#Futurepub – New Developments in Scientific Publishing

On Tuesday evening, we made our way to the NESTA offices in Chancery Lane for a discussion on the new developments in scientific publishing, organised by John Hammersley (WriteLaTeX) . The event consisted of six “microslot talks” of five minutes each from a great panel, with time for a few questions for each speaker.

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First up was Cheyne Tan from Blikbook who explained how his platform allows students who have questions and problems with research to ask each other and help each other out through an interactive platform. It started out in LBS and UCL and aims to improve content discovery and aids the universities in gleaning data from monitoring behaviour; how the data is shared between students and disseminated. The key point from Cheyne’s talk was the issue of “I don’t know what I don’t know” – this echoed through all five minute speaker slots and brought to the fore the issue of the lack of discovery avenues for those seeking information – how can they be led to unearth information that they never knew existed? In a society hungry for data, this is something that innovative science publishers are looking to address.

Joseph McArthur from Open Access Button took it from here and as well as filling us in on how Open Access Button works, he explained the importance they place on the stories that their users tell them of experiences, challenges and successes with their academic research. Everyone, from patients looking for information on their illnesses to academics probing for details and explanations, can use this platform and it is looking to grow and evolve even more.

Lou Woodley, Co-founder of MySciCareer, filled us in on what has been occupying her time during her current sabbatical – she is focussed on what preoccupies scientists; how can they keep up with all their papers and how can they secure grants? There is more of an interest now in talking about data. Career decisions is another big issue and MySciCareer records the personal narratives of what people have been through and the paths they have taken.

Richard Smith, Founder of Nowomics, stepped up to discuss how his platform helps life scientists to source research (a “twitter for genes”) and collates the information needed in one place through a twitter style feed. It searches for updates and publishes them and setting up an account is free. You can search by popularity and see what people are talking about and email alerts are also set up to further aid the discovery of more information.

Greg Tebbutt of Sparrho delivered an engaging microslot where he explained the purpose and work of Sparrho and how it came about for the same reasons mentioned above – you can search journals but this doesn’t help you find what you don’t know is out there! Again – the issue of “I don’t know what I don’t know”. On Sparrho, you can “love” posts that you like and get rid of what you don’t – Sparrho understands more about you by your activity and can consequently recommend better information and sources.

Cat Chimes, Head of Marketing for Altmetric, closed the evening’s event with an interesting overview of how they work. She opened with the line “Every researcher is a communicator” and went on to discuss the academic and societal impacts of research and how they are alternatives to metrics and do not replace the impact factor, they complement it. This is an article-centric approach, it searches blogs and articles to collate and deliver article-level metrics to journal publishers.

All six speakers gave excellent, informative and engaging accounts of their respective business models and it was refreshing to see how they are developing and improving user access to information in the scientific publishing arena. Even better was how they are keeping the stories and needs of the readers/researchers at the heart of it all – communication and interaction is key and with this in mind, there are so many more exciting developments and ideas to come! This linking of people’s stories to information is a nice way of connecting back to the roots of publishing; it is, after all, about story-telling.

 

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

Byte the Book – What are the Latest Innovations in Publishing Today?

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On Monday night we attended another fantastic Byte the Book at the Ivy Club in Soho. The hot topic of the evening was innovation and what it means to the changing face of publishing, and so we arrived eager to hear the brilliant panel’s thoughts on the elusive subject. With a slight change of line up, the panel consisted of Michael Baskhar (Digital Publisher – Profile Books), Theo Gray (Creative Director – Touch Press) and Sara O’Connor (Digital and Editorial Director – Hot Key Books) with Byte the Book founder Justine Solomons acting as chair for the event.

Justine kicked off the discussion by asking the panel to describe innovation in as few words as possible. Michael immediately expressed his suspicions of innovation as he finds the word has become clichéd in today’s digital climate. However, he did manage to come to a conclusion that in general innovation is something really new, really different and really useful. In sprightly opposition, Theo Gray only just having stepped off the plane eight hours before from the US, found innovation exhilarating. He explained that although innovation can be challenging, the lack of ability to predict the future is what makes it exciting. Sara joined Theo, to add that innovation doesn’t have to make money to be successful; it is as much about what you learn during the process as what you receive from the outcome.

What was perhaps most interesting from the discussion was the recurring theme that the way forward for the publishing industry is not so much based on product innovation but marketing innovation. For publishers, the need for innovation lies in marketing plans and brand management rather than innovating the content itself. Michael developed this idea explaining that the most important innovations are not the ideas but what you do with them. Theo expanded on this using Steve Jobs as an example; he didn’t invent the technology, he just made it better, and Theo recommends publishers do the same. Consequently, the resounding idea from the discussion was that the publishing industry needs to save its energy trying to come up with new innovative ideas for content, and should spend more time investing in the way they manage that content and market it to our audiences.

 

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

 

The Kim Scott Walwyn Prize 2014

Last night we attended the coveted Kim Scott Walwyn prize giving at the Free Word Centre in Farringdon where we joined some of the most influential people in the publishing industry to celebrate extraordinary women in publishing. The prize was established in memory of Kim Scott Walwyn, a ground-breaking Publishing Director at Oxford University Press who died in 2002 at only 45 years of age. The prize is aimed at young women who have achieved great things within publishing and have really added value and innovation to the publishing industry.

