Reflecting on ALPSP Annual Conference 2023: A Business Development Perspective

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Reflecting on the ALPSP Annual Conference 2023: A Business Development Perspective
By Punit Dhandhania, Sales and Business Development Representative

I recently had the opportunity to attend the ALPSP (Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers) Annual Conference, which took place in Manchester, UK, from September 13th to 15th, 2023. As the Sales and Business Development Representative for GW & EdiPro, I wanted to share my insights and takeaways from this noteworthy event.

Strong Attendance and Global Reach

The event garnered substantial attendance, with more than 300 enthusiastic participants attending in person, and many more virtually. What struck me immediately was the significant increase in the number of attendees who chose to participate in person compared to the previous year. It’s an encouraging sign that people are regaining their confidence to travel in our post-COVID world. Attendees came from diverse corners of the globe, including New Zealand, China, and Chile, joined the ranks of our familiar attendees from the UK, USA, Europe, and India.

Rich Content and Varied Sessions

The conference agenda featured an impressive lineup of approximately 80 speakers across about 15 sessions, spread strategically over two half-days and a full day. Some sessions ran concurrently, offering everyone a diverse range of topics to attend. Our chosen venue, the Hilton Deansgate in Manchester, was an excellent choice, centrally located and easily accessible from an international airport and fast trains from London.

Technology and Remote Participation

A highlight of the conference was the seamless integration of remote speakers and attendees. The improved internet connectivity and robust platforms were a stark contrast to pre-COVID times.

Themes of Research Integrity and DEI

This year’s event placed a strong emphasis on Research Integrity and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion). I came across a term prevalent in the industry – “Paper Mill,” signifying the unethical publication of a large number of research papers. While the last ALPSP event I attended in 2018 touched on this topic, it was noteworthy that this time it was a central theme in nearly all sessions.

What stood out was the relatively limited attention given to Generative AI and LLMs (Large Language Models). There was just one session dedicated to this subject, and it was excellent, addressing government regulations and approaches to regulate issues related to GenAI tools.

Open Access and APC Charges

As expected, Open Access and APC charges (Article Publishing Charges) were recurring topics throughout the event. It’s intriguing to note that discussions on how to advance scholarly publishing toward greater Open Access and the potential roles of funding agencies and universities in achieving this goal continue to persist.

Recognizing Excellence

The conference also celebrated excellence through awards. Notably, Cassyni, a platform bridging academic conferences and scholarly publications, stood out as a compelling innovation. Despite being impressed by their work, it was disappointing to see them miss out on the award, especially considering that ALPSP presented two awards in each of the “IMPACT” and “INNOVATION” categories.

Balancing Business and Pleasure

The ALPSP event was well-organized and featured enjoyable activities. Kudos to the organizers for incorporating these engaging elements into the schedule.  In the evening of Day 1, I took part in a captivating hour-long walking tour of Manchester, led by a knowledgeable and humorous guide. It offered a fantastic opportunity to explore Manchester’s history. The evening of Day 2 featured the gala dinner followed by a customary quiz session where our table formed a strong team, and we had a great time participating. Despite my 36+ years in global publishing and numerous visits to the UK, my previous trips to Manchester had been limited to day visits for meetings, and I had never stayed overnight in the city. This time, I thoroughly relished the experience.

Looking Forward

As we look ahead to next year’s conference, I hope to see more sessions featuring live demonstrations of platforms and technologies, despite the inherent time constraints.

In closing, I extend my best wishes to all the new connections I made and the familiar faces I reconnected with.

Punit Dhandhania, Sales and Business Development Representative

Punit Dhandhania serves as the Sales and Business Development Representative for GW & EdiPro, bringing over 35 years of experience in content technology and business. With a strong dedication to connecting clients with tailored solutions across diverse sectors, Punit’s mission is to connect our clients with solutions that meet their unique needs and strategic objectives.