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In Case You Missed It: The ISMTE 2016 North American Conference

The ISMTE 2016 North American Conference recently completed its 10th annual meeting August 11-12 in Philadelphia, PA. Although a relatively young society, the International Society for Managing and Technical Editors, ISMTE, has seen remarkable growth in membership, now totaling nearly 900 worldwide. Likewise the annual conference has matured into a solid program merging practical editorial office operations with hands-on workshops and professional industry perspectives. ISMTE also publishes a well-regarded monthly news magazine, Editorial Office News, or EON. So in case you were not able to attend, here are a few key takeaways from the conference.

New logo, new goal.
ISMTE Logo ISMTE has long been the source for networking, education, and training in the best practices of the editorial office. Now in its tenth year, ISMTE unveiled a new logo and goal to expand its role as a resource for the managing and technical editing community. By joining ISMTE, you have the resources to reach out to other like-minded professionals to keep you productive and engaged.

Speculation pointed to a huge chunk of journals ceasing publication within a decade.
Keynote speaker John Bohanon launched the meeting with a provocative discussion of journal publishing in the post Sci-Hub world. How will we access academic research like iTunes for articles or subscription streaming services? What about underwriting OA with advertising? Some bold predictions including the observation that of roughly 20,000 published journals the lower half of those journals will cease to exist in a decade turned more than a couple heads in the audience. A Q&A at the end of the session offered several perspectives on how the cost of peer-review contributes to a publisher’s bottom line.

ISMTE’s Learning Environment – peer review workshops, MS Word tips, image forensics…
True to its mission, the ISMTE conference also features practical workshops for all major peer review system including ScholarOne, eJournal Press, Aries Systems and Elsevier EVISE. In what has become a staple of the conference, ISMTE hosted a class on mastering MS Word – advanced tips and tricks for users – while other workshops focused on detecting misconduct in article images and improving your instructions for authors.

Online security is a hot topic.
In what may be a first among the “usual suspects” of scholarly publishing conferences, “Online Security Risks in Academic Publishing” addressed the immediate and growing concerns of online security. Representatives from Aries Systems and HighWire press gave us a “behind the curtains” view of what steps (and there’s a lot of them) they take to keep authors, editors and publishers’ content secure.

It’s all about perspective – the editorial office vs. the production office.
Looking out the window of the editorial office, the Production Best Practices session offered insight into the journal production offices. While on the surface the two offices may appear similar, they are distinctly different in the scholarly publishing world. Production Best Practices focused on what editors can do to make both offices run more efficiently. “What's one thing that you wish your Production Office knew/understood about the Editorial process that would make for a more efficient workflow?” - There were lots of suggestions.

What the STM Heavyweights had to say…
The conference also featured a number of publishing industry heavyweights who were kind enough to share their time and expertise. David Crotty gave us a witty and insightful scholarly publishing news roundup taking us “Around Our World in 30 Minutes”. Industry consultants Kathey Alexander and Joe Esposito built contrasting cases on the current and future “Business of Publishing”, and Howard Ratner closed the meeting with a thoughtful plenary session.

Small enough to connect; weighty enough to network.
There were 234 attendees this year – the most ever, but this conference still retains a very intimate feel. It’s not a stuffy conference and everyone’s approachable. There’s lots of conversation and learning going on and it’s fun too – does that sound like networking or what?

So if you’ve read this with interest and did not attend the North American Conference this year, you still have a few more chances. Future conferences include the ISMTE 2016 European Conference held in Brussels, BE October 31 – November 1, and the second annual Asian-Pacific Conference will be held in March 27 – 28, 2017 in Beijing, China. The next North American meeting is August 10 – 11, 2017 in Denver, CO. Mark your calendar!



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