May 9, 2022 – The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) have established a joint task force to create a scholarly publishing position reference directory – a first of its kind reference that charts position descriptions and career paths across the industry.
The task force will solicit and analyze position descriptions from publishing professionals across the industry to uncover typical themes, titles, and responsibilities. Building on the SSP Publishing Skills Map, a particular focus will be on identifying the skills needed to start a career and advance in it. An additional goal for the AUPresses representatives is creating a reference tool for higher education human resources processes at their parent organizations.
Scholarly publishing professionals from all fields are invited to submit position descriptions to the task force to aid in the development of the reference directory. Respondents are asked to share the organization name and position title, and then upload a position description through the collection form.
Any description format is accepted; analysts will parse submissions for summary sentences that describe the core skills and functions of the position and the necessary requirements for consideration. The result will be templated position descriptions derived from the aggregated data.
The project stems from a shared recognition that publishing professionals from learned societies, universities, and other mission-driven organizations often occupy two different employment spheres. They may belong to a parent organization that is not solely focused on publishing, while the publishing industry tends to be dominated by larger commercial entities.
Position descriptions often map awkwardly to both environments, resulting in unclear criteria for comparable positions and poorly defined paths for advancement, leading to inequity and exclusion. Members from both organizations will create a structured list of publishing positions located in organizations big and small. Position descriptions gathered from SSP and AUPresses communities will be analyzed for common core responsibilities, skills required to accomplish them, and titles.
“This exciting task force will support SSP’s dedication to career planning and progression, bringing a new level of transparency to what can be inconsistent and confusing job title descriptions within publishing,” said Task Force co-chair Sarah Andrus. “By collecting detailed accounts of types of roles and key responsibilities, this resource will bring a rich new layer to the Professional Skills Map as we match job titles with descriptions provided by real professionals across organization types, along with the most commonly identified transferable and technical skills needed to succeed. We are delighted to embark on this major project, which will serve as an invaluable resource for publishing professionals at all career levels.”
“It’s such an honor for current AUPresses President Lisa Bayer, other university presses colleagues, and me to be working with our friends at SSP on this initiative,” added AUPresses co-chair Charles Watkinson. “Transparent position descriptions and clear paths to advancement have emerged as core requests from staff at member presses. The project also advances the efforts of several AUPresses committees to make publishing more accessible to job seekers with little prior knowledge of this rewarding profession.”
Data collection will be ongoing throughout 2022, and respondents can upload and submit a position description via the collection form. All answers will be anonymized and analyzed in conjunction with aggregate data.
At the conclusion of the task force, SSP and AUPresses will identify the skills needed to acquire a particular position and then advance within it through the publication of an HR-informed structure for presenting both individual position descriptions and the entire corpus of descriptions in a way that will be useful for both employers and employees.
About the Society for Scholarly Publishing The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP), founded in 1978, is a nonprofit organization formed to promote and advance communication among all sectors of the scholarly publication community through networking, information dissemination, and facilitation of new developments in the field. SSP members represent all aspects of scholarly publishing—including publishers, printers, e-products developers, technical service providers, librarians, and editors. SSP members come from a wide range of large and small commercial and nonprofit organizations. They meet at SSP’s annual meetings, educational seminars, and regional events to hear the latest trends from respected colleagues and discuss common and mutual (and sometimes divergent) goals and viewpoints.
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About the Association of University Presses AUPresses is an organization of more than 150 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, the Association of University Presses advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds intellectual freedom, integrity, stewardship, and diversity and inclusion as core values. AUPresses members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.
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