Braving the Melbourne showers on Monday, November 14th, a collection of Australia’s leading academics, society executives, librarians, funding bodies and publishing professionals gathered in the State Library of Victoria for the 2016 Wiley Executive Seminar.
First held in 2011, the Melbourne seminar is part of Wiley’s global program of Executive Seminars held across the US, UK and Asia Pacific (learn more about those seminars here). This year’s event saw over 120 registered delegates keen to learn and connect through a day of information sharing, discussion and networking.
The theme of the day was ‘Research Publishing in Australia’, providing insights into the Australian research landscape, data and case studies about international collaboration, and an interactive media 'pitching' session. With some aspects of specific interest to an Australian audience, the broad agenda also balanced a range of global issues and trends affecting everyone in research publishing today.
The keynote presentation, delivered by Wiley President and CEO Mark Allin, set the tone of the event by discussing “connected science” as a solution for global challenges. “Technology not just for technology’s sake,” Mark stressed, but rather to facilitate collaboration across countries and disciplines, and to enable research to be conducted, accessed and communicated more effectively. Mark emphasized the role that publishers must play in this, by making strategic technological investment to advance our “shared enterprise.”
Kylie Emery, of the Australian Research Council, next provided a funder’s position on research publication. Despite being known to some as the ‘agency of disappointment’ due to the quantity of applications it rejects, the ARC funds approximately $800m of research annually. Again, the importance of collaboration and connectedness was pronounced: 60% of ARC-funded projects involve international collaboration and applications for ‘linkage grants’, which are awarded to projects where researchers partner with other sectors such as industry, and tend to have higher success rates than non-collaborative efforts.
Janette Burke, Director of Resources at Monash Library, followed with an overview of the ever-changing research landscape from the perspective of a university library. In this period of flux, changing expectations, and ‘organized turmoil’, Janette said, it is crucial for libraries, and librarians, to continuously adapt to best-serve their students and faculties. Harnessing technology is key to this, as is strategic data management, and educating students to make informed decisions about where and how to publish their work.
Melbourne-based Wiley Analysts Chen-Pin Chen and Claire Milton kept the audience engaged after lunch with the results of their investigation into recent trends in Australian research output. Did you know that over 80% of readership of Wiley’s Australian journals comes from overseas? Drawing on a range of data, Chen-Pin and Claire’s research found that there is a key factor driving impact growth for Australian research. You guessed it – collaboration! The Relative Citation Impact for Australian papers with an international collaborator was 1.75, compared to 0.91 without, while the level of international collaboration on Australian papers is also increasing year on year, over 50% in 2015.
A panel discussion about ‘What Does This Mean for You?’, then segued into a session on international collaboration in journals with a collection of case studies by editors. Sena De Silva of Reviews in Aquaculture explained how the journal, first published in 2009, has risen to the rank of second in its field worlwide. Xiaoming Feng shared some advice from the journal China and the World Economy, citing a clear vision and scope, partnership with an international publisher, and strong global links as key to the journal’s international success. Tom Kompas outlined three key vehicles for enabling international collaboration: a journal (in this case Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies), a learned society, and a strategic web presence.
An entertaining afternoon panel saw three game researchers pitching their work to journalists. Facilitated by Angus Morgan of the Burnet Institute, the objective was to gain a sense of how complex research might be received and diffused by a journalist. John Harris, Editor-in-Chief of ANZ Journal of Surgery, piqued the interest of Misha Ketchell of The Conversation with his quad bike research. Ross Williams of Australian Economic Review engaged with Toni Stevens from Science in Public about the lack of connection between universities and industry to drive Australian research and innovation. Then Gabrielle Belz from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research described white blood cell discoveries – thankfully both in layman’s terms as well as scientific. Much advice emerged from the subsequent discussion on how to most effectively engage an audience beyond academia. For tips and snippets from this session, check out #wileyseminarANZ on Twitter.
The day culminated with closing remarks from Deb Wyatt, Editorial Director for Wiley Australia and New Zealand. Deb extracted some key themes which captured the spirit of the day: globalization, collaboration and amplification, with people still at the heart of it all.
Image Credit: Rosie Duffy