STM Week 2023

Innovating scholarly communications

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Our takeaways from STM Week 2023

Sowmya Mahadevan, Chief Operating Officer, Kriyadocs

STM Week 2023, hosted in London earlier this month, served as a focal point for discourse on all things innovation, shedding light on the dynamics and challenges within the scholarly communication landscape. In attendance were our Growth Partner, Jason De Boer, and me, participating in an enriching experience where we launched and showcased the Kriyadocs Accessibility Bot.  

STM Week offered a distinctive opportunity to connect with professionals spanning the spectrum of scholarly communication. It provided a hub for meaningful conversations, delving into vital subjects like AI, research integrity, and accessibility.

Day 1 (5 December 2023)

The keynote address by Prof. Elena Simperl from King’s College London, “This talk was not generated with ChatGPT: how AI is changing science,” underscored the transformative impact of AI on science, emphasizing that AI is poised to revolutionize how researchers analyze vast datasets, enhance accessibility to scientific information, and explore trends within specific fields of interest. As we embrace the potential of AI, the session also prompted a reflection on the challenges associated with human-AI interactions, with Prof. Simperl sharing these insightful guidelines from Microsoft on human-AI interactions.  

We were delighted to introduce the Kriyadocs Accessibility Bot during Day 1, where I had the pleasure of taking the stage for a lightning talk during Innovations Day: AI among a cohort of fellow innovators in this space. The objective of this series of lightning talks was to delve into breakthroughs that are sculpting a future marked by profound insights, seamless collaborations, and enhanced impact within the scholarly community.

Also, a live poll conducted during Day 1 provided a glimpse into the industry's stance on AI, transitioning from initial contemplations on "To AI or not to AI" to a more encouraging exploration of the diverse ways in which AI can enhance productivity in the Scholarly Publishing Industry. Hylke Koers from STM Solutions, the moderator of the panel discussion, “AI in practice: How are academic publishers using AI today? What lessons have we learned?”, shared these insightful perspectives, underscoring the industry's collective efforts to leverage AI and simplify the intricacies of the publishing process.

Day 1 concluded with the Vesalius Innovation Award ceremony, a celebration of outstanding achievements in medical innovation with a focus on AI. Our hearty congratulations to the winners of the prestigious award, Pipra, Ludenso, and Teraquiz, for their outstanding contributions to innovation in the field!

Day 2 (6 December 2023)

The event reflected on the changes observed in 2023, with discussions revolving around the growing role of technology in scholarly communication and how it impacts the detection of misconduct. The sophisticated evolution of paper mills, their increasing access to editors, and the need for a nuanced, tech-supported solution underscored the depth of the challenges faced by the industry.

Also on the agenda was the exploration of retractions, emphasizing the significance of standardized frameworks. The session, “New approaches towards retractions,” by Tim Kersjes from Springer Nature, Jodi Schneider from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Todd Carpenter from NISO, Anna Abalkina from Freie Universität Berlin, and Mike Streeter from Wiley, around this topic touched upon the ethical, legal, and practical dimensions of retractions. Participants delved into the stigma associated with retractions, pondering whether the industry should amplify efforts to ensure research integrity at scale.

Day 2 also involved an enlightening comms-related session titled "Turning something bad into something positive," Rachael Harper from IOP Publishing and Alice Henchley from Springer Nature shared valuable insights on communicating challenging news. The Comms 101 principles outlined during this talk include avoiding ignoring/denying a problem, fully assessing it, taking prompt action, understanding and monitoring audiences, taking responsibility, providing clarity, and identifying opportunities. The session underscored the applicability of these principles not only to the world of publishing but also as leadership lessons across various domains.

Day 3 (7 December 2023)

On Day 3 of STM Week, we delved into the forefront of sustainability within research publishing and higher education. The day's focus was on exchanging the latest trends, setting future agendas through engagement with the SDG Sustainability Roadmap, and developing shared priorities for the research sector. Conversations revolved around the future of sustainability, exploring actions ranging from carbon calculators to offsetting principles.

The many dynamic conversations at STM Week emphasized the dual role of AI innovations in scholarly communication – an opportunity and a risk. While advancements in technology offer tools to support researchers and detect malpractice, the event highlighted the indispensable role of trained human experts in maintaining research integrity. The need for a holistic approach, engaging with illegitimate practices at the source, and fostering collaboration were recurrent themes.

Looking ahead, we are enthusiastic about contributing to and being a part of the innovations that will continue to shape the future of scholarly communication. Positioned at the forefront of the industry's transformative AI-driven evolution, events like STM Week empower us to engage in essential conversations, fostering a cautious yet optimistic momentum as we collectively propel the principles of ethical and impactful scholarly communication into the next era.

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