We heard from the Booktrust, The Society of Young Publishers and the Publishing Training Centre followed by a keynote speech from the incredible Victoria Barnsley, former CEO of HarperCollins. In her speech, Victoria reminded us that with increased recruitment from outside of the publishing industry, particularly from technology companies, that the industry’s progress on gaining that gender balance is slowing and has almost come to a complete halt. She highlighted three key points that publishers need to address to maintain the gender balance and to keep being successful. Firstly, companies need to be more gender diverse when it comes to their boards – there is proof that this makes a company more financially successful; secondly, businesses need to be more flexible and thirdly, they need to be less ageist; there is a huge pool of women over the age of 50 who want to get back into work who have great experience and ideas for the current publishing market.

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The shortlist was absolutely fantastic and the nominees were:

Melissa Cox – Children’s New Titles Buyer, Waterstones

Lynsey Dalladay – Community Manager, Penguin Random House

Sarah Hesketh – Freelance Project Manager & Events and Publications Manager, The Poetry Translation Centre

Hellie Ogden – Literary Agent, Janklow & Nesbit

Anne Perry – Editor, Hodder & Stoughton

Congratulations to the whole shortlist and particularly to Anne Perry, for winning the prize! Anne is such a wonderful example to us all of being innovative and really taking the lead on new initiatives, particularly through her championing of genre fiction. A fantastic example of this is The Kitschies, genre awards for speculative and fantasy fiction that she and her husband created. It was a particularly special moment as Anne’s mother, visiting from the USA, was able to attend and share in her daughter’s achievements – I’m not sure there were many dry eyes in the room at this point! It was a great evening and we are truly thankful to have been able to be a part of such an inspiring celebration of talented women in publishing.

AP KSW 2014Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter.

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An Inspired Round-Up of The Bookseller Industry Awards 2014

Last night’s Bookseller Industry Awards lived up to our expectations as an exciting and glamorous affair kick-started by Inspired Selection’s champagne reception overlooking Hyde Park. As sponsors of this part of the night, we were so happy to see the room filling up and the bubbling atmosphere of anticipation before the announcement of the winners later in the night. With a camera crew winding their way through the crowd picking out authors and key industry names to interview, the mood of the evening was set and there was a real sense of celebration and achievement.

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Onwards to the ballroom, where we wined and dined before the Awards began – Mariella Frostrup was an engaging and entertaining host who clearly loves the publishing industry and was just as happy to be there as we were to have her as the host. She regaled the crowd with an initial breakdown of the awards to come and then the winners were announced.

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Each and every winner was humbled by the recognition and first and foremost thanked their colleagues and the passionate teams they work with. Acceptance speeches were short but infused with gratitude and delight with a theme establishing itself early in the evening for people claiming that their job was the best job in the world! It was, without doubt, an event charged with a pride for the publishing industry and round after round of enthusiastic applause welcomed each winner to the stage.

It was a night for independent publishers, established and renowned houses, newcomers and old-timers alike and a smattering of non-traditional, digital input too. Bookshops and libraries were celebrated and it was really heartening to see both their resilience and response to the changes in the industry and perseverance to serve those out there who still want to race through a print edition on a Sunday afternoon!

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The BA Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Book Trade was awarded to Dame Gail Rebuck for her hard work on the Books Are My Bag campaign despite being tied up at the time with a huge merger. She delivered quite an emotional acceptance speech whereby she thanked all the bookshops who stocked the bags, the celebrities who helped out by carrying them and all the publishers who supported what can now be referred to as a “movement”. It succeeded in its goal – to promote books to a world that was (or is?) at risk of forgetting their importance. The Bookseller Special Award went to Pan Macmillan for being a loyal and consistently successful 15-year publishing partnership. Follow this link for a list of all the deserving winners of the night.

We had an amazing night and were really so proud to have our name associated with the event. Thank you to the Bookseller team and Nigel Roby for the credit to Inspired in his opening remarks. It is nights like these that solidify what a creative, forward-thinking yet deep-rooted industry we work in and how much there is to celebrate and to look forward to…

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See you there next year!

Here at Inspired Selection, we are passionate about the publishing industry; we talk about publishing, read about publishing and attend all major publishing events like the one you’ve just read about. We would love to meet you at events so do feel free to come up and introduce yourselves! If you’re interested in opportunities within publishing do keep in touch and register for our Vacancy Update Service as well as keeping up to date with us on Twitter

Countdown to Tonight’s Bookseller Awards….!

The Bookseller Industry Awards promises to be a glamorous and exciting event this evening! As sponsors of this year’s Awards, we are looking forward to attending and mingling with all the talented, passionate publishing professionals who will be there to support and celebrate this thriving industry. We hear so much about the changes and growth in the industry and this ceremony is a way of recognising and rewarding that.

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Mariella Frostrup, journalist and broadcaster, is to host the awards this year in which 127 shortlisted candidates will battle it out to win across 20 hotly contested categories. All are worthy winners; however the front runner shortlisted for 16 awards in total is Trade giant Hachette, facing fierce competition from rival Penguin Random House shortlisted for 14 awards. There will also be two non-shortlisted prizes awarded tonight—the BA Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Book Trade and the new Bookseller’s Special Award, the result of which will be eagerly awaited.

From us here at Inspired we wish all shortlisted candidates the best of luck, and we look forward to seeing you this evening!