And They Were There--Reports of Meetings

Sever Bordeianu
2016 Against the Grain  
APE is a distinctively European meeting now in year 11. Arnoud deKemp (once of Springer) is the highly-visible organiser and overall chair. It is his home ground and the location in and around the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt in Berlin Mitte is chosen carefully to showcase the city. The word "distinctively" is used because the origin of the event relates to the need felt by some senior Continental European publishers for a counterbalance to the increasingly Anglo-American dominance of STM
more » ... ce of STM publishing. There is now no overt rivalry between APE and the big STM meetings and indeed STM are major sponsors. At the start of the series there were more librarians among registrants and more smaller German publishers, both university presses and mainly German language commercial houses, than there are now and also more presentations on books: it made for a different mix. Now the agenda is essentially an international STM one but yet different because the big themes are different in Europe particularly in relation to the open agenda and especially open access and its progress. The number attending is always limited to about 200 because of the capacity of the splendid Leibnitz Hall of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and, as usual, there was a waiting list. The whole of the main conference was videoed and the video can be found at The main conference site is at There was a pre-conference on 18 January with a different attendance (about 80) and organisation, which was not videoed. For this report I am picking out a number of the main themes expressed in the sessions. These are transformation of the scholarly communication system, flipping the subscription model for journals to an open access one, open science, and principles of sharing at the higher policy level, and secondly a number of presentations on the mechanics of change including such topics as friction in the work flow, reputation mechanisms, and "digital plumbing." Then there were funders. There was a final panel on publication ethics. The pre-conference concentrated on the way that the digital revolution has impacted on the publishing business. Digital publishers need a different skillset than they did ten years ago. The organiser wrote: "The days of lifelong employability are behind us, and in order to make a living and add value to scholarly communication we, as people working in the industry, have to adapt." Librarians will share these sentiments from a library viewpoint. The speakers talked about so-called millennials. They do not want to be tied down to long-term employment and regular hours. They want a flatter hierarchy. Publishers want flexibility and new skills but I am not sure that the two needs (as described) actually match. One contributor challenged assumptions about millennials who are now early career researchers -a new research project is actually asking them about their attitudes -see harbingers.html.
doi:10.7771/2380-176x.7331 fatcat:s22sbgw5ofhlnnb6z4wpif2yoi