CACTUS makes a splash at SSP’S 44th Annual Meeting

Cactus Communications

June 17, 2022

The Society of Scholarly Publishing (SSP) has one of the largest and most well-attended conferences for the scholarly publishing community. CACTUS has been attending their conferences for almost 10 years and is an organizational member.

SSP’s 44th Annual Meeting (2022), held in Chicago on June 1-3, 2022, was the first physical conference that most people were attending after more than two years. CACTUS had a power-packed presence this year, with four panel discussions and presentations, a booth in the exhibition hall, a raffle, and eight representatives. 

Here are some highlights from the three-day event.

We opened with an extremely well-attended session on Paperpal solutions by Thomas Laursen and Duncan MacRae (Director, Editorial Strategy and Publishing Policy, Wolters Kluwer), where they spoke about how Paperpal’s plug-and-play AI solution can help publishers get better manuscripts with fewer reviewer cycles.

Don Samulack moderated a panel discussion on ethical science communication with Dr. Laura Helmuth (Editor in Chief, Scientific American), Sara Serritella (Director of Communications, Institute for Translational Medicine), and David Mellor (Director of Policy, Center for Open Science). The session saw some very animated discussion.

Chirag Jay Patel was joined by Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe (Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Tim Lloyd (CEO, LibLynx), and Amanda Ferrante (EBSCO Senior Product Manager, Identity & Access Management) in a discussion that brought up interesting insights on the impending death of the cookie and implications for publishers.

Nikesh Gosalia had a great panel discussion with Charlie Rapple (Co-founder, Kudos) and Jennifer Regala (Director of Publications/Executive Editor, American Urological Association) on expanding membership and reach for societies and helping them strike the right chord with Gen Z and millennial researchers (the latter are the most prolific when it comes to publishing papers). This session was largely based on an Impact Science whitepaper on how academic societies and publishers can strike the right chord with early-career researchers.

While the sessions were in progress, other CACTUS representatives interreacted with visitors at our booth.

Don Samulack and Pablo Palmeiro in conversation with Shermann Dilla Thomas (@6figga_dilla on Instagram), Chicago Urban Historian; CEO, Chicago Mahogany Tours; and #SSP2022 keynote speaker whose talk was very well-received

It wasn’t all work and no play. After a day of sessions, interactions, and big ideas, we found time to unwind.

Ending a busy Day 1 with a team dinner. L-R: Richard Wynne, Thomas Laursen, Chirag Jay Patel, Ashutosh Ghildiyal, Latoya Fladger, Pablo Palmeiro, Nikesh Gosalia, Donald Samulack
Nikesh winning the raffle organized by the Chicago Manual of Style (University of Chicago Press)
Ending the 3-day conference with a Turtles team photo (glasses courtesy Chirag Jay Patel)

Here are some takeaways from the CACTUS representatives.

Nikesh Gosalia

Our booth was a top draw for CACTUS. All our sessions, and especially the Paperpal Preflight session with Thomas Laursen, were a great success. It was extremely satisfying to see folks like Duncan MacRae and Jennifer Regala giving us glowing testimonials in front of large crowds. 

The main topics discussed were ethics in science communication, use of AI and ML, open access, open science, and growth of pre-prints. There seemed to be a lot of interest in research communication and dissemination.

Donald Samulack

While the turnout seemed a little less than prior years of SSP meetings, those who did show up were committed to having serious conversations. One of the gems of the conference was the opening keynote presentation, where a TikTok influencer and self-taught African-American historian of the origins and evolution of Chicago stole the show. He was not only entertaining, he was incredibly articulate on how and why the scholarly community needs to tear down the paywalls for access to published “fact” – he said that he can find out how to “cook crack” anywhere online for free, but it is incredibly difficult and expensive for a citizen historian/researcher to have access to the same quality information that the scholarly community has access to.

Chirag Jay Patel

This was my first-ever SSP conference and it was quite exciting. There is a lot of interest and excitement around AI, ML, and automation among publishers. At the same time, there is a disconnect between what users want and what the publisher can deliver. A great example is the lack of personalization on publisher sites and how poorly publishers communicate through email and social media. There is also a lot of resistance to change, especially at the editorial level. Finally, it is becoming clear that publishers and academia are not well prepared for the changes to privacy and data collection regulations and could be facing trouble as third-party cookies are on their way out and users gain more control over their data.

Richard Wynne

A Delta Think report presented at SSP 2022 found that when measured by manuscript count, Open Access represents approximately one-third of annual journal publishing. However, Open Access only represents 10% when measured by revenue. This implies that gross journal revenues will likely decline as the proportion of Open Access increases. One way for journals to adapt is by developing new sources of author services revenue. CACTUS can help here.

Ashutosh Ghildiyal

The product showcase sessions were well attended and we plan on having more of those in upcoming conferences. It was clear that CACTUS has good brand recognition. People wanted to know more about what CACTUS has to offer.

Latoya Fladger 

It was so nice to see the positive impact CACTUS has on the scholarly publishing industry. Multiple attendees mentioned how our services have helped their publishing programs thrive. I’m looking forward to growing the connections made at SSP into long-term relationships.

Pablo Palmeiro

SSP 2022 was worth the travel. We met new prospects face to face and hopefully these will turn into business opportunities soon. I also got to share quality time with my colleagues. Now it’s time to focus on the existing and new opportunities and keep the momentum going.

Thomas Laursen

It was great to see all the new services emerging in the area of technical checks. We are certainly looking into a future where lots of different automated checking of academic papers will be the norm.

Want to get involved in SSP? Volunteering for one of their committees is a great way to start and learn more about scholarly publishing. Learn more:

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