If it excites you and scares you at the same time... you should probably do it.

Sadly, I can’t find who actually said this for the first time… I got lost in an endless trail of people quoting other people quoting others until I realised I was procrastinating, because I’m not quite sure how to sum up #ScholComm19 in a blog post.

Thank you!

First of all I would like to say “Thank you” – to the speakers, to the delegates, to the programme committee – to everyone who contributed to a fantastic, supportive, relate-able, useful event. The feedback we have had, on email, on twitter, in person and on the forms has been overwhelming. To those of you who weren’t able to make it, we’re sorry (And hopeful for year 2!). We do now have a mailing list – get in touch if you’d like adding – to continue the conversations started at the event.

How did we end up here… where next?

When I first moved into this role, the number of events was staggering – events focused on particular groups (research administrator, librarians, publishers) or responsibilities (metrics, data, repositories and so on) but nothing that tied together the diverse range of roles, responsibilities and foci of things badged “Scholarly Comms”. When Josie started in her role, she asked if there was one event she should go to… and there wasn’t. Not knowing whether this was because no-one else had thought about this, or whether the academic events calendar was so packed in this area that there was no capacity for another event, we decided to give it a go. We were given funding to hold the event but on an incredibly tight time scale – the response staggered us! We had paper submissions coming in less than a day after the call for papers went out, delegates registering before we had a programme and the week before the event we were worried about capacity.

Next week we will be sharing the slides, the ways in which we promoted diversity at the event (It will be interesting to see how many you spotted…) and the sustainability side. We are also very happy to share documents, financial details and so on with anyone who would like to host #ScholComm20.

Emerging themes

Three things really emerged from the event – the sense of community, that the response to challenges is often individual and that we don’t know where we’re going… but it won’t be boring (With apologies to David Bowie!).

The sense of community

  • The number of talks that referenced shared community documents, that gathered data from community surveys or events was incredible – working with people who are willing not only to innovate within their role, but to share their experiences so that the sector as a whole can innovate from a position supported by data instead of individual anecdote is invaluable.
  • There is a tendency for us as individuals to feel we have nothing to offer or contribute, that the innovation in Scholarly Communications is coming from a few leading institutions, but more than anything this event showed us how each of us responding to our institutional priorities and researcher needs are contributing to a global scholarly comms environment.

The response to challenges is often individual

  • There is a danger of grouping people and organisations under a banner ‘Researchers’, ‘Institutions’ ‘Publishers’ and making blanket approaches as a group. Through a more nuanced, individual approach, there was greater engagement with projects, initiatives and ideas.
  • The value of communication… not email! We heard about posters, infographics, meetings, drop ins… and, of course, coffee… but not once did anyone mention how effective their email was.

We don’t know where we’re going…

  • While there may be a high level vision, we work in a field that is changing all the time – funders, regulators, researchers, institutions, governments change the ‘next step’ frequently – a year ago, no-one had heard of Plan S, this time next year we (may/should) have implemented it.
  • There are new tools, systems and infrastructure emerging all the time (Tinder for Open Access?.. ok, I know it is really called¬†The pocket library for open content, but still) to improve reach, discovery and openness.
  • We work in a global environment – and innovation comes from everywhere.

But it won’t be boring…

If you write anything from the event, do let us know or send it to the list so we can all see – we are also very happy to publish things here, if you have something you’d like to write about.

Finally… if anyone does know who originally said the quote, do let me know so I can credit them!


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