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What now? Scholarly communications in a post-pandemic world

Academic publishing has been forced to consider new technologies, policies, and practices during COVID-19.

With the various changes, and challenges brought about by the pandemic, anxieties persist and questions remain unanswered as we begin our return to business as usual (if such a thing is possible!). Over the past 16 months, the academic publishing community has been driven to consider and implement new technologies, policies, and practices at a never-before seen pace. Now, looking forward, how can we ensure these changes and adaptations are sustainable and can be incorporated into existing workflows? How can we build a conference format that is more impactful and equitable, without losing the benefits of in-person interaction? And where do we begin?  

Morressier CSO Lauren Kane recently joined Will Schweitzer, Chief Product and Customer Success Officer at Silverchair, to tackle these questions in a hybrid discussion titled ‘What Now? Making the most of pandemic pilots and pivots’ as part of Silverchair’s Platform Strategies webinar series. Read on to discover key takeaways from the conversation:

What’s the Framework?


Controlling Customers and Content

According to the Going Back to Business as Usual (GBTBAU) framework, data management will remain a key focus for organizations as they pivot to new strategies. This includes understanding details regarding what data is captured and where, an organization's relationship with its users, and customer expectations and conditions. This also involves tracking how content is created, how and where it is stored, and who has access to it. Establishing who has ownership rights over content and data is especially important when working with vendors or partners who support a lot of publishers.

Both Schweitzer and Kane note that while these standards are very much in place for traditional scholarly journal articles, these checkpoints and data management systems are becoming increasingly relevant for the less-explored world of digital meetings and conference posters. 


Demand Generation and Traffic

Focusing on demand and traffic can be extremely helpful for companies and organizations looking to improve their business strategy post-pandemic. Demand generation is crucial for driving marketing and sales efforts and involves asking questions such as who owns the domains and infrastructure? How are customers coming to the website and what does their activity look like? How can we redirect domains and web traffic?

In keeping with the topic of demand generation, it can be beneficial for organizations to explore new monetization opportunities post-pandemic. Many societies, for example, have pivoted to suit the needs of their end-users by making conference content openly accessible. However, as we return to some semblance of normality, it can be worth looking into different methods to monetize this content (such as by providing a ticketed, on demand content library) to increase its value and expand existing business models.


Contracts and Conditions

Moving forward, a successful strategy post-pandemic entails examining the terms and conditions of agreements with not just customers, but also governing bodies, partners, and vendors. Stakeholder values and expectations on all sides of the equation have shifted over the past 16 months and are likely to continue to change in the future. Keep this in mind when developing a future strategy and be sure to ask stakeholders what their needs and pain points are throughout the entire planning process.

What Should We Look Out For?


Gaps and Replications

When shifting to new strategies and attempting to optimize pivots and adaptations, there are certain missteps that organizations often fall into. For instance, attempting to replicate a cancelled in-person event in a digital format is unlikely to have a fruitful outcome. “A virtual meeting is never going to be an in-person meeting,” Kane says, “they’re different animals.”

As many organizations switch to hybrid meetings going forward, we can expect to benefit from the best aspects of both in-person events and virtual formats. In-person events foster a sense of community, increased business development opportunities, and invaluable serendipitous exchange, while virtual formats running in parallel can boost the reach and impact of conference content by ensuring that it is accessible well beyond the the confines of an event hall.


Making Assumptions

While keeping stakeholders' needs in mind is essential, organizations should avoid making their own assumptions on what exactly these needs are. Organizations often fall into the trap of priotizing features and products that end up not being readily used. Drawing back to the values of user data as outlined in the framework, a hallmark of a successful post-pandemic strategy involves evidence-based decision making. For example, taking surveys and polls from attendees prior to a meeting ensures their requirements are front and centre in the planning process.

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