The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) has a name that trips up people new to it. They often want to write or say the Society of Scholarly Publishing. But, no, it’s for. The organization has a mission that is about advancing the field and helping its members develop through education, collaboration, and networking. And it’s willing to stick its neck out to make it happen, through blogs like this, meetings, webinars, and other activities.

Society for Scholarly Publishing

It’s fairly standard and safe to say “I’ve had the honor of being President of SSP for the past year.” I sometimes recoil from clichés, but other times, you have to embrace them. What leads me to embrace this one is that the unique vantage point of the role of President allowed me to clearly see how unique and wonderful SSP is as an organization. The mission and members really set it apart. We don’t advocate for anything except “moving things forward.” We work hard for our fellow members, as most of the people working hard for SSP members are themselves SSP members.

When this is published, SSP will be starting the final day of its largest-ever Annual Meeting in Boston, with nearly 950 attendees and more vendors with more ideas than ever. The great Annual Meeting Program Committee deserves all the credit for this, and our management company (Kellen Company) will have herded all the cats, to be sure. The Committee Chairs, co-Chairs, Board Liaisons, Board Members, Executive Committee, and volunteers all did a fantastic job this past year, and there are many new initiatives percolating. I’ve been routinely amazed by the energy, dedication, and creativity of my fellow SSP members as they move us forward in myriad ways — social media, international outreach, educational programming, professional development for members, internal controls and processes, strategic thinking and planning, and more.

And, of course, I have to thank David Crotty and the Chefs of the Kitchen for taking over a year ago and keeping this little blog running in style.

As I hand the reins over to Howard Ratner of CHOR, Inc., who should already be President by the time you read this, I just wanted to thank everyone for making this year relatively easy and really enjoyable.

Thanks, my SSP friends and colleagues! It has been an honor.


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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


15 Thoughts on "Well, That Went Fast! A Few Last-Minute Reflections on a Year as President of SSP"

Echoing your sentiments, Kent, I send appreciative kudos to all the wonderfully active members whose work has positive impacts on SSP and the entire global community.
The leadership provided by the presidents (12 are with us at this meeting!) & boards over the years has been incredibly special … each group bringing to bear just what the Society needed at the time.
You continued that special leadership, Kent, and brought to bear just what SSP needed now!
Kudos on a job well done.

Thanks for your time and energy this past year. Indeed, we have moved forward. Well done.

Kent – You are a hard act to follow! Congratulations on setting the bar so high! I look forward to the challenge.

Howard, as I understand it, at the SSP Boston meeting it was announced that CHORUS and SHARE will collaborate on building a notification system. That is certainly a good start. Congratulations.

I’m not sure that’s an accurate characterization of things, though there is increasing communication and collaboration between SHARE and CHORUS. SHARE is building a notification system. CHORUS is working with SHARE on common standards and technologies for things like persistent identifiers and metrics. Howard is serving on one of SHARE’s technology working groups, and I think everyone is happy to see the two groups in communication and recognizing that we are offering additive services rather than competitive services. SHARE has a statement from their end here:

My mistake. I was hoping for actual collaboration. For example, how many funder taxonomies do we need? One should be enough. The funder identification problem is deep enough without competition.

As noted above, there is collaboration occurring to make sure the different systems use common elements wherever possible and by doing so, will be compatible and able to interconnect with one another.

Neither SHARE nor CHORUS is building a funder identification taxonomy, both projects intend to use existing infrastructure as much as is possible.

CHORUS statement that they will use FundRef:

SHARE statement that they will use FundRef:

So they are collaborating. But I would not call the FundRef taxonomy an existing infrastructure. It is very much a work in progress, with significant implementation challenges. Moreover it is being tested by CHORUS (and eventually SHARE) so developing and successfully implementing it will be a three way collaboration. Four way actually because the Feds will have their say when they finally launch their Public Access programs. I expect the agencies to develop new data requirements once they get going, in order to better assess the impact of their programs. So I think we are a long way from a final form.

I think it would be absurd to expect complex systems like this to emerge immediately complete and fully-formed like Athena from the head of Zeus. I know of no one in CHORUS, SHARE, the OSTP or any funding agency who expects this to be anything other than a process that will occur and improve over time. SHARE’s notification tool isn’t due out until late 2014 at the earliest and their other projects are further down the line for example.

You do have a tendency to sell FundRef short however. It piloted in 2012-2013, and in its first year has already vastly expanded its coverage of international funding agencies as well as greatly increasing its integration into major publishing platforms (with more on the immediate horizon).

Indeed, it is not clear to me that a controlled vocabulary taxonomic approach can work, given the huge number of people that have to use it correctly combined with the Byzantine structure of US R&D funding. As a minimum there should be a separate taxonomy for the US Public Access program. But a better solution might be for the Feds to simply change their grant numbering system so that the grant number contained the funder data they want. I envision the agencies wanting to assess impact at the RFP level, which a taxonomy can probably never capture.

A parallel story may help here. Back in the 1980s the US Navy tried to build an accounting system to unravel the flow of funds in the Navy labs. They spent 9 years and $450 million, then scrapped it because it did not work.

For what it’s worth, at the SSP meeting, the OSTP said that some of the larger agencies are considering building grant tracking systems around their grant numbers. But this is something an agency would have to build internally, not something someone else could do from the outside.

Good to know the Feds are finally thinking about this, as I have been writing about it for some time. Will that OSTP talk be on the Web? One thing CHORUS can do is to ask that its member publishers only allow authors to select the finest grained funding offices in the taxonomy. If coarser offices are allowed to be selected then it is impossible to aggregate articles for impact assessment of the finer grained offices. An extreme example would be if some authors merely select the Department of Energy, without saying which program and subprogram funded their work.

It has certainly been a pleasure working with you these past two years. Congratulations to you on leading us to new heights. You leave us strong in Howard’s capable hands.

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