The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is piloting a new program for connecting scholarly publishing professionals with others who share interests, concerns, and the goal of advancing their collective understanding or sharing best practices and ideas. This new program, the Communities of Interest Network (CoIN) will launch with two pilot communities. Communities of interest will rely on virtual (or occasionally face-to-face meetings) and web-based collaborative environments to communicate, connect, and conduct community discussions and activities.
The first community, Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Publishing Professionals will provide a space for HSS professionals to discuss the issues that face our subset of the sector, compare notes on best practices and policies, and provide networking opportunities. Primary engagement would be through a C3 community, where participants can share their questions and network.
If there is interest, regular online events to network or address particular topics facing HSS publishers would be planned as well. This group will be facilitated by Laura Ansley, Managing Editor at the American Historical Association, and Dawn Durante, Editor-in-Chief at the University of Texas Press.
The second community, Early Career Publishing Professionals will provide a devoted space for individuals new to the publishing field to network, connect, learn, and grow. During monthly virtual meetups amongst participants for general networking or focused educational topics, group facilitators will encourage questions/engagement and provide attendees an opportunity to chat.
This group will be facilitated by Gabrielle Bethancourt-Hughes, Assistant Editor, Digital Product Management, Wiley, and Hans Koelsch, Director, Publishing, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Bethencourt-Hughes and Koelsch are both members of the SSP Early Career Sub-committee and this group is an extension of the sub-committee’s charge.
“This new program directly supports SSP’s core value of community and advances our strategic goal of developing new content and services,” said Melanie Dolechek, Executive Director of SSP. “During the last two years, we’ve realized how important staying connected to your professional colleagues has been. While we’re happy to see in-person events returning, the ability for our membership to connect and collaborate virtually has remained critical as more people work from home in geographically dispersed areas and travel budgets are less generous than they used to be. The peer-to-peer interaction of a community of interest builds trusted connections and lends itself to many knowledge-sharing opportunities.”
These two communities are now accepting applications for interested participants. While future communities may be limited to SSP members, these pilot communities are open to anyone within the field of scholarly communications. Participants should be willing to learn from others and contribute so that others learn from them. The pilot communities are expected to start convening before the end of July.
In the fall, the Community Engagement Committee, which oversees this new program will evaluate suggestions for new communities of interest. These communities will have the autonomy to define their focus areas, size, method/frequency of communication, objectives, and rules for engagement. Community members, in most cases, must be SSP members in good standing and are subject to SSP’s Code of Conduct. Each community is managed by one or more community facilitators and supported by our Community Engagement Committee. If you have a suggestion for a future community, we encourage you to learn more about how new communities are developed.