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by Mike Groth

Each year, the annual meeting of the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) brings together academics, librarians, publishers, researchers, service providers, technologists, and others to discuss some of the challenges, issues, and opportunities in the research information industry. This year’s meeting will take place May 29-31 in Boston with the theme, “Inflection Point: Setting the Course for the Future of Scholarly Communication.”

That theme was selected by SSP because of the great growth and change that scholarly publishing is seeing today through accessibility, DEI, evolving Open Access models, and new technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI).

“Scholarly publishing is undergoing significant shifts and disruptions. Such transformative change demands creative responses. However, if we react to these changes without careful thought and deliberation, we risk creating scattered and potentially irrelevant responses,” said Annette Hager, Senior Consulting Associate, KnowledgeWorks Global, Ltd. “It’s essential for professionals across all areas of scholarly publishing to share their knowledge, exchange ideas, and collaborate to chart a successful path forward for our industry. This meeting serves as a platform to do exactly that.”

As can be expected, one of the biggest topics for the meeting is AI, which, for the last two years, has disrupted not only the world around us, but specifically the scholarly publishing community.

Tom Beyer, Platform Services Director for KGL PubFactory remarked, “What’s interesting is that the focus of the conference is on some of the consequences of the increasingly consolidated, technological scholarly publishing environment. I’ll be especially interested to see what kind of discussion is engendered by the research integrity and AI-focused talks. There are some real issues that the industry needs to grapple with, and it will be great to get into those discussions.”

There are too many panel discussions and plenary sessions to list, but these sessions focus on the impact of AI on various aspects of the industry, the push for regulations, the emerging opportunities for large and small organizations, and current use cases and success stories.

Hager noted how she is seeing AI being used by her customers, “AI is being utilized in so many ways. Routine tasks are being automated with AI to streamline publishing processes and provide an optimal experience. Other AI applications present many significant challenges including content integrity, attribution, and rogue players.”

Because some of the pitfalls that come with AI are only being discovered in the implementation of this technology, it is important for meetings like SSP to discuss these issues the scholarly publishing community are facing. “We probably won’t solve the complex pain points brought on by AI in one week, but I hope conversations at SSP will move participants closer to a shared vision for how the diverse players in our industry can work together to address the challenges brought on by AI and integrate this remarkable technology in a way that benefits the scientific record and its stakeholders.”

Indeed, many participants are anticipating the influential conversations that happen both formally and informally at SSP. “I am looking forward to digging past the headlines of the conference and learning more about what organizations are struggling with at an individual level,” noted Kevin Lomangino, Head of KGL Consulting. “Whether it’s business model strategy, driving submissions, author satisfaction, or some other need. No matter the situation, the Consulting team always has great ideas for improving journal performance. We’re excited as ever to learn from this vibrant publishing community and to share our knowledge with others.”

“The main thing I’m looking forward to this year is seeing people,” added PubFactory’s Beyer. “It’s a conference where you know everyone there is worth meeting and talking to. And in this age of virtual work, it’s such a relief to get to see folks in the flesh. Consequently, I will be talking to everyone I can.”

The KGL and Sheridan team will be exhibiting in Boston, May 29-31 at SSP booth 304. We will also be hosting an Industry Breakout Session on Wednesday, May 29 at 2:15pm, featuring Annette Hager along with KGL customers, Chris Reid of AAAS and Vaishali Damle of IEEE, Leveraging Bibliometric Data for Strategic Growth: Publisher Use Cases. To schedule a meeting or find out more please visit our event page.

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