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[ FUTURE OF PUBLISHING ] January 19, 2023

3 things we learned at APE 2023

After two years of online-only events, we were thrilled to be back in person to attend and sponsor the first publishing event of the new year, the APE (Academic Publishing in Europe) 2023 Conference!

This year, the hybrid conference revisited Berlin, Germany, a familiar location for previous attendees and the Morressier team’s headquarters, meaning we didn’t have to travel far to exchange exciting insights and see old and new faces in the scholarly publishing community. This year’s theme was “Building Technological Support for Scholarship and Scientific Publishing.” This topic sparks so many interesting questions and debates. What does the future of publishing infrastructure look like? How can we use digital tools to improve the peer review process and (re-)build research integrity? Even further, how can we encourage partnerships and collaboration between researchers, publishers, societies, corporations, technology platforms and more to facilitate change? 

Read on to learn more about the themes and questions that were provoked and answered at APE.

 

1. How can we create a scholarly communications system that’s truly built for the 21st century?

One of APE’s first sessions brought together talented leaders within the STM publishing industry for a panel entitled, “Embracing the New, looking at the future of scholarly communication.” The above question served as the main focal point of the discussion, with each participant offering their own unique solution and answer.

We particularly enjoyed the CSO of Springer Nature, Harsh Jegadeesan’s response. Jegadeesan believes digital technologies and platforms are a huge opportunity that the scholarly community should leverage. He notes that we’ve gone from print to digitizing research in the past 20 years, yet we haven’t truly unlocked the power of creating digital experiences. Rather than using technology to transform the publishing process, we’ve simply digitized it, meaning the tools to communicate science have changed but the process has not. Jegadeesan says that technology may be the key to greatly enhancing the publishing process and finding opportunities to  share research and collaborate.

Other panelists discussed the importance of researcher-centric user experiences. Damian Pattinson, Executive Director at eLife Sciences Publications, suggested that researchers “taking matters into their own hands” by voicing their concerns or sharing preprints will define the scholarly publishing future. Rachel Burley, Chief Publications Officer at the American Physical Society questioned the evolution of the scholarly journal, whether our community is too journal-focused, and how we can make the process of submitting to a journal much less complex and easier for researchers.

Wiley’s SVP of Partner Solutions, Guido Herrmann, advocated for a digital transformation towards open access, stating, “...with the open access shift there is an emphasis on the author, but there is also a huge opportunity to bring emphasis to the reader experience and innovate.”

 

2. Do we have a problem with trust in research integrity?

The above question has been a central theme within scholarly communications throughout the past year. But, during the (Re)Building Trust in Research Integrity panel at the end of APE Day 1, it became clear that research integrity is not a topic that will be left in 2022. 

In this session, panelists discussed how technology has both given rise to and helped publishers deal with the information explosion that has occurred in recent years. But this has also led to the empowerment of bad actors within the scholarly community. Paper mills, predatory publishers and conferences, and citation manipulators have taken advantage of technology and the use of automation in peer review in order to circumvent integrity checks, causing retractions and fraud within research to rise. Why? The pressure to publish has become so pronounced that the rewards outweigh the risks, meaning that the threat of a lost reputation is not as great as the threat of a lost publishing opportunity. What’s more, the use of automated systems have driven scientific communication further, while hindering it at the same time due to bias.

 So, how do we strike the right balance with technology when it comes to building and preserving research integrity?

Alice Meadows, chair of the panel and co-founder of MoreBrains called for increased adoption of persistent identifiers, using technology to organize and connect findings across the research lifecycle. Meadows also encouraged better standards and guidelines across the research community, and improvements to the peer review process. 

All panelists agreed that whatever we choose to do going forward to rebuild research integrity, we must do it together.

 

3. Where is the innovation?

As the systems and attitudes around how research is shared and carried out change, so should our infrastructures, right? But, how is this possible when our community is sometimes resistant to transformation?

In the Innovation, Technology & Infrastructure panel, three speakers offered their different solutions and views when it comes to evolution within academic publishing. Dr. Nandita Quaderi, editor-in-chief of Clarivate, discussed the use of “responsible metrics” to organize and maintain research, while Dr. Bianca Kramer, open science librarian at Utrecht University, presented the importance of changing research culture through open data and infrastructure.

Finally, Dr. Philipp Koellinger, Professor of Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, described the importance of using persistent identifiers to address the entire linked data structure of a research object directory.

While much has been said about the scholarly publishing community’s “Innovation Problem”, these perspectives offered fresh ideas and avenues for innovating and improving publishing infrastructures.

 

Conclusion

At Morressier, dreaming big, aiming high, and embracing transformation is what we’re all about. We’re proud to support APE and its mission in creating a space each year where scholars, publishers, authors, and more get a chance to come together in order to imagine, innovate, and collaborate

Microscope cutting of a cell with messaging about the future of publishing infrastructure