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ALPSP Conference 2018

Atwood Tate is a long-term member of the Association of Learned & Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) and were delighted to attend their conference 12 – 14 September 2018.  This conference plays a key role in scholarly publishing, and it attracted a high-level audience from all sectors including publishing people from academic, professional and STM publishing.  This conference provides an opportunity to share information and knowledge, learn about new initiatives, as well as engage in open discussion on the challenges and opportunities facing publishing.


I spent a day at the ALPSP conference and attended a number of fruitful talks, including Evolution of Peer Review, Industry Updates, Openness & Transparency in Scholarly Publishing and What’s New in the Digital Humanities.  The talks were very informative, and it also strengthens my knowledge in the field.  In particular, I enjoyed the talk by The Charlesworth Group where the speaker Jean Dawson talked about how scholarly publishers can use their service and promotes their works via WeChat to the Chinese audience.  Ann Michael from Delta Think made an interesting point on how data is never perfect so we need to build skills and team to fill the gaps.

Other than talks and seminars, there was also charity run in aids of FODAD, a small UK registered charity providing support to those in Sri Lanka, conference dinner and after-dinner quiz. Featuring a wide-ranging programme, this is a must-attend event for everyone involved in the scholarly publishing community.

If you weren’t able to attend, there are a number of resources and presentations available to view and listen to here: https://www.alpsp.org/2018-Programme

Video footage of all plenary sessions is also available on the ALPSP YouTube page.

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London Book Fair 2018 Round-Up


We’ve had an amazing (if exhausting!) three days at the London Book Fair 2018 this week. We’ve had really productive meetings with clients new and established, met some brilliant new candidates, been to fascinating seminars and walked far too many steps (I wish I’d had a pedometer to keep count)!

Our Highlights from the London Book Fair 2018

We had a comfortable booth in the Club at the Ivy, which acted as our base and a venue for meetings on all three days of the fair.

The excitement of the fair was contagious, and it was really fun to walk around soaking up the atmosphere and looking at the stands. It was great to see what new releases are coming out soon as well as new developments in the industry as a whole, including a big focus on technology and audio.

The big talking point this year was the recreation of the Oval Office, built to publicise the release of Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s new novel, The President is Missing. My other favourite was the Usborne stand, which looked like a treehouse! The children’s section was as fun and colourful as ever.

The Bookcareers Clinic

Christina and Alison had a great time at the Bookcareers.com clinic supported by The Publishers Association. They met enthusiastic future publishers and gave them our best tips as well as explaining a little more about what we do, including our temps service, which is a great way for aspiring publishers to gain (paid!) work experience. If you missed it, you might want to have a look at our Work Experience and Entry Level Resources page on our blog.


Helen particularly enjoyed meeting interesting people in academic and professional publishing at the ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers) drinks on Tuesday. She would like to thank them for organising such a good networking opportunity!


There were too many excellent seminars to name all of them, but here are some of our highlights:

Anna went along to the Society of Young Publishers seminars on Getting Into and Getting Ahead in Publishing. These seminars were broadcast live on Facebook and if you missed them, you can still watch them here. They simultaneously launched their new mentoring scheme, SYPinto – find more information here and get your applications in quickly! The main take-aways from the seminars were: tell the recruiter why they should hire you, don’t include irrelevant or negative things and the cover letter is as important, if not more important than the CV. Networking and making contacts is the thing and that’s partly what LBF is about!

Helen went to the seminar ‘Academic Research: How Free Should it Be?’ It was very interesting and opened her eyes to the complex drivers behind Open Access (OA) publishing and the complexity of the issues surrounding it, including the differing perceptions of OA in different markets. For example, Indian researchers are generally suspicious of OA but China tends to have less of a problem with it and will be happy to go OA with a prestigious brand.  It’s a complex global picture and the lines of communication between publishers and researchers are not always clear, which leads to difficulties.  Researchers often take a narrow view and are focussed on how publishing affects their funding but publishers have an overarching view of the complex issues and other drivers of the change to OA, so they aren’t always “on the same page” and that is a challenge that needs to be addressed.

From Academic to Children’s publishing: Ellie was particularly excited to see one of her childhood heroes, Jacqueline Wilson. She went to listen to her give a great question and answer session, where she spoke about the challenges and rewards of writing about children from disadvantaged backgrounds who experience very difficult situations. She also talked about returning to old characters (as in her new book, My Mum Tracy Beaker) and the new challenges facing children growing up today compared to when she first started writing. Apparently she finds it much more difficult to write a text-message conversation than an in-person one!

On a more serious note, Claire went to the talk on ‘A Bookish Brexit’, which covered ideas on what the international publishing community might expect from a post-Brexit UK publishing industry and what policy positions the UK will need to adopt. The Publisher’s Association released their Blueprint for UK Publishing which you can see here.

Claim to fame…

Our very own Senior Recruitment Consultant Claire Carrington-Smith was featured in the Bookseller Daily on the Wednesday for ‘My Job in Five’! If you missed it you can see it again here.


Let us know what your favourite part of the London Book Fair in the comments below. Or contact us on any of our social media: TwitterFacebook, LinkedInYouTube or Instagram.

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ALPSP International Conference 2014

It was another great conference organised by ALPSP to bring together the scholarly and professional society publishing world.  As ever, there were main sessions and options on parallel talks so it’s impossible to see it all.  They have just released the speakers’ presentations on the ALPSP website so luckily, there is a chance to read up.

