Scholarly publishing and the art of glamping

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 Suzanne Kavanagh, director of marketing and membership services at ALPSP, outlines what delegates can expect at their annual conference this September

Do you remember the tent?’

Not something you’d expect to hear at a scholarly communications conference, but there’s something quintessentially ALPSP about the question. We were rather let down at our conference a few years ago. The venue gave us one month’s notice of their intention to house the event in an outside marquee due to building work. 

And yet it was one of the liveliest and most entertaining conferences we’d ever hosted. Branded ALPSP umbrellas protected us from the rain as we dashed across the grounds. Jokes about ‘glamping’ abounded as we took our seats under canvas.

On a more serious note, it was the quality of speakers and topicality of the talks that shone through, despite the circumstances. There was a quiet sense of purpose as people networked, met new contacts and caught up with old friends – all supplemented with a liberal dash of grit, humour and good fun. 

It’s the people that make the conference: delegates, speakers, sponsors and staff alike are an essential part of what makes it so good. These people define the ALPSP network; we are nothing without our members and the conference is there to help them learn new ideas, do better business, maybe win an award – and definitely to be entertained.

So what can you expect for 2016? A farewell to the Park Inn Heathrow – it will be the 10th anniversary of the conference in 2017 and we have big plans including an exciting new venue. Want to know more? You’ll have to attend this year to find out.

There will be a packed set of talks and panels with the best and brightest speakers from within and outside of the industry. We’ll ask some hard questions about the changing role of the society publisher. We’ll debate publisher capabilities today, and we’ll reflect on who, in fact, comprises the scholarly publishing industry, now there is so much cross-fertilisation. We’ll challenge delegates to assess whether their rights are in order. Have they considered what disruption lies ahead? Is their academic engagement keeping track of the changes that drive what they do? Of course no scholarly publishing conference would be complete without a smattering of talks on peer review, altmetrics, emergent digital models, and our now-famous industry updates session.

There will be plenty of opportunity to mingle with publishers, librarians, researchers and industry partners from around the world. Networking opportunities abound, with the welcome drinks reception, lunch and coffee breaks. Cheer on your favourite shortlisted project as we announce the winners of the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing at the conference dinner. Challenge your grey matter as quizmaster extraordinaire Richard Gedye hosts another mind-boggling ALPSP quiz. And if you have the energy, there will always be a few hardy souls in the bar later on.  

ALPSP’s aim is to connect, inform, develop and represent the scholarly publishing community and those that work with them. The conference is one of the main ways we do this. Even if you can’t make it along, there will be video highlights and social media coverage so you can still be involved. But I truly hope to see you there. Our events team reliably inform me there is no sign of a giant tent near the Heathrow ring road. 


The ALPSP Conference will be held from Wednesday 14 September to Friday 16 September 2016 at the Park Inn Heathrow London. Follow #alpsp16 for updates and live coverage. Full details and booking available at: