I attended UKSG in Glasgow this week, my first professional rather than strictly academic conference. UKSG is a huge event, attended by all sorts of people who work with academic serials and scholarly publishing, and there was plenty of opportunity to meet other service providers and publishers, as well as librarians from around Europe. It was clearly a great opportunity for the library community to share knowledge and best practices, and to showcase their institution’s projects and innovations. I found myself in more familiar territory with the keynotes, with their more theoretical concerns about academic reward systems, digital innovation and the ethics of open access. I particularly enjoyed Geoff Bilder’s talk, which took a polemic postion to argue that the conference topics — open access, data metrics, reproducibility– were straw men that distract from a much deeper problem. Pointing to the issue of how ‘publish or perish’ distorts the scholarly communications ecosystem, he talked us through data that showed the difference in number between ‘first time authors’ and ‘repeat authors’, data which suggests that around 80% of academics author one article and then cease to produce more, and data which showed the number of qualified researchers who leave academia to pursue careers elsewhere (apparently only a shocking 0.45% remain in the sector in a permanent post over the course of their career). Other highlights were the sessions on Humanities attitudes to open access and altmetrics.
Recordings of all the talks can be found here.