5 Steps Ahead in Open Research: Notes from Our Melbourne Research Seminar

February 25, 2019 Gabby Oberman

In November 2018, over 100 society executives, librarians, journal editors, researchers, and Wiley colleagues gathered for one of our favorite annual events, the Melbourne Research Seminar. Together, we discussed five current big issues in research publishing under the theme Fast Forward: Research Communications and Publishing in an Age of Disruption:

  1. Planning now for the (unknown) future
  2. The opportunities and challenges in the evolving Open Research landscape
  3. The changing business models of Open Access
  4. Remaining relevant as a society and adapting to your members’ needs
  5. Embracing gender diversity in research

"How Are You Preparing Now for What’s Next?”

Michael McQueen, an Australian futurist, author, and award-winning speaker, opened the day with this thought-provoking question. Michael’s creative ideas for how we can prepare for that as-yet-unknown future left us in awe, if not a little apprehensive, and got everyone talking with one of his favorite inspirations for how to think about change:

Dig the well before you get thirsty.

’The best time to reform business is when business is good’

Hiroshi Okuda. Toyota chairman 1999-2006

Open Science: Beyond the Business Models 

Nick Talley, Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Journal of Australia and Australia’s most-cited researcher, kicked off the main program with a discussion about some of the big changes in store for journals and academic publishing. According to Nick, the biggest challenges include the rise of predatory journals and the disruptive effects of Open Access. He challenged us all to question the ongoing value of journals.

David Tovey, Editor-in-Chief of Cochrane Library, shared his Strategy to 2020, The Cochrane Library’s answer to global demand for better data dissemination and access to support the trend toward personalized healthcare. David argued that we’ve made real strides in content dissemination (e.g. better marketing, not just ‘throwing the PDFs off a cliff and hoping for the best’) and he explained how hard Cochrane works to ‘liberate the data’ and grow the access, reach and impact of its content.

The conversation really heated up in a ‘behind the scenes’ open science panel, moderated by Simon Goudie (Senior Journal Publishing Manager, Wiley), where Nick and David were joined by Davina Ghersi (Senior Principal Research Scientist Research Translation, NHMRC) and Justin Withers (Director of Policy and Integrity Australian Research Council) who spoke about the policies that may need to change to support open research. Natasha Simons (Associate Director, Skilled Workforce Australian Research Data Commons) spoke about the importance of data and DOIs, and Anne Harvey (Managing Director Asia Pacific, Digital Science) discussed metrics and accountability. The provocative conversation focused on the ethics of sharing data, particularly from vulnerable populations, as well as the potential for open research to help uncover scientific fraud or misconduct.

How Will the Open Access Business Model Affect Your Organization?

For many society publishers, OA2020 and Plan S have put Open Access and changing funding requirements in the spotlight. To explore the issues, Garry Cannon, Wiley’s Sales Manager for Australia and New Zealand, moderated a lively panel on Open Access business models. Simon Beale (SVP, Research Customer & Revenue, Wiley), Roxanne Missingham (University Librarian, Australian National University), Frances O'Neill (Associate Librarian, Scholarly Information Services, Victoria University) and Justin Withers (ARC) discussed the variety of OA business models in different parts of the world.  Our panelists agreed that we must work together with researchers on the common goal of improving research outputs, including in the humanities and social sciences, where funding and ability to pay for APCs may be different. Constant change in the world of OA means that business partners need to stay in close communication, and this session was a great example of how to put that into action.

How Will Societies and Associations Stay Relevant and Keep Members Happy in an Increasingly Digital World?

Julia Ballard (Senior Marketing Manager, Asia-Pacific, Wiley), moderated a panel exploring how professional societies and associations need to adapt to a digital future. Lyn Goodear (CEO and Managing Director of the Australian HR Institute), Lyndal Macpherson (CEO of the Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine), Emma Livingstone (PhD Candidate, Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland), and Dr Gary Veale (Founder of Geri and The Nature of) discussed what societies need to do to stay fresh, especially with millennials. According to our panelists, it’s two things: advocacy, and connectedness. Societies need to advocate for research externally on behalf of the profession, academics, and student members in order to impact practice and policy at the government, institutional, and public levels. Internally they must provide clear paths to learning and networking opportunities in order to keep and attract members.

How Is Your Organization Working to Increase Diversity?

Empowering all young researchers and improving the inclusion and visibility of women, especially from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds, is essential to ensure a fair, holistic and vibrant research community. Marguerite Evans-Galea (CEO of Women in STEMM Australia), described how we can change practices in STEMM so that more women can lead and excel, and pointed toward some inspiring initiatives already underway in Australia. Madhu Bhaskaran (Associate Dean of Higher Degrees by Research, School of Engineering at RMIT and winner of the 2018 APEC ASPIRE Prize), talked about her personal experience and shared some of the strategies she has used in building her own career.

What’s Next?

Given how much the world of scholarly publishing is changing, Bill Deluise (Vice President, Wiley Partner Marketing) reaffirmed how Wiley provides publishing partners with dedicated counsel and specialist expertise to make the most of exciting changes in technology. He also stressed how faster and more open forms of research communication are encouraging researchers across the globe to better collaborate with each other. This is good news for advancing knowledge and research discovery!

So, while there’s a lot on the horizon, Deb Wyatt (Vice President, Wiley Asia-Pacific, Society Publishing) assured us that even though “the pace of change can feel daunting…together, we’re designing a new future.”

Follow the conversation from the day using #wileyseminarANZ and you can find our speakers on Twitter:

Michael McQueen, @michael_mcqueen
Nick Talley, @MJA_Editor
Davina Ghersi, @nhmrc
Natasha Simons, @n_simons
Roxanne Missingham, @rmissingham
Lyn Goodear, @LynGoodear
Lyndal Macpherson, @asumultrasound
Emma Livingstone, @EK_Livingstone
Marguerite Evans-Galea, @MVEG001
Madhu Bhaskaran, @madhu_bhaskaran
Bill Deluise, @wdeluise
Deb Wyatt, @dwyatt_deborah

What topics would you like to learn more about in 2019? Drop us a note at auswileyforum@wiley.com.

For more information, including updates about the 2019 event, visit the seminar website.

About the Author

Gabby Oberman

Marketing Coordinator, Wiley //

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