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08.17.2017  |  SSP News & Releases

SSP Philly Event Recap – An Evening of Roundtable Discussions in the City of Scholarly Love

Roundtable participants led by Judy Luther (front table, second from left) discuss new metrics and analytics.

The second Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Philadelphia Regional Networking Event was held at the offices of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Philadelphia on Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Attendees began the evening by mingling with one another over food and drink, and then rotated into 25-minute discussion groups across four roundtables. Conversations were lively, fun, and interesting, and each group explored various challenges and opportunities across four topics.  Summaries of some of the specific questions and thoughts from each roundtable are noted below.

Metrics: How do you measure up?

Moderated by Judy Luther from Informed Strategies, this group discussed both traditional and new measurements of reach, impact, activity, and usage. Attendees broached questions such as: What is the difference between Metrics and Analytics? How does a publisher address the challenge of getting the right content to the right end user at the right time? Given that the tenure system still awards authors for publishing in journals with high impact factors, do authors really appreciate and, more importantly, understand alternative metrics?     

All Things Open:  What do we mean by “open”?

Moderated by Bonnie Gruber from Delta Think, this roundtable encompassed the entire range of “open”:  open access, open data, open science, and open scholarship. Discussions focused on the benefits, challenges, and risks in such areas as open data management and the use of preprint servers in various disciplines, with participants sharing how OA was affecting their publishing programs and library collection budgets.

Technology: Are you thinking about embracing AI (Artificial Intelligence)?

Moderated by Adrian Stanley from Digital-Science (with help from his AI assistant, Amazon Alexa), attendees discussed recent technological innovations in the scholarly communication space within the context of the development and impact of AI. There was some predictive speculation about the future of AI and machine learning in publishing (such as peer review), with Alexa telling jokes, answering questions and spurring discussion just with her presence.  One key question raised was, “Is real content delivery innovation happening outside the publisher platform?”

Funding:  How do we demonstrate our support for scholarly communication? 

Moderated by Mike Jones from Annual Reviews, this topic generated many questions, but (admittedly) few immediate answers. Should philanthropic organizations be entering the scholarly communications business? Is there a conflict of interest? Would funds be better utilized to help educate the public on the importance of research? One example: We sometimes question the motives of corporations that fund and publish research; should we use the same lens when viewing the same actions from The Wellcome Trust or the Gates Foundation? Is there such a thing as an apolitical funding body?  And if research funding is increasingly tied to specific public benefit, as opposed to being tied to disseminating one’s findings to specialist peers, can scholarly publishers successfully adapt? Is this the publishers’ or the authors’ responsibility?

These roundtable discussions identified some new issues faced by both publishers and librarians within the changing publishing climate, and provided a way for participants to think through solutions around existing challenges. 

Between the roundtable discussions and the networking it was a highly successful event that kept the conversations going.

The SSP Philadelphia regional group is planning additional events for 2017, so stay tuned!

Photos:  CREDIT <Emma Sanders>

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