ALPSP virtual conference and awards 2021

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Newgen was delighted to join its industry colleagues from the scholarly publishing community at what is one of the publishing industry's most respected conferences. Hosted online again this year, it was three days in September of engaging and thought-provoking sessions from some of the academic publishing community's most respected and learned speakers and stakeholders, including publishers, researchers, librarians and technology providers.

The two main themes of the conference were 'Discoverability and accessibility’ and ‘The Great Reset: Scenario planning for life after Covid'.

Below, Samantha Town, Newgen’s Business Development Manager picks out just some of her favourite sessions

Preprints: published early drafts of research articles which have not been through peer review

The conference kicked off with a keynote from Harlan M. Krumholz one of the co-founders of medRxiv – which is a preprint server for the health sciences. The note looked at the way in which preprints are changing how clinical researchers share early science.

Preprints was a thread which ran though the entire conference, raising a number of interesting questions: Can peer review and preprints co-exist? Can preprints be integrated into the traditional journal workflow? How will the roles of the traditional research ‘gate keepers’ – editors and reviewers – change? Will preprint publication wane post-pandemic?

Imagined utopian future: Preprints and peer review work together to strengthen science and research reach and accessibility.

Accessibility

Did you know that fifteen percent of the world’s population has some kind of disability? The opening of the second day was a session on making published content more accessible to those with disabilities.

Despite some of the challenges faced in the production of accessible publications, the overriding consensus from the panel of publishers who were at different stages of making their publications accessible, was that accessible content is better content – the ultimate in functional design.

The moral and legal obligations to make content accessible are bolstered further by a strong business case to do so. For example, there are 285 million visually impaired people worldwide, resulting in a large market for accessible titles.

Key takeaway: Embracing accessibility aligns with business success.

Exploring discoverability

With a panel made up of publishers, librarians and content aggregators this session explored how making content ‘discoverable’ means different things across different organisations – from enabling the posting of preprints and the curation of research to sharing new findings via social media and other channels.

Content that is 'born accessible' certainly enhances discoverability and usability – one such example is the explosion of voice searching aids such as Alexa and Siri.

Enriched and tagged content, and smart metadata management are all key in enhancing visibility, searchability and discoverability.

Research discoverability has become author- and impact-centric but how does a content producer coordinate the experiences of content discovery and engagement for all its users? How do we make content personalised – which also raises questions about the negative connotations which can be associated with artificial intelligence (AI) and personalised algorithms?

Key question: if we move to a truly digital-first workflow and want to enhance the discoverability and personalization of this content, do publishers need to move beyond the traditional journal or book wrappers?

For more information about ALPSP and the 2022 conference go to: https://www.alpsp.org/