ALPSPHannah Heckner Swain, VP, Product: ALPSP, as always, was a great chance to connect with folks across the pond. The turn-out this year was fantastic, and not just for the networking breaks, but also for the sessions. Many focused on research integrity initiatives, collaboration projects, AI, and shifts in open access tack. If someone were to be transported from 2018’s ALPSP to 2023’s sessions they’d be very confused to hear publishing organizations speaking like online news or shopping outlets in regards to user data collection and personalization, alongside folks singing ResearchGate’s praise. All in all, it was a fun and full meeting in a great venue and lovely city.
Walker Swain, Director, Business Development: The ALPSP conference was back in Manchester, UK for the second year in a row and was well attended – further reflecting enthusiasm for the return to in-person meetings. As for the sessions, of particular note was Julia McDonnell of OUP’s presentation about our co-developed product, Sensus Impact, to a large audience. The second evening of the conference included the annual ALPSP dinner and “quiz” They were not playing around… for your information, Kazakhstan and Russia have the world’s second longest land border.
NISO Plus ForumJeremy Little, Software Developer: The NISO conference provided a valuable opportunity for me to shift from technical discussions and engage more deeply with industry-focused thinking. There was a real sense of apprehension within the publishing industry regarding AI, with concerns ranging from job loss to the potential compromise of research quality. Legal aspects, such as issues of content authorship, intellectual property ownership, and plagiarism, were also brought to the forefront. Yet, despite these concerns, there was a strong enthusiasm for the development of AI products, the establishment of AI standards, and the resolution of ethical issues surrounding AI's use in publishing. The conference also revealed the emergence of numerous small companies leveraging AI for content discovery, content automation, and publisher tools, emphasizing the significance of our engagement with AI. Despite the concerns and competition highlighted at the conference, a key takeaway for me was the tremendous opportunity we have to educate and lead within this space and our industry. Our clients are enthusiastic about interacting with new technology, whether that means integrating it or regulating it, yet they often find the fundamental workings of language models and general AI challenging to comprehend. As we integrate and learn about these tools, my hope is that we can set a strong example in our industry. Many are looking to us for guidance and it's important to remember that we are all on this learning journey together.
Melissa Jones, Content Architect: At this year’s NISO Plus Forum, I had the opportunity to engage in lively discussions about the challenges and opportunities that AI and Large Language Models pose to the community we serve. Key topics included the importance of provenance as it pertains to the integrity of the scholarly record; the intersection of licensing, AI, and fair use; and innovative ideas on leveraging AI and LLMs to enhance diversity and inclusion within the research community. The day concluded with brainstorming initiatives for future implementation, which ranged from creating best practice guidelines for AI usage to organizing a summit that could potentially involve leaders from major tech companies such as OpenAI, Google, and Meta.
Emily Hazzard, ProductOps Analyst: I had a fantastic time moderating a table discussion at NISO Plus Forum. Hearing so many expert perspectives on AI and ML in the information community was great. It was encouraging to see how much consensus there is within the information community about the challenges and opportunities presented by AI/ML despite it being a sometimes divisive topic. After the conversations, I feel energized and confident that our collaboration with publishers on AI-driven initiatives will yield impactful and sophisticated products and simultaneously enable Silverchair to continue to show up as a thought leader in this space.
SSP New DirectionsHannah Heckner Swain, VP, Product: The first day of SSP New Directions were book-ended by two sessions that highlighted interesting thoughts on funding and research integrity that I found very thought-provoking:
- During a panel on the impact of externalities on research, funding, and outputs, Dr. Susana Ramirez from UC Merced presented some hot takes on how the structure and policies of the NIH help to deepen health disparities and how as a publishing industry we can help by considering context and elevating lesser-known voices. Lots of intrinsic issues, good but poorly planned intentions, and short-sighted priorities were mentioned, alongside few solutions, but I have hope that the scholarly publishing community is working on our historical shortfalls surrounding diversity of voices and perspectives.
- The closing keynote on the first day of the conference was also extremely interesting. Dr Rebecca Brendel from the Harvard Medical School discussed the values we should value in considering where research integrity really originates. She mentioned studies of when people were more likely to act with more integrity, and with increased levels of success, highlighting the importance of education, environment, and psychological pressure.
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