Publishers should enhance service and drive open development to support the social nature of the science-making process – Report from the 10th Munin Conference on Scholarly Publishing

Text written by Sofie Wennström, Managing Editor & Analyst, Stockholm University Press/Stockholm University Library. Photo by Eva Dalin.

What Stockholm University Press Adds to the Scholarly Communication Process

Recently, I gave a presentation at the Munin Conference on Scholarly Publishing in Tromsø, Norway. It was an honour to have the opportunity to give a talk among other speakers in the span from Nobel Laureates and distinguished researchers to university representatives and other stakeholders. The northernmost university in the world showed once more that it is possible to nurture scholarly conversations in any latitude.

The core of the activities should evolve around the researchers

In my presentation, I once more had the opportunity to tell the story of Stockholm University Press (SUP). As you may be aware of by now, the task to manage this new project was given to the Stockholm University Library, and in the initial process it became evident that the core of the activities had to evolve around the researchers, the users, where the scientific ideas are created and developed.

It was decided early on that the press had to become an intrinsic part of the entire library operations in order to stay relevant to Stockholm University as a whole and the people working there.

SUP believe that one of the most important tasks of the publisher is to enhance services and drive development to support the social nature of the science-making process

We see it as a process where ideas are shared and discussed between peers in order to create better science. The aim is to accelerate this process by using our tools, strategies and guidelines. This is however still a work in progress, and will continue to be for quite some time, where we need to ensure that our tools and processes are transparent and open in order to reach these goals.

In addition to this, it is also important to recognise the need for further education about the nature of Open Access, for example what it means to be using a creative commons license, or how to take advantage of the benefits of electronic platforms and tools.

My presentation can be found online both as a pdf of the slide show and a video clip of the entire talk.

The conference also included other presentations:

Publishing the most important work in the life sciences

The first keynote came from the Editor of eLife and Nobel Laureate in medicine, Randy Schekman, who talked about the importance to work with alternatives to the Impact Factor in order to create better opportunities for researchers to gain merit through publications.

He also elaborated on their special take on the peer-review process, where reviewers evaluate papers in an online conversation between themselves and the authors instead of just sending in comments for the author to respond to.

Peer-review and its discontents

Another keynote speaker was Sabine Hossenfelder, researcher in high energy physics, and previously working at the Nordita institute in Stockholm. Her presentation evolved around the researcher perspective on peer review and publication processes. She diagnosed the scholarly communication illness, and gave some suggestions for a cure.

Disrupting academic publishing

Our publishing services partner, Brian Hole from Ubiquity Press also held a presentation about the way they work to disrupt the academic publishing model through transparency, trust and empowering the university presses in their network by working together on a common platform.

The current state and future of the Open Access movement

The two-day event ended with a conversation with Peter Suber from Harvard University Library Office for Scholarly Communication and Caroline Sutton from Co-Action Publishing on the current state and future of the Open Access movement. The full video clip can be viewed online.

The entire conference proceedings can be found online.

A bright future for all initiatives aiming to be open, transparent, and user-focused

If this is just a snap shot of all the people involved in changing the current scholarly communication landscape, then I see a bright future for all initiatives aiming to be open, transparent, and user-focused. This is certainly a community where Stockholm University Press would like to continue to contribute to further developments and sharing of experiences.


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