or office workers, only outed by our selection of camera backgrounds.
For many of us, it’s no longer a question of do we attend events, but how. It has been amazing to watch how, with the support of our members, volunteers, staff, and event sponsors, SSP has lived up to our core value of adaptability. We’ve been able to ensure that each of our members has the opportunity to learn and network in a way that works best for them, be that chatting on C3, attending an in-person event, or participating in an interactive webinar.
Our committees refresh our events regularly, providing exciting new spins on what it means to meet virtually. In June, 635 scholarly communications professionals attended the 2022 Annual Meeting in person, and another 138 participated virtually. The annual, and popular, SSP Open Access Workshop, held on July 14, included opportunities for more than 110 participants to interact while getting a 101-style lesson on Open Access. And this week, the Philadelphia Regional group held its first in-person event since the pandemic, with attendees from 12 organizations enjoying the Garden at Cherry Street Pier.
Looking forward, several other exciting events are in the works, including a meetup with the DC Regional Group and an Ask the Experts webinar on Ethics in Publishing, both being held this week. And, in September, you can join us in person or virtually for the in Washington, DC. Please visit our to find more exciting ways to learn with and enjoy the SSP community.
I would be remiss not to acknowledge that I am the first Black woman, let alone a person of color, to hold this position. So why me, and why now, and what next? I’m here because I had very intentional people cross my path. My mentors followed through on their intentions of broadening my experience in STM publishing and introducing me to others walking similar paths. I was handed relevant news articles, blog posts, and email threads and directed to attend countless webinars and events. Most importantly, I was told to join SSP and engage with the scholarly publishing community.
My story is not original. In our recent member survey, 20% of respondents ranked a “peer suggested I join” as one of the top three reasons for becoming a member of SSP. Like countless others, I was told that I had what it took to be a leader in publishing and that SSP would be integral to my development. Our Board members, who established the first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force in 2017, and now the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Committee, recognized the importance of ensuring others have the same opportunities to contribute to our industry. Together, SSP members have set the foundation to increase the overall diversity in publishing, and all that comes with it. This includes fostering innovation and problem solving, promoting changes in society, contributing to robust learning environments, worker satisfaction, increased sales potential, and financial performance, improving the quality of market solutions, and responsiveness to market needs (C4DISC).
What next? Please, please, please look out for people who look, learn, or move in ways that are different from your own and embody the core values of SSP—Community, Inclusivity, Adaptability, and Integrity. Here are some ideas to support your efforts:
- Encourage participation in the new Communities of Interest Network (CoIN). The program recently kicked off with two pilot CoINs: Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Professionals, and Early Career Professionals. In keeping with our theme of meeting people where they are, these groups have plans to connect on C3, SSP’s online community platform, host virtual networking events, and to gather in person when possible.
- Support the Generations Fund. The fund is intended to help SSP provide permanent, sustainable support for future generations of scholarly publishing leaders—with a particular focus on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion. If you haven’t contributed yet, please consider doing so.
- If you are Early Career or manage those who are, check out this free webinar from the Early Career Subcommittee, on August 9, 2022.
- Invite a mentee or colleague to join you at the (September 21-22). It’s a hybrid event focusing on the advancement of new ideas, technologies, and collaborations that are currently shaping the future of academic publishing.
- The OnDemand Library is an amazing resource of past SSP webinars and annual meeting sessions. If you know someone looking to increase their understanding of the challenges of scholarly communications, remind them that it’s there. Even better, forward them your favorite video (fyi: the OnDemand Library offers a wealth of free content alongside our Quickstarter Training series and most recent webinars that are available for purchase; making it a great way to introduce others to the value of SSP).
- Support the efforts of the scholarly publishing position reference directory by submitting your job description. This collaboration between SSP and the Association of University Presses aims to make career paths in publishing more transparent as well as to provide an up-to-date resource for employees, employers, and those interested in a career in publishing.
A special thank you to everyone who makes SSP a community: publishers, librarians, industry suppliers, staff, board members, co–chairs, committee members, sponsors, advertisers, fellows, mentors, mentees, speakers, authors, and more. Together we will continue to learn, grow and succeed.
Thank you for being part of the SSP community.
2022-2023 SSP President