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v18 #6 Hot Topics from SSP’s 36th Annual Meeting

. . . Reported by Martha Whittaker,
ASMscience Platform Product Manager,
American Society of Microbiology

The 36th Annual Meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing, held in Boston May 28-30, 2014, had the largest attendance in the Society’s history.  Over 900 conference goers packed the meeting rooms at the Westin Boston Harbor to discuss the theme “Who’s at Stake and What’s at Stake? Looking Outward at the Future of Scholarly Publishing.”  Fifty-four exhibitors enjoyed steady traffic in between programs — showcasing services as varied as popular new-comer ReadCube to old reliables like Allen Press and Cenveo.

A keynote session by Chris Lintott, Astronomer at the University of Oxford and a co-presenter of BBC’s Sky at Night program, presented a fascinating look at citizen science in the field of astronomy.  Lintott noted that amateur astronomers had the time, attention to detail and the passion to often make amazing contributions to the field, yet most did their work with little attention paid to the literature of the field.  Google appears to be resource enough for citizen-based scientific observation.

Conference concurrent sessions were organized around five tracks, Innovation, Solutions, Publishing 101, Stakeholder Perspectives and Data.  Several presentations examined Open Access developments in light of the White House OSTP memo, and the responses from the publishing community (CHORUS) and the library community (SHARES).  Other topics receiving a lot of attention were the increasing need by publishers to market themselves to authors, the changing roles of librarians in the scholarly publishing marketplace, and connecting with end users via social media.

One particularly hot topic at SSP was the soon-to-be announced (June 2, 2014) investment in HighWire Press by venture capitalists Accel-KKR.  Excitement about the infusion of money to HighWire for technology upgrades and feature enhancements were tempered by worries about higher prices, cost-cutting moves and the loss of HighWire’s “academic-mission-focused” culture which arose from its association with Stanford University.  Others questioned whether this was the beginning of further consolidation in the digital publishing service providers space.  Along with HighWire, SilverChair, Atypon and Publishing Technology, less often seen companies Aries Systems and Semantico were conference sponsors and highly visible in sessions and on the exhibit floor.

There was considerable interest in the conference hall in PDF enhancement, specifically from ReadCube, the reference manager and PDF viewer from Digital Science.  ReadCube allows researchers to organize, annotate, and provide supplementary links to the articles in their PDF libraries.  The product is easily integrated into digital platforms to provide functionality that goes beyond what is typical of websites, while keeping the user within the publisher platform.  ReadCube has been integrated into the publishing sites of Wiley, Nature Publishing Group, Palgrave and others.

v18 #6 Preview of the 2014 Charleston Conference: The Importance of Being Earnest

. . . with thanks to Leah Hinds,
Assistant Director, Charleston Conference

Make plans now to join us in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, for the 34th annual Charleston Conference, Issues in Book and Serial Acquisition.  Our theme for 2014 is “The Importance of Being Earnest.”  Preconferences and the Vendor Showcase will be held on Wednesday, November 5, and the main conference runs from Thursday, November 6, through Saturday, November 8.

Register now at  Early bird registration rate is $425, and the deadline to receive the discounted rate is September 12.

A list of preconference sessions is available at  We have 12 sessions to choose from on topics such as evaluating electronic resources, the library as publisher, MS Excel for collection analysis, evidence-based decisions for collections, campus Open Access policies, scholarly journal publishing, and more.

Confirmed plenary speakers include:

•   Anthea Stratigos, CEO, Outsell

•   John Rennie, Editorial Director of Science for McGraw-Hill Professional

•   Tim Collins, EBSCO Publishing

•   Jim West, Author, Penn State University Press

•   Panel with Jim O’Donnell (Georgetown University) with faculty members discussing libraries

•   Panel with Chuck Hamaker (UNC Charlotte) and faculty discussing eBooks

•   Debate between Rick Anderson (University of Utah) and David Magier (Princeton University): “Resolved: Wherever possible, library collections should be shaped by patrons, instead of librarians.”

Our full conference schedule will be available in early August following the Call for Papers deadline on July 18.  Have an idea for a topic or panel?  Submit a proposal at

We are introducing two new events for 2014, part of an ongoing series of Charleston Seminars:

1)  “Introduction to Data Curation” is a preconference workshop held all day Monday, November 3, and half day Tuesday, November 4, and will be taught by faculty from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science.  Libraries and archives are increasingly responsible for curation of digital data.  This includes not only acquiring and managing data but curation within the context of libraries and archives.  This workshop will be an interactive event, including a combination of lecture, discussion, and also engagement with data creators and facilitating new forms of research through data use.  It will provide participants with an introduction to the primary opportunities, challenges, principles and strategies for addressing data practical exercises.

