First a bit of housekeeping — we will be off Monday for the US Memorial Day holiday, regular posts to resume on Tuesday.

While I feel a bit embarrassed to complain, knowing how privileged I have been in these incredibly difficult times, reading Michael Clarke’s recent post on the likelihood that there will be no large, in-person gatherings until at least late 2021, really hit home for me in realizing how much I’m grieving over the lost ability to roam the world and visit with friends and colleagues.

This week is going to be particularly tough, as it would have seen us all gathering in Boston for the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s (SSP’s) Annual Meeting. Throughout my career, there’s always been one annual meeting that felt like “home”; one meeting that felt like a reunion with my professional family; one meeting that felt special and different from the many others I attend. In my scientist days, this was the Society for Developmental Biology’s annual meeting, and as a publisher, it is the SSP’s. This is the meeting where I learn more and meet more people than any other.

On a personal note, the SSP Meeting almost always falls on my birthday, and while it’s nice to actually be home to celebrate it for the first time in a decade, it seems a break with tradition to be spending the day with my real family rather than my professional family.

I know SSP leadership is working on new ways to build distance connections and get Annual Meeting content out to the community, so stay tuned for more as that develops. In the meantime, let’s all look forward to better days when we can be together again.

All of which brings to mind one of my favorite songs below, Bonnie Raitt’s “Sweet and Shiny Eyes” — “In my sweet dreams, we are, in a bar and it’s my birthday…” (and yes, that is Tom Waits singing backup if you were wondering). Cheers to you all.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is a Senior Consultant at Clarke & Esposito, a boutique management consulting firm focused on strategic issues related to professional and academic publishing and information services. Previously, David was the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He oversaw journal policy across OUP’s journals program, drove technological innovation, and served as an information officer. David acquired and managed a suite of research society-owned journals with OUP, and before that was the Executive Editor for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, where he created and edited new science books and journals, along with serving as a journal Editor-in-Chief. He has served on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc., as well as The AAP-PSP Executive Council. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.


6 Thoughts on "A Tough Upcoming Week Without the SSP Annual Meeting"

My feelings exactly. I am really missing my professional network. It seems everywhere I turn I see a reminder of not traveling to the Annual Meeting right now. There are people I consider good friends who I only see once or twice a year at meetings and it’s hard not to feel sad about missing out on that. And, I think it’s perfectly fine (and not embarrassing) to mourn a little for these losses. We are fortunate to have health, jobs, and ways to connect virtually, but that doesn’t mean we can’t be sad every now and then.

In the meantime, I hope people think about those they typically see at meetings and conferences and reach out to them this week. Maybe invite a few people for a drink over Zoom just to connect. Be the one to initiate it and I promise it will be worth it. Be well!

The American Genetic Association meeting was scheduled for the end of May, and I feel exactly the same. This is my home meeting, and it is always a grand emulsion of science and bonhomie. We are still hoping for a redo in November. The other meeting I am truly going to miss is Oxford’s Journals Day, including the animated after-hours bar talk with folks like Alison Denby and David Crotty.

And that’s a poignant and apropos Bonnie Raitt song.

Thanks for sharing this, David. I felt really sad yesterday (Friday) and I couldn’t quite work out why – as you say, compared with most people we are in a super privileged position. I finally worked out it’s because I saw I my diary ‘Flight from London to Boston’ scheduled for the next day. I was so looking forward to everything about the meeting this year – is he panels looked great, I was excited to spend time with some great people (old and new) and we were all set for our panel discussion about disability in the publishing industry. What’s left is a black hole of…nothingness. I know it’s the same for everybody, but it definitely helps to know I’m not on my own with these feelings. Thanks, David, and Happy Bitthday!

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