Publisherspeak 2023

Elevating scholarly publishing through collaboration

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Publisherspeak: An unconference-style scholarly publishing event

Publisherspeak is an in-person unconference-style event by Kriyadocs. The first edition of this event took place on 26 September 2023 at the AGU Conference Center in Washington, DC. Publisherspeak 2023 brought together stakeholders from the publishing industry to collaborate, generate innovative ideas, and acquire actionable insights to overcome the challenges faced in scholarly publishing at the time.

Reflections: Feedback from delegates

Explore the insights shared by the delegates at Publisherspeak 2023 about their experience at the conference.

Highlights from Publisherspeak 2023

Welcome address: Elevating scholarly publishing through collaboration

Louise Russell, the Conference Chair for Publisherspeak 2023, opened the event with a warm and inspiring welcoming address. Her words not only set the stage for the conference but also ignited a sense of anticipation for the enlightening discussions around various themes in scholarly publishing throughout the event.

Our Conference Chair, Louise, is a publishing consultant focused on digital and publishing strategies within the scholarly communication industry. She brings 20 years of diverse experience in scholarly publishing, covering primary and secondary publishers, intermediaries, and software providers.

Keynote talk: Click. Publish. Impact. The Seismic Shift from Print to Predictive Algorithms In Science Publishing.

Anirban Mahapatra, Editorial Director at ASM Journals, delivered an enlightening keynote presentation, exploring the transformative transition from print to predictive algorithms in the realm of scientific publishing. His insightful address illuminated the dynamic changes within scholarly publishing, from preprint platforms to AI authorship to public access to transparent peer-review.

As the Editorial Director of scientific journals at the American Society for Microbiology, Anirban ensures inclusive dissemination of research that advances the microbial sciences. A published author and engaging speaker, he explores the intersection of science with societal issues. Anirban is the Keynote Speaker for Publisherspeak 2023.

Interactive workshop on agile transformation: Embracing Agility

With the expertise of experienced executive coach Srikanth Seshadri, our participants engaged in an interactive session, delving into the real-world applications of agility for both business and personal development. The audience learned about multiple forms of agility and explored how they can help them thrive in a world of volatility and complexity.

Srikanth is a seasoned executive coach with a track record of success in training 1,000+ leaders and coaching 100+ CEOs. An expert in agile growth, he blends business acumen with a passion for leadership development. At Publisherspeak 2023, Srikanth will lead an interactive workshop on agile practices and transformation.

Publisherspeak 2023 survey: The Publishing Paradigm

As part of our commitment to fostering meaningful discussions and driving positive change in the industry, we conducted a live survey designed to capture the insights and perspectives from our diverse group of delegates on four crucial themes: author experience (AX), metadata infrastructure, diversity in authorship and editorial processes, and the influence of AI on scholarly publishing.

The highlights from this survey are shared below.

Industry snapshot

The first section of The Publishing Paradigm, "Industry snapshot," explores the current realities and future visions in the publishing industry relating to the four themes.

The majority of respondents found "managing the impact of AI on the publishing landscape, including workflows, research integrity, etc." to be the biggest challenge the scholarly publishing industry faces today.

The top 3 responses for this question were "upholding research integrity by evaluating the quality of research through robust mechanisms," "making publishing economically sustainable as well as scalable," and "ensuring greater transparency around the research and publication processes and outputs" respectively.

Author experience (AX)

The next section of The Publishing Paradigm, "Author experience," examines the current challenges and opportunities for improvement in creating a positive author experience (AX).

The majority of respondents chose the "lack of easy-to-use platforms/tools" as the current challenge faced by authors in getting their work published. "Unconscious bias within the review process (e.g., biases relating to institutions, country, etc.)" and the "inability to easily identify journals to submit manuscripts to (e.g., finding journals that fulfil funder or institutional mandates) were the second and third most popular responses respectively.

"Providing a singular experience from submission through final publication" was the most popular response to the question about the key factor in creating a positive author experience (AX). Other popular answers include "enhancing communication and author liaison across the publishing process," and "reducing publishing turnaround times while maintaining content quality".

Metadata infrastructure

The next section of The Publishing Paradigm, "Metadata infrastructure," explores the challenges, strategies, and innovative ideas surrounding the dynamic world of metadata management in publishing.

The responses to this question highlight the significant role of a consistent metadata flow in ensuring a smooth publishing process.

The vast majority of respondents chose "ensuring the seamless flow of metadata across different systems and platforms from submission through to online publication" as the most critical metadata-related challenge the scholarly publishing industry faces today.