There are two registration options: Certificate Program, and Non-Certificate Program.  Participants who wish to engage in a specific project of interest can work with an instructor to do so.  These participants will receive a certificate of accomplishment from the School of Information and Library Science UNC-Chapel Hill and the Charleston Conference following the completion of their project work and approval from the supervising faculty.  Certificate program registration is $250, non-certificate program is $200.  More information is available at, and you can register now at (this is a separate registration page from the main conference).

2) “Being Earnest with Our Collections: Key Challenges and Best Practices” is scheduled for Saturday, November 8, from 12:15 – 3:00 pm and will include lunch for those who register in advance.  This session will bring together librarians, publishers and vendors from across the country to explore important changes within the industry that affect the way information is acquired and delivered to library patrons.  This lively discussion will replace the Rump Session with the goal being to cap off another great Charleston Conference by defining key challenges and identifying attainable goals.  The format will be a series of panels in lightning round format on exciting or controversial topics followed by group discussions.  Panelists will challenge participants to explore new ways of thinking about libraries, users, and the dissemination of information.  Following each panel, participants will be asked to further develop ideas and build consensus for turning those with broad appeal into action items.  Future plans include follow-up with attendees to ascertain their progress on key takeaways, and sharing results through various Charleston Conference publications.

Space will be limited!  Register on the main conference registration form at by indicating that you’d like to attend in the “Events RSVP” section.

Check the Conference Website for more details at, or contact Leah Hinds with questions at <>.

v18 #6 Highlights from the 37th Annual UKSG Conference and Exhibition

April 14-16, 2014, Harrogate, UK

. . . Reported by Anthony Watkinson, Principal Consultant, CIBER Research

UKSG is the progenitor of NASIG but is less a library organisation than one which brings together all the stakeholders.  There were around 1,000 at this year’s conference and perhaps a third were librarians but the large exhibition was central to the occasion.  Presentations were filmed and will soon be available.

The key takeaways come from the plenaries:

  • Professor Xiaolin Zhang, the director of the National Science Library at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, provided a lot of statistics (not all well known) demonstrating Chinese investment in research and development and in the higher education sector as a whole.  However he admitted that “open computable knowledge leading to innovation” is not so well advanced.  CAS signed the first Berlin declaration but implementation of Open Access seems to have been very slow.  Open Access monographs are not even on the agenda.
  • Dave De Roure, professor of e-research at Oxford University, centered on advancing digital scholarship.  His thesis was that the journal article is no longer fit for purpose but he did not want to throw the baby out with the bath water.  He anticipated a move towards a transformed scholarly output, the “research object,” based on the open agenda.
  • Currently in the UK the government has come out in favour of gold Open Access and funders (mostly state controlled) and within universities administration are implementing this policy.  The director of research and enterprise from a Scottish university (John Rogers) and Dr. Steven Hill who is in charge of research policy for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) explained what this means.  Both made clear that there is going to be a lot more control of how researchers disseminate their results. The former in his university “challenges” scholars to make their research more accessible.
  • There was another presentation from the joint leaders (Professors Carol Tenopir and David Nicholas) of the “Trust Project” now moving on from the report stage with the first article appearing in the April issue of Learned Publishing.  The overall message from the research is that researchers stick to their trust metrics in spite of digital change.  Traditional metrics are still based on the assumption that peer review and quality are intimately linked, social metrics rely on trust in research outputs stemming from trusted colleagues and known answers, and navigational metrics involve scrutiny of methodology, reference lists and credible data or logic.
  • Dr. Ernesto Priego, who lectures in Library Science at City University London, asked a range of questions about the effect of demands for impact from the current generation of academics.  The answer essentially involved the acceptance of the open agenda based on the culture of sharing.
  • Finally in the same session a young researcher (Guilhem Chalancon of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge) spoke about how things are for him — the challenge of digital information on molecular biology.  Information comes to him through his network.  He certainly does not go to the library.
  • Michael Levine-Clarke and John McDonald (Universities of Denver and Southern California respectively) recorded the ending of stage one of their large-scale longitudinal study of the effect of discovery systems (RDS) on online journal usage.  The additional material since the presentation at the Charleston Conference 2013 mainly related to the analysis of the control group of libraries that had not adopted these systems.  Usage did not increase as much as it did for adopters but the increase was very little below two of the four systems investigated.
  • Another study of RDS adoption (this time in the UK) was provided by Valerie Spezi who is a researcher at the UK group LISU.  She found a lot of user satisfaction but her recommendation for increased performance was more collaboration between all stakeholders.
  • These two researcher presentations were followed by remarks from two practising librarians.  The first was Birte Christensen-Dalsgaard from the Royal Library in Copenhagen, who holds a doctorate in atomic physics; she recognised that students and researchers live outside the RDS environment and libraries, therefore requiring work to develop a response to a very different world.  There is a huge disparity between research and development by Google and all the library systems suppliers put together.
  • The second library speaker was Simone Kortekaas of the Utrecht University Library.  In 2012 Utrecht decided to shut down their own custom-built and pioneering RDS and this has been successfully done.  Their next step is to dismantle their Web OPAC.  This was the most shocking and exciting presentation of the conference.

