"We seem to be at a moment when all eyes are on publishers to propose new models."
An interview with Angela Cochran, Managing Director and Publisher at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) about the future of scholarly publishing.
in cooperation with Frankfurter Buchmesse and The Scholarly Kitchen (TSK), the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) organises specialist discussions on developments and trends in scholarly and academic publishing worldwide.
Could you please describe your job and your connection to Frankfurter Buchmesse 2020?
I am the Managing Director and Publisher at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). I am also the volunteer President of the Society for Scholarly Publishing. ASCE is a long-time exhibitor at Frankfurter Buchmesse. It provides a great opportunity for face-to-face meetings with current sales agents and potential new sales agents. Besides sales, we also take advantage of scheduling meetings with technology partners. Over the last few years, I have had the pleasure of participating as a panelist at the information stages. Whether on the Scholarly Kitchen panel or a technology panel, I always find the audience to be engaging and diverse.
The slogan of the SSP 42nd Annual Meeting (27-29 May 2020 in Boston, USA) is “Rethink, Reimagine, & Revolutionize the Future of Scholarly Communication“: How does the term “revolution“ apply to the scholarly publishing industry in 2020?
Including the word “revolution” in the title has several purposes. For one, it ties the meeting to the location. Boston was the location of two major events leading up to the American Revolution: the Boston Massacre in 1770 and the Boston Tea Party in 1773. While the SSP meeting will be free of musket fire (and we certainly don’t plan to dump tea into the harbor), we will be discussing changes in scholarly publishing including the use of artificial intelligence in content processing and discovery, new funder mandates around public access to content, and ways in which the industry can do better when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Which topics will set the tone in scholarly publishing in the next decade?
Everyone wants to talk about business models. Publishers want to support an open access model for scholarly content but want to ensure that it is adequately financed and sustainable. There are certainly lots of opinions about how we might get there, but nothing has been settled yet. We seem to be at a moment when all eyes are on publishers to propose new models. While there has been some experimentation, there is not enough data to know what will work in the long run. I hope that 2020 will lead to more frequent and productive dialog between publishers, researchers, libraries, and funders.
The SSP Seminar and Business Breakfast at Frankfurter Buchmesse will take place this year on 14 October 2020 at Frankfurter Buchmesse. Why should visitors and exhibitors join the event?
So much is happening in the industry. It’s really hard to stay on top of all the changes and opportunities. Events like the "SSP Seminar and Business Breakfast at Frankfurter Buchmesse" offer an opportunity to hear from a wide range of players—publishers, society publishers, support services, standards creators, librarians. Anytime we can collect a range of panelists coming from different perspectives to talk about common issues, there is an opportunity to learn.
Learn more about this topic at Frankfurt Academic