Diversity in publishing

The next section of The Publishing Paradigm, "Diversity in publishing," covers the current landscape of diversity, equity & inclusivity among editorial boards, peer review processes, and other facets of academic publishing.

The most popular response for this question was the "unconscious bias within the review process (e.g., biases relating to institution, country, etc.," followed by the "limited outreach to underrepresented communities" and "lack of funding / equitable publishing options in underrepresented regions."

On average, "encouraging mentorship programs for underrepresented authors and Early Career Researchers (ECRs)" was voted the most important factor in promoting diversity in editorial boards and authorship. The most popular choice for the second rank was "establishing diversity quotas or targets."

Nearly 79% of the respondents chose "all of the above" for this question, highlighting the importance of diversity across all stakeholder levels, including editorial boards, authors, and peer reviewers.

Impact of AI on scholarly publishing

The next section of The Publishing Paradigm, "Impact of AI on scholarly publishing," examines the opportunities and challenges posed by AI in publishing.

The majority of respondents considered "ethical dilemmas in AI-generated content" as the major concern pertaining to the integration of AI in various aspects of publishing. The second biggest concern was "job displacement within the publishing industry."

Over 71% of respondents chose publishers as stakeholder group most affected by the use of AI tools, followed by librarians and readers, and editors and reviewers.

Over 40% of respondents chose authors as stakeholder group that can benefit the most from the use of AI tools, followed by editors and reviewers, and publishers.

Key takeaways from the breakout session

The unconference-style breakout session at Publisherspeak 2023 was designed to help delegates ideate and craft actionable solutions for the challenges facing publishing today. The audience was divided into 4 groups, and each group—led by a key stakeholder in the industry—tackled a specific and critical theme within scholarly communication. First, each group engaged in a collective brainstorming session to identify the three most significant challenges associated with their designated themes. Following this, they singled out one specific challenge to delve deeper into during the latter part of the session. To address this selected challenge, the teams conducted a detailed analysis and brainstorming process, which culminated in the creation of a Solution Canvas.

Theme 1: Author experience (AX)

This theme delved into strategies for enhancing the author's journey in scholarly publishing, emphasizing inclusive practices and support for a diverse range of researchers.

Patricia Kershaw

With over 18 years of experience in publishing, Patricia is a dedicated professional who excels in producing high-quality, peer-reviewed content. Her multifaceted experience in the publishing industry positions her as a seasoned leader with the capabilities to push forward and enhance journal publishing efforts.

The top 3 challenges identified by the group were:

The challenge the group had selected to deep dive into was, "Multiple technologies and disparate systems create confusion for the author."

The team's Solution Canvas is shown below:

Theme 2: The influence of AI on scholarly publishing

Under this theme, participants explored the transformative impact of artificial intelligence on the scholarly publishing landscape.

Richard di Santo

With over 20 years of experience in publishing operations, technologies, and mentorship, Richard is driven by a commitment to innovation, scalable growth, and efficient workflows. He is dedicated to forging new, sustainable ways of publishing while ensuring the integrity and accessibility of meaningful content.

The top 3 challenges identified by the group were:

The challenge the group has selected to deep dive into was, "How to achieve unified best practice on AI usage?​"

The team's Solution Canvas is shown below:

Theme 3: Metadata infrastructure

This theme focused on the critical underpinning of academic publishing—metadata. Attendees explored the significance of well-structured metadata.

David Haber

David, a seasoned publishing professional with over 2 decades of experience in the industry, has dedicated 7+ years of service to the American Society for Microbiology. With a diverse background encompassing various roles within publishing, he brings extensive expertise and leadership to propel journal publishing efforts forward.

The top 3 challenges identified by the group were:

The challenge the group has selected to deep dive into was, "Incentivising/Enabling authors to provide the correct metadata up front as they are the source of truth.​"

The team's Solution Canvas is shown below:

Theme 4: Diversity in authorship and editorial processes

This theme delved into the promotion of inclusivity in scholarly publishing, examining the role of diverse authorship and editorial practices in enriching academic content and perspectives.

Randy Townsend

A steadfast leader in the publishing industry, Randy has dedicated decades of service to policy implementation, executing progressive strategic goals, and developing a diverse portfolio of scholarly journals. He has presented on subjects such as scholarly communications, DEI, accessibility, and ethics in publishing to international audiences.

The top 3 challenges identified by the group were:

The challenge the group has selected to deep dive into was, "how to recognize and reward Peer Reviewers with an increased representativeness?"​

The team's Solution Canvas is shown below:

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