Frankfurt Conference 2013
STM Publishing: Continuity in Transition – Resilience and Reinvention

Event Report

Paula Gantz Publishing Consultancy

This year’s International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers annual conference at the Westin Grand Hotel Frankfurt on Tuesday, October 8, covered a range of topics with one common underlying theme: open access. As open access mandates loom strong on the STM horizon, industry representatives spoke about initiatives that might be integrated into viable business models for STM publishing. They also addressed the need for an improved public image for the industry and better communication with key government bodies.

Imploring publishers to use Tarzan economics to swing to the new vine, Jim Griffin of OneHouse delivered the keynote speech.

“Digitization’s effects come first to the edge, not to the center. The fringe will redefine the center. In fact, we see this is precisely what is happening. New technologies bring you something new completely. The enabling is found on new art and bringing old art back to life. We are hearing more new artists, unusual artists and old artists,” Griffin, a consultant to the music industry, stated.

The future is far more actuarial than actual, Griffin stressed. “It is far more about sharing the revenue and a fair way of dividing it up. It is not about controlling it. While we love copyright, it is really copyrisk,” he stated, “because we lack the technology or will to enforce it. We must turn to actuarial models to enforce it. We need more robust registries of content.”

“Rights unenumerated is rights unprotected,” Griffin stated. “We spend much more time looking for the next piece of content, than for enumerating what we have.” He also claimed that registry services can be profitable, and suggested that this market should not be left to Google alone.

Griffin claimed that progress that happens with media technology is almost always about democratization and is also connected to piracy. “Gutenberg, who was the most important media technologist to exist prior to today, was a pirate. He noticed that the Pope was selling indulgencies through scribes. He said, why not impress it as books and then sell the books.”

Griffin also pointed to two other significant trends. The first he termed the transition from Channel We to Channel Me; people turn to the channel that presents similar facts to theirs. “We have lost a community megaphone.”

The second trend is rooted in Marshall McLuhan’s media is the message concept.”We are moving from product to service. It’s not just that the container changes, the content inside the container changes too.”

 As a result of these shifts, Griffin urged the audience to think more feminine than masculine. “Starting a relationship and maintaining it is much more important than moving from one to another. We need to cherish a relationship.”

Jayne Marks, the new Chair of the STM Association, introduced a discussion of free access to content by describing Patient Access, an initiative to make research articles available to patients. Twelve health organizations are now involved. The service provides free or low cost access to original articles, and has been developed by the Copyright Clearance Center using their RightsLink system.

Marks explained that participating publishers will put a link on their site. The patient then links to the Patient Access site and registers. Publishers are charged a fee by this system; it is their choice whether or not to pass some or all of this cost on to the patient.

Four publishers are now live on Patient Access: the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Sage, the American Association for Cancer Research and Wiley. Elsevier and Wolters Kluwer are joining soon. A full launch is scheduled for next year. Publishers are realizing usage, but it is too early to tell if there is any cannibalization of business, Marks claimed.

Two initiatives inresponse to mandates for open access to government-funded research articles were presented by John Vaughan, executive vice president of the Association of American Universities, and Howard Ratner, director of development for CHORUS.

SHARE (Shared Access Research Ecosystem) is the university response to the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy’s (OSTP) public access policy, Vaughan explained. Other sponsors of SHARE are the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American University Presses and the Association of Public and Land-grand Universities. SHARE is a cross-institutional network of digital repositories and enables university researchers to submit research articles to federal agency-designated repositories.

Vaughan explained that currently there are multiple requirements from multiple agencies. Forty-two percent of faculty research time is allocated to administrative tasks. Twenty-three steps and several emails are required to submit manuscripts to PubMed.

“SHARE is a collaborative project engaging university, research, technology, intellectual property and publishing communities,” Vaughan said. “It needs to be a global effort.” He acknowledged that there has been a troubled history of university/publisher interactions in scholarly publishing. “There is still a lack of trust, despite the fact that there are shared interests and goals.” He noted that SHARE and CHORUS have met to find common ground, and have agreed to work jointly on persistent identifiers and metrics.

Ratner described CHORUS (Clearinghouse for the Open Research of the United States), a publisher initiative to comply with the OSTP open access policy. CHORUS is a system which utilizes metadata deposited with CrossRef to facilitate access to government-mandated open access research. The user can use the CHORUS website, a university or government website or a third party website to access the database, which will then link to the research article on the publisher website. Long term preservation will be provided by Portico and CLOCKSS.

A pilot study, involving the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, NASA, Wellcome Trust and seven publishers has been completed. The DOE site is live: Some agencies want to create their own API using the CHORUS database and link-outs to the publisher, Ratner reported.

Ratner encourage publishers to become signatories to the CHORUS initiation. He also explained that they need to be a member of CrossRef and FundRef. Actual membership in CHORUS will be discussed in 2014.

Five communications specialists, including three from major global publishers: Grace Baynes from Nature, Tom Reller from Elsevier, Helen Bray from Wiley; Matt McKay from STM Association and Alexandra Durnford from Regester Larkin discussed the urgent need to communicate given the ever more complicated media landscape.  Two common themes were the shift to social from a more traditional way of communicating and the need for reputation management.

Baynes opened the discussion by stressing that conversation is the important word. “We need to be talking more, but also do a lot more listening. “If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear,” she posited.

Durnford explained that Regester Larkin works a lot with organizations that have already been threatened, but it is important to start engaging before something goes horribly wrong. Reputation is your most important asset, she stressed.

“Reputation isn’t yours to own. You are given it by your stakeholders. Managing it, protecting it, guiding it is tricky. Reputations can be developed over decades and lost in a minute. You need to know who your stakeholders are. Creating a dialogue is about listening to what your stakeholders expect from you. Reputation is really about perception. If you can’t communicate the reputation, then you are failing. It is all about perception,” she warned.

Durnford cautioned that the media is not your audience, but a conduit. She also pointed out that social media has expanded the pool of stakeholders. You need to communicate widely, early, often, intelligently and sensitively, she noted.

Reller pointed out that social media has changed his job. “I still do press releases, but now I mostly do Elsevier Connect to connect with the research community.” Elsevier Connect was launched as result of the academic boycott against Elsevier, according to Reller.

Since Elsevier wants all its employees to be communicating all the time with real stories, the company intranet has content that employees can share externally. Reller sees China and Latin America as areas where expansion is needed in communication efforts.

Bray introduced the concept of open science which is comprised of open access and open communication. It is discussion, collaboration and idea-generation. Wiley, like Elsevier, has introduced a social media program known as Wiley Exchanges which “uses conversation to spark change.”

While Reller suggested that there needs to have more a cohesive message throughout the industry, Bray stated that the shared goal of conversation is important, but publishers should not all have the exact same message.

Bray mentioned that Wiley has just now started measuring the effect of what they are doing. Reller pointed out that Elsevier measures the effect based on the number of people who are reading the message.

Closing the day was a conversation between Michael Mabe of the STM Association and Wiley Blackwell’s Bob Campbell. Campbell, whose father was an ornithologist, grew up outside Oxford on a farm with no electricity till he was 13. He was influenced by an uncle who was a biologist and also had relatives who were in publishing. He developed new journals early on at Blackwell, adding titles because he saw electronic publishing coming, he said.

Campbell pointed to two of the first joint initiatives that unified STM publishers: CrossRef and Research for Life. “We got everyone around a table. STM was certainly there for CrossRef.”

But Campbell noted that the STM industry was totally unprepared for the House of Commons’ open access initiative in 2004. “We originally thought that the inquiries were just that: inquiries. Not what it really was,” he said. “We started PRC Research to prepare all the trade associations. We didn’t know MPs and senior civil servants. But by the time the open access initiative came to the House, we had talked to all sorts of MPs.”

Campbell urged publishers to encourage a younger generation into STM publishing. He believes there are not enough new journals, pointing out that open access journals break even in one year, unlike traditional journals that take seven or eight years.

He also encouraged publishers to partner with societies to help in lobbying efforts, and believes that as long as peer-review is the accepted method for evaluating science, the STM business will remain viable. “Herd review on the internet has not taken over yet,” he pointed out.

Campbell has set up a conservation trust and has been getting a lot of contributions, he says. He is also setting up a forest school.




STM’s Annual Frankfurt Conference has established itself as the ‘must-attend’ event prior to the Book Fair. Attracting the leading figures from across scholarly and professional publishing, STM’s event provides a program focused on strategic thinking, public policy, business models and key drivers shaping the future of the STM industry.

A not-to-be-missed event for publishing managers, executives and industry leaders, the Frankfurt conference is an unrivalled networking opportunity, which attracts international attendees from all sizes of publishing organizations.




Registration, Continental Breakfast & Networking



Welcome & Opening
STM Board Chair


Keynote: Jim Griffin, Managing Director, OneHouse LLC

Jim has been dedicated to the future of music and entertainment delivery, and works as a consultant to absorb uncertainty about the digital delivery of art. Jim has worked in scholarly research with Mendeley and was a recent keynote at the 2012 Digital Minds conference kicking off the London Book Fair.


Refreshment Break & Networking


patientACCESS Update
Jayne Marks, Vice President, Publishing, LWW Journals at Wolters Kluwer Health


Shifting the Conversation – Reputation + Engagement

Grace Baynes, Nature Publishing Group

Alexandra Durnford, Regester Larkin

Tom Reller, Elsevier

Helen Bray, Wiley

Matt McKay, STM Association




Public access: policies, implementation, developments and the future of US published research
Susan King, Senior Vice President, Journals Publishing Group, American Chemical Society and member of the CHORUS Steering Committee
Howard Ratner, Director of Development, CHORUS
John Vaughn, Executive Vice President, Association of American Universities


Refreshment Break & Networking


"Where have we been? Where are we going? - A conversation with 

Bob Campbell
Michael Mabe, STM CEO and Bob discuss the ideas, people, changes and innovations which have helped shape scholarly publishing


Close for Non-Members


Members only Forum

Update on issues critical to academic & professional publishers

17:00 – 18:30

Members only drinks and networking


Some comments from the STM 2012 Frankfurt conference:

“Good keynote, good networking, good energy”

“I felt it was a useful and valuable day”

“A very interesting conference”

“As a package, a good day”

“Overall theme good, networking excellent”


Visit STM in Hall 4.2, Stand N96 at the Frankfurt Book Fair

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