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STM conference serves up rich variety of discussions

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Tim Gillett provides a brief run-down of proceedings at the scholarly publishing industry's traditional precursor to Frankfurt Book Fair

Frankfurt once again hosted the annual conference of STM – the global trade association for academic and professional publishers – with organisers proclaiming that it was the busiest-ever such event.

Delegates from publishing businesses around the world crammed into the  meeting room of the city’s Westin Grand hotel for the keynote speech by Robert Hariri, founder of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics. While much of the speech centred on the fascinating area of cellular therapeutics, Hariri stressed the fact that much of the work in this field was informed and driven forward by the information industry, with data and research key to its development.

The second presentation, a panel discussion on communications, was expertly moderated by Grace Baynes of Springer Nature, with the panel itself made up of Fred Dylla of the American Institute of Physics; Caroline Sutton Co-Action Publishing; Richard Geyde of Research4 Life; and Laurel Haak of ORCID.

Dylla’s presentation focused on STM’s recent consultation on article sharing, while Sutton spoke on the Think Check Submit initiative, which is aimed at helping authors to determine which publishers are serious, reliable, and trustworthy. She pointed out that around 1,000 journals were launched last year around the world, pointing out that poor journals not only harmed the cause of researchers but that of the entire industry.

Gedye spoke on behalf of the Research4Life organisation, which aims to provide developing-world orgs with access to pubished research. The organisation provides affordable access to some 8,000 institutions in 115 developing countries. Haak described the work of ORCID, which promotes the use of identifiers within the industry with the aim of improving discovery.

The afternoon session of the conference featured Michael Jubb, who presented findings from a major collaborative study on open access and its take-up by researchers, in journals and in different subject areas, while Roger SChonfeld of Ithaka gave a very entertaining presentation on dismantling the stumbling blocks that impede researchers’ access to e-resources.

The final presentation was a CEO panel session moderated by Michael Mabe of the STM Association, featuring Tracey Armstrong of Copyright Clearance Centre; Philip Carpenter of Wiley; Brian Crawford of ACS; the IOP’s Steven Hall; and Ron Mobed of Elsevier.

The panel touched on subjects including: competitive advantage; green open access; diversity within the industry; technology developments; and what motivates them as CEOs.

All of the above presentations, along with the relevant slides, will shortly be available on the STM Association website.