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11.27.2023 | SSP News & Releases

President’s Letter | November 2023

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.

There have been a lot of exciting things happening in our industry lately. The SSP community represents some of the most brilliant, creative and talented thought leaders of our day, and each event that I participated in throughout the past few months, whether it was the SSP New Directions Seminar, the 13th Annual GW Ethics in Publishing Conference, Publisherspeak, Deanta’s USA Roundtable, or Wiley Partner Solution’s Impact Forum, there were always new conversations, new perspectives on legacy challenges, and fresh ideas that help shape the way we evolve. I wish I had the time and energy to attend every event and hear every presentation. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) is real, especially when I’m scrolling through my LinkedIn feed. 

I fell in love with publishing through my attraction to well-written stories, polarizing characters, and richly phrased descriptions which lured me into the author’s imagination. The words I read would make me feel chillier in the winter or angrier in injustice. I would learn how vile some could be for the sake of being cruel, but also that I was connected to like-minded people, and that I was not alone in the way I was adapting to our evolving society. Sometimes I get caught up in semantics. In addressing a society of publishers, it may seem trivial to say that words matter, but as so many things around us seem to be accelerating, I don’t think it’s out of place to restate the obvious. 

In our (generally) post-pandemic business, many of us have been tightening budgets and cutting back on spending, especially for professional development. This is where semantics kicks in for me. I encourage you to replace the word “spending” with “investing,” whether talking about time, money, or any other resource. We all have to pick and choose wisely on how best to use these resources in ways that fortify our existing business models, but also enable us to move towards more adaptable positions. This is most important when we’re thinking about professional development and our commitment to one another. We have an obligation to invest in the future of our industry and to the people that will inherit the impact of our actions. Sometimes, that involves moving around line items in your budget so that staff can attend an in-person event or participate in a webinar. Other times, it’s in providing mentorship, internships, or other professional engagements that expands skill sets and encourages innovation. 

SSP’s commitment to developing programs that produce the appropriate returns on professional development investing remains consistent. We recently kicked off another cohort of the coveted SSP Mentorship program. An abundance of applications for the upcoming cohort of SSP Fellows is currently being evaluated. Additionally, The Early Career Chew newsletter, launched on LinkedIn this past summer in collaboration with our partners at International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE), Council of Science Editors (CSE) and STM Association, with a goal of aggregating important conversations and topics into bite-sized highlights, just published its second edition.   

There is still time to register for the 2023 Journals Academy, which will provide conversations on journal business models, marketing, editorial, production, diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility, and many other hot topics that are important to our industry. This is a great opportunity to show recently-hired or -promoted and early career team members that you are invested in their future and jumpstart their understanding of journals publishing!  

Although the proposal deadline for educational sessions at the 2024 SSP Annual Meeting has passed (with 108 submissions!), the window to submit proposals for the Industry Breakout Sessions (January 5 deadline), Posters, and the 5-minute Previews Sessions (both deadlines are February 16) is still open. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of the conversation in Boston.   

I salute the many members and member-adjacent participants that are investing their time and experience towards developing our new, student, early career and reinvented professionals and to those showing up to learn, question and grow in the programs we’ve developed. And kudos to our member organizations that are wisely investing in the development of their professionals. 

Randy Townsend 
2023-2024 SSP President 

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