Panelists from the Durham regional event included, left to right, Paolo Mangiafico, Deric Corlew, Meredith Morovati, and moderator Leslie Eager. Photo credit: Jocelyn Dawson
On December 8, the scholarly communications community in Durham, NC, gathered for a Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) regional event about cultivating innovation in a field with distinct challenges. The speakers included Deric Corlew, Vice President of Business Development at Research Square; Paolo Mangiafico, Coordinator of Scholarly Communications Technologies at Duke University, and Meredith Morovati, Executive Director of Dryad Digital Repository. Leslie Eager, Director of Publishing Services for Project Euclid, served as moderator.
The panelists discussed the challenges of innovating within a field with many fiscally cautious nonprofit players, and in academic settings where researchers may be reluctant to change the rules and incentives that have allowed them to move forward in their careers. To overcome these (and other) obstacles in launching new products or in creating organizational change, the panelists offered many pieces of advice, including:
- All employees should be involved in innovation efforts; innovation should not only come from the top of an organization. Customer service representatives and receptionists are on the front lines and have their finger on the pulse of the business.
- Hiring a diverse staff brings different ideas and new conversations into an organization.
- Strength-finder tests can help you create a good mix of people for a project.
- Avoid considering sunk costs when evaluating a proj
- Over-emphasizing innovation and change can create an environment that feels like shifting sand to employees. Innovation can also happen in a more evolutionary way.
The speakers shared their own experiences with successful (and unsuccessful) new ideas and discussed areas that they think are ripe for innovation within our industry, including how hiring practices might target candidates with more diverse backgrounds, and the growing shift in some parts of publishing from a proprietary model to a service-based model.
The event, which was held at the offices of Research Square and sponsored by J&J Editorial, welcomed attendees from the publishing (Duke University Press, Oxford University Press, RTI International), university library (Duke, North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte), and partner (Dryad, J&J Editorial, Research Square, Ringgold) communities. The SSP Community Engagement Committee hopes that this event and others like it will inspire attendees to forge new connections and stimulate innovation in scholarly communication.