On Thursday, the opening session on ‘Cross-fertilization’ chaired by Toby Green of OECD was an enlightening discussion about challenges facing NGOs, university presses, learned societies and commercial publishers. David Smith, Head of Product Solutions, at the IET had some particularly interesting questions and suggestions, saying publishers can make a good profit from OA journals but subscription models can be difficult for smaller publishers.

There was discussion as to why all journals aren’t now available in open access format and Toby Green questioned whether publishers are making enough effort for their readers to make content accessible.  The issue of whether sharing information globally for free is a good thing really depends on your perspective.

Another interesting session was ‘Competing with the Corporates’ chaired by Oliver Gadsby, Chief Executive at Rowman & Littlefield International.  We heard some personal outlooks from Digital Science, Packt Publishing, Policy Press and Edward Elgar Publishing.

Some key points:

There are lots of relatively small journal publishers but they’re big in the niches where they compete.

Staff are your most important asset. In a small company you can’t promote people like in a corporate company, so you need to involve them in the business in different ways.

‘Ideas are cheap – it’s actions that count’ – good advice on many levels from Alison Shaw.

There’s more pressure on selling to / joining with corporates, so smaller publishers need to:

1 Find good partners

2 Go OA

3 Find new ways of providing value

A plenary session on ‘Who’s Afraid of Big Data?’ chaired by Fiona Murphy of Wiley was thought provoking if a bit on the dark side.  We had a range of speakers from inside and outside the industry discussing what does Big Data actually mean for societies and publishers in practice? We learnt a lot about both the amount of data that’s out there (and growing massively) and got some ideas on how publishers can work with it.

And of course the dinner with the Awards for Innovation in Publishing and quiz were highlights, many congratulations to the winners:

Gold to Frontiers, the open science platform.

Silver was awarded to IOP ebooks™ from IOP Publishing.

JournalGuide from Research Square received a Bronze award.

The best summaries of all the sessions are on the ALPSP blog so do have a good look there too!

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ALPSP International Conference 2013

It was another really enjoyable and educational session at the Belfry hotel in Birmingham last week at the ALPSP International Conference (that is the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers in case you’re wondering!). The awards dinner and quiz were great fun as ever and I was lucky to be on a very entertaining and relatively successful table, coming a respectable joint 3rd!  Here’s my summary of the useful bits I picked up, but I’ll be checking out the slides of the sessions I missed too and suggest you check out the ALPSP Blog.



“Was it something we said? (Or something we didn’t?)” was a fascinating panel session on communication that gave sound advice for scholarly publishers but could equally be used for any industry.

Grace Baynes, Head of Corporate Communication at the Nature Publishing Group gave a great top 10 outline of her best tips including ‘make all employees your spokespeople’ and ‘keep messages simple’.  Helen Bray, Director of Communication, John Wiley & Sons quoted Jack Welch that ’if the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near’ – again true for us all!


“Publishing practicalities”, chaired by David Smith from the IET looked at new trends and issues affecting the publishing landscape.

Alan Hyndman from Digital Science gave his views on Google Analytics and why he thinks it’s a great tool to improve your marketing. We probably all use it but don’t forget to set goals so you can see the improvements.  It’s free & comprehensive but it should be just one tool in your arsenal.
Jason Hoyt from PeerJ gave some great tips: Identify your customer and their top needs; Throw out anything you’re not an expert in; Throw out anything that your customers don’t care about – focus on what they do; The cloud is for organisations both big and small.


The session “What is the publisher now?” was fast paced and insightful.  Ziyad Marar, Deputy Managing Director and Executive Vice President of Global Publishing at SAGE Publications questioned what scholarly publishing needs to consider? Accessibility, sustainability and excellence are a good triad to start with.  We need to: Understand, Engage, Enable.

Timo Hannay, Managing Director at Digital Science advised that as publishers, we have to suppress any sense of entitlement and listen, learn and adapt.  We’re here to create and disseminate information and how we fulfill this mission is changing.  We need to think about functionality and not just content.

Victor Henning spoke very clearly about his experience as the founder of Mendeley and subsequent work with Elsevier.  He asked, “Is it possible to stem the flow of technology or should we surf the wave and join in?”  Heads of publishing houses need to come together and find a solution.

Louise Russell, Principle Consultant at Tutton Russell Consulting, commented that we’re heading towards information overload (how true!) – as a result of the increasing amount of content available it will become more chaotic for researchers to find information so we need to improve this.  Publishers will be experimenting with new digital strategies and working with digital natives who will think differently – the landscape is changing.



“Negotiating with governments: in search of pragmatic public access policy” was a detailed and fascinating rundown of policy in the UK, Europe and the US.  Check the ALPSP blog for more detailed info.


Steven Hall, MD of IOP Publishing, gave a comprehensive and clear outline of the history of open access up to the very latest updates following the House of Commons report last week. See the Finch Report for more background.
Eric Merkel-Sobotta from Springer Science+Business Media outlined the situation from the EU which seems to be having mixed success and Fred Dylla of the American Institute of Physics gave an overview of the US open access policy.


As always at conferences there is lots going on and you can’t attend every session, but I feel that I’ve come away with a good insight into where the scholarly publishing industry is and caught up on some important policy updates.

It was also good to catch up with some old contacts and make new ones.

Looking forward to next year!

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