Editor’s Note: Today’s post is by Cason Lynley and Yael Fitzpatrick, Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Meeting Program Committee Co-Chairs

The SSP Annual Meeting Program Committee is currently accepting concurrent session proposals for the 42nd Annual Meeting, being held next May 27–29 in Boston. The deadline for concurrent proposals is next Friday the 15th, just one week away! We are hoping for a flood of great submissions this year to reflect the meeting theme: “Rethink, Reimagine, & Revolutionize the Future of Scholarly Communication.” Whether you have submitted a proposal in the past or are new to the process, we want to hear from you! You will find detailed submission guidelines here and the submission site here.

If you haven’t put a panel proposal together before, this video — by SSP Marketing & Communications Committee Co-Chair Josh Lancette, featuring Duke University Press’s Allison Belan — addresses some questions about how to prepare a strong proposal.

We also want to share some additional thoughts about what makes for a compelling proposal.

  • A desire for more interactivity in the sessions is often requested through our annual meeting survey. The Annual Meeting Program Committee pays close attention to such requests so proposals that offer ways to include the audience in the panel discussions stand out during the selection process.
  • Diverse Representation. We also encourage proposals that include diverse representation in session speakers — do you have people from larger and smaller organizations? For-profit and nonprofit? For publishers covering different subject areas, how are the challenges different (or the same) by discipline? Are there people of different genders, race, or geographical location who could speak to your subject?
  • Timeliness and Freshness. Topic timeliness is also considered as well as whether a proposal tackles something new and original or offers a fresh perspective on a familiar problem or idea. Attendees want to come away with information and ideas that they can apply in their own work.

Also, if there are topics or areas of publishing on which you want to see more panels, this is your chance to help shape the conference! Submit a proposal in that area and encourage colleagues to do the same. The conference content is formed from the panel proposals — so your proposals become the sessions you attend.

Please keep in mind, you do not need a full line-up of confirmed speakers to submit a proposal! The Annual Meeting Program Committee can serve as a great resource in helping identify and secure speakers once a panel is selected.

There are a number of different session types at the Annual Meeting. Here’s a quick rundown to help you select which type (or types) you might be interested in:

Concurrent sessions, held on May 28 and 29, are 60 minutes or longer in length. Concurrent sessions are designed for multiple speakers to present a specific topic that will benefit SSP attendees. Successful proposals will include concrete plans for interactivity, the inclusion of new voices, a diverse panel (with respect to gender, race, background, organization type, subject area), and clear learning objectives for the audience.

Sponsored sessions, held on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 27, are 45 minutes in length. These sessions offer value by means of education, information, or professional development to attendees. Organizers may share information about a product or service, but sessions will be most effective if they present case studies/use cases, customer testimonials, timely information about industry issues, best practices, innovative solutions to everyday challenges, roundtable discussions, etc. Sponsors may choose whether attendance is free to all meeting attendees, or by invitation only.

Preview sessions are back-to-back, five-minute-long presentations given during a plenary on Friday morning, May 29. Previews showcase new products, platforms, and/or content from publishers and vendors. Preview session submissions will be accepted at a later date. Keep an eye out for an announcement from SSP.

Posters presentations: In the tradition of academic conferences, SSP is introducing posters for the 2020 Annual Meeting. Posters provide an avenue to share additional content with attendees, and can even lead to more in-depth and interactive exchanges of information than is possible in concurrent sessions. Posters can be a natural medium for content that may not be right for a concurrent session, whether due to narrow focus or competition for concurrent slots. They can also be a great option for people who may be too shy to present to a room full of people in a concurrent session. Keep an eye out for an announcement from SSP with additional information.

This year we are handling pre-meeting seminars a bit differently than we have in the past; they are being developed outside of the submission process. We are excited about that programming, and look forward to sharing more details soon.

The SSP Annual Meeting is always a highlight of the year. The strong submissions we receive to shape the program are the key reason why it is a success. We hope you’ll be part of that this year!