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03.04.2024 | SSP News & Releases

President’s Letter | March 2024

The Society for Scholarly Publishing President’s Letter highlights scholarly publishing news from the last quarter, resources you might have missed, and reflects on progress toward our community’s strategic goals.

The past few months have seemed like bug season, with cold and flu, COVID, RSV, and bronchitis impacting many of us. Although some of you may have missed committee meetings to take the well-deserved time needed to heal and recover, I noted that deadlines were still met on the business you were responsible for. Despite absences, the honest relationship between committee members and chairs, and the shared respect and commitment for your respective goals are characteristics that make SSP such a special organization. In the face of adversity, we show up for one another. We are sincere in our desire to become better and committed to holding ourselves accountable.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the character of SSP. What does an SSP membership mean to its members? What makes SSP stand out when determining where and with whom you want to spend your time? Are we, as an organization, who we say we are? I reflect on these questions, among many others, when I’m listening to the smart people in committee meetings, reading threads on C3’s Member Exchange and posts on The Scholarly Kitchen. I find many of these questions answered through the actions of members. We’re navigating industry evolution, market disruption, technological advancements, and ethical ambiguity together, unselfishly working through challenges, learning from one another, and participating in the reinvention of ourselves.

In honor of that spirit, I’ve decided to do something a little different this year. For the sake of transparency, I’m disclosing to you that I will be breaking a longstanding tradition. The Board will use our upcoming in-person meeting at SSP’s 46th Annual Meeting in Boston as a strategic planning session. For those who are unfamiliar with the traditional structure of this particular Board Meeting, it is a day-long event where we take an extensive look at committee reports and discuss initiatives and activities with committee chairs. We do rigorous deep dives into the state of SSP, covering all aspects of the business.

Our goal this year is to develop a comprehensive and forward-thinking long-term plan to guide SSP in adapting to evolving trends in scholarly publishing and association management. This will include an examination of key drivers of change, an evaluation of the impact and effectiveness of existing programs, an exploration of potential programs, services and offerings, and a reflection on SSP’s mission, vision, and goals.

Preliminary steps to prepare for this session are already in motion, beginning with a survey prepared and distributed by our incredible Executive Director, Melanie Dolechek, to Board Members and Committee Chairs. This survey will be used to inform the prioritization of our agenda and help us make the most efficient use of our time. The outcomes of this session will not be realized in my term, but I trust that the discussions will shape SSP for many years to come and allow us to navigate an unclear future with integrity and the confidence of knowing that we are who we say we are demonstrated through actions that match our words.

Finally, I’m thrilled to announce that the Generations Fund has reached 68% of our goal! Your generous contributions will be used to provide sustainable funding for SSP’s Fellowship, Mentoring, and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility programs. Want to get involved? Register for our 3rd Annual Virtual 5K Run, Walk, and Roll to benefit the Generations Fund today and help us reach the finish line! I’m looking forward to seeing so many of you at the Annual Meeting in Boston.

Randy Townsend 
2023-2024 SSP President 

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