v18 #6 TCR Quotes

“The key to publisher success in the out-of-control pricing during the last 30 years of academic and scholarly journal publishing has been coercion.”  So says Chuck Hamaker in a new thought-provoking article which continues with the statement that “Publishers are now poised to make the implicit coercion in textbook sales explicit.”  The full article is available Open Access at:

v18 #6 Open Access and Learned Societies: Results of a New Survey

EDP Open, the Open Access publishing arm of EDP Sciences, has issued the following results of a survey of 33 learned societies on attitudes toward Open Access among learned society publishers:

  • Learned societies overwhelmingly agree that Open Access will inevitably place some learned societies’ journals into financial jeopardy.
  • Competing with large Open Access specialist publishers was also considered a significant challenge for learned societies.
  • Gold Open Access is the Open Access method that is least offered by learned society journals, however nearly two-thirds of learned societies indicated that they would like to be offering this option.
  • More than ever before, with so many journals being published Open Access of dubious origin, learned societies should look to endorse content with a stamp of quality and authority.
  • Collaboration between learned societies could help in the transition to Open Access, by pooling resources and sharing complex tasks.
  • When it comes to supporting the payment of APCs, two-thirds of societies have no support in place.
  • Two-thirds of all learned societies are also looking for support on best approaches to OA, and compliance with funder mandates.
  • By far the most significant challenge to societies relating to Open Access is seen as the ability to maintain revenues from existing publications.
  • The main way that societies keep up-to-date with OA Policy developments is by reading key industry information such as the Scholarly Kitchen.

OAP noted that although the survey results reveal concerns among learned societies relating to their traditional activities and revenue streams, there was also enthusiasm for the potential of Open Access to increase dissemination of research information, particularly to poor and developing countries. Learned societies also felt there was a strong opportunity for increasing inter-disciplinary access to research information and for the acceleration of research impact.

For more information contact Agnès Henri, Publishing Director, EDP Open, <>,  The complete White Paper is available for download at

v18 #6 Short Takes

The American Astronomical Society (AAS) and IOP Publishing have announced that all AAS research journals published with IOP will become electronic only beginning with the 2015 subscription year and will no longer print paper editions.  This announcement affects the Astronomical Journal (AJ) and the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ), as well as the Astrophysical Journal Letters (ApJL) and Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series (ApJS).  To learn more, check out the full press release

The Data Conservancy, IEEE, and Portico have announced a partnership to design and prototype a data curation infrastructure that will connect published research and associated data sets, across multiple platforms and repositories, for the long-term benefit of researchers worldwide.  The two-year project will be supported by a $602,000 grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  More information available at

v18 #6 Don’t Miss This

Volume 6, no.1 of the Open Access journal, Collaborative Librarianship is now available.  Included in the issue is a guest editorial by Mark Sandler, Director of the Center for Library Initiatives, as well as two peer-reviewed articles on Canadian joint-use academic and public libraries and on library partnerships supporting sustainability curricula.  Also included is a report on the Mellon-funded initiative of Columbia and Cornell Universities on combining their technical services (2CUL).  Check out the full issue at

(v18 #5 March/April 2014)*

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(v18 #5 Libraries on the Move)*

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(v18 #5 Don’t Miss This!)*

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