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Organizational Spotlight

Society for Scholarly Publishing: Highlights of the 2021 Annual Meeting


Dr. Avriel Licciardi, Research Communications Strategist

July 2021

What is the Society for Scholarly Publishing?

The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) is a nonprofit organization that advances and promotes communication among all sectors of the global academic publishing community. Since its founding in 1978, SSP is the leading organization in scholarly publishing, with SSP members representing all aspects of the publishing community including journal staff and editors, publishers, scientific societies, technical and author service providers, university administrators, librarians, printers and of course, authors.

SSP is often the first place to turn for information and guidance on current and emerging issues in scholarly communication such as changes to open access policies, diversity initiatives, and revisions to journal indexing or peer review models. To assist their members, SSP hosts an annual meeting (see recap below), monthly educational seminars and webinars (some are free!), and regional events, all of which contribute to SSP’s objectives of keeping the community engaged and up to date regarding trends in publishing, research and funding policies, and career development.

Learn more about SSP.

Main takeaways from SSP 2021

LetPub had the opportunity to attend SSP 2021, which was the first virtual SSP meeting in history, a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the virtual setting, SSP focused on community and networking, introduced poster presentations for the first time, and importantly, discussed how the pandemic led to unexpected opportunities for change in the publishing industry’s policies and practices as well as general priorities, all of which were dictated clearly in the conference theme: “Charting a New Course from Chaos to Innovation”.

Below we detail the key takeaways from SSP 2021, so you can stay informed:

• The community is striving for equitable and sustainable business models for open access; however, article processing charges (APCs) and transformative deals have not accomplished this, even with waivers for researchers. Publishers and journals continue to search for ways to support authors while also being financially sound themselves.
• China seeks to develop an internationally recognized STM journal publishing program by creating high-quality English-language journals, collaborating with international publishers, promoting open access, and reducing the extreme publication pressure on Chinese researchers.
• Artificial intelligence tools continue to emerge, many of which increase readership and submissions.
• SSP plans to prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives over the next 12 months, with many speakers and attendees focusing on action at both the personal and organizational levels.
• Response to the virtual setting was generally positive, suggesting virtual components may be here to stay for future SSP meetings, to increase inclusivity and accessibility for members. Read more about SSP 2021 from Scholarly Kitchen Fellows and Chefs.

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