June 14th, IET - Savoy Place

London Lunch & Learn

On June 14th during London Tech Week, our exclusive London Lunch & Learn session explored some future technology trends and how they may impact upon scholarly publishing.

Our first Lunch & Learn event was created to how other sectors have handled significant change in their business models, take a look at current thinking around publishing technology from the user perspective, and present Forrester’s latest findings on the application of voice search and its potential impact for scholarly publishing.

Attended the event?

Miles McNamee, HighWire - Introductory Remarks

Miles McNamee, VP Global Sales at HighWire introduces a morning exploring digital disruption in scholarly publishing at IET – Savoy Place in London.

Kate Worlock, Outsell Inc. – Trust is the New Algorithm

Fewer and fewer people trust the information services they use in their day-to-day lives: according to Reuters, 49% of people don’t trust the news they read from the news sources they choose themselves. As disseminators and amplifiers of knowledge, the publishing community has a role to play on the front lines in the battle against fake news and misinformation.

Attendees heard from Kate Worlock of Outsell, Inc. on the importance of trust and transparency: “If transparency isn’t embedded in everything we do it can create breaches of trust”. For scholarly publishers, this means transparency in sources of funding, transparency in peer review and robust protections against predatory journals. We are a community that relies on rigour and accuracy, and we need to preserve the integrity of information across academic literature and grow trust in the right places.

View slides

Dr. Daniel Himmelstein, University of Pennsylvania – The future of scholarly publication: automated, transparent, and open

We heard from Dr Daniel Himmelstein, a data scientist at the University of Pennsylvania and lead developer at Manubot, the tool for open scholarly writing on GitHub. Our current systems of manuscript submission, acceptance and publishing don’t fit with how science and research are actually carried out. With huge swathes of time between submission and acceptance, acceptance and publishing, by the time journals are published the articles in them may already be out of date.

The monolithic nature of the journal also precludes collaboration and fluidity, and as Dr Himmelstein pointed out, “Science is a conversation”. If we want literature that is accurate and up-to-date, we need to change our approach. “Publishing needs to move beyond the PDF and start using formats that are structured and machine-readable”, in order to better enable both real-time updating and discoverability – discoverability which will also be a major precursor to enabling voice search.

View slides

Collin Colburn, Forrester – AI and IAs: New Report Update from Forrester

Forrester’s Collin Colburn presented the market analysis company’s latest research on voice search and intelligent assistants, concluding that the technology is in its infancy (with only 35% of questions answered correctly) and that the “jury is still out”. However, adoption rates are growing exponentially (33% of searches are now screenless), and the upcoming generation are by far the biggest users, so it would be no surprise to see this technology move into the scholarly arena.

This raises a variety of questions for scholarly publishers and researchers. According to Forrester’s research, not all voice assistants credit the source of information. How do we make content from our journals discoverable and attributable – especially if content is paywalled? How do we measure impact via voice search? How do users and researchers know that a piece of information is credible? Again, this comes back to Kate Worlock’s presentation on the importance of trust and transparency.

View slides

Mick Hegarty, GBG – The Art of Digital Disruption: Lessons Learned from Other Industries

Disruption is anything but new; it’s just hitting us faster. Mick Hegarty from identity data company GBG took us through some case studies in change from a number of sectors, and cautioned us to keep our eyes on the horizon. Organizations need to have “outside-in” mindset when it comes to change, and not get so bogged down in the day-to-day functioning of business that they lose sight of the wider landscape. We also need to be willing to embrace some level of risk: “everyone wants change, but no one wants to change”.

At the Nexus of Publishing and Technology: Panel Q&A

Our panel of futurists came together for a fascinating discussion around how the future of technology might shape scholarly publishing and the research process.

Miles McNamee, HighWire - Closing Remarks

Miles McNamee, VP Global Sales at HighWire ends with a call to arms and urges us to meet and embrace change to improve sustainability, promote accessibility and adapt to meet and exceed customer expectations.