Charleston Trendspotting Initiative: Forecasting Changes on the Horizon of Scholarly Communication

by | May 16, 2019 | 1 comment

by Nicola Poser, Managing Director, RedLink

As part of the 41st Annual Meeting, the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) will offer a pre-meeting seminar, hosted by Against the Grain (ATG) and the Charleston Conference entitled, Charleston Trendspotting Initiative: Forecasting Changes on the Horizon of Scholarly Communication, on Wednesday, May 29, 2019 at 8:30 AM PST.

What trends, issues, and external pressures should we focus on in the near future? How can we evaluate possible solutions and strategies for these issues? How can we meet these challenges together? The Charleston Trendspotting Initiative is a community-engaged process for collaboratively exploring social, policy, economic, technology, and educational trends and forecasting their impacts on scholarly communication, publishing, and academic libraries.

This pre-meeting seminar will open with a trend development activity designed to engage attendees in identifying critical and emerging issues impacting the scholarly communication ecosystem. Next, the group will compare and contrast these trends and issues to a list generated in a similar session at the 2018 Charleston Conference to examine the similarities and differences. Join us for robust discussion and feedback on these topics designed to continue shaping and deepening our understanding. Help us focus on the future of our industry and the changes that will affect us.

Moderator: Leah Hinds, Executive Director, Charleston Library Conference, @chsconf


  • Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, Professor/Coordinator for Information Literacy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, @lisalibrarian
  • Heather Staines, Head of Partnerships, MIT Knowledge Futures Group, @heatherstaines


  • Danielle Cooper, Senior Qualitative Researcher, Ithaka S+R
  • Jennifer Maurer, Library Sales Manager, Cambridge University Press
  • Courtney McAllister, Electronic Resources Librarian, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale University
  • Jason Price, Director of Licensing Operations, SCELC Library Consortium
  • Nicola Poser, Managing Director, RedLink
  • Christine Wolff-Eisenberg, Manager, Surveys and Research, Ithaka S+R

Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Heather Staines were kind enough to answer some questions about the event:

Who is the intended audience for this seminar and why should they attend?

We have designed this session in the hope that it will appeal to a variety of folks: librarians, vendors who work with libraries, publishers, and consultants. As the description notes, the idea for this session grew out of an event that recently started at the Charleston Library Conference. We wanted to bring together people with broad and varying experience in the scholarly communications space and get them to share their impressions of topics, issues, and forces that they see affecting activities that range from teaching and learning, information curation, research and publishing, content and data management and beyond. Regardless of the role that you play in your “day job,” we want participants to share their ideas and observations. Whether you are early in your career, new to the industry, or and old hand, your input will make the session more informative for everyone involved.

Why do you think this topic/these topics is/are important and timely?

Scholarly communications and the research lifecycle are seeing lots of changes from new technology, funder mandates, questions around reproducibility, industry consolidation, privacy concerns and more, but daily activities continue apace. This session will enable participants to take a step back and view our space from different perspectives, to learn from others, to connect more dots, etc. With everything happening around us so quickly, let’s tap into the collective wisdom and keen eyes of other trendspotters.

What do the selected speakers bring to the discussion?

This pre-conference is all about interactivity, so the most important speakers are the ones who sign up to attend. We will be working with a variety of scenarios and futuring techniques as well as drawing on perspectives from the 2018 Charleston Conference. Trends identified will shift in accordance with attendee interests and experiences, as well as current industry developments. To coordinate the small group discussions, we’ve assembled a variety of facilitators, including librarians (Jason Price from SCELC and Courtney McAllister from Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale University), vendors and publishers who work closely with authors, researches, libraries, and each other (Jennifer Maurer, Cambridge University Press and Nicola Poser, Redlink), and researchers from Ithaka S+R (Danielle Cooper and Christine Wolff-Eisenberg).

 What do you hope attendees will take away from the session?

We hope that all who attend will leave with new perspectives and new ideas about the forces that shape our space, including practical responses from other stakeholders. In particular, that we might focus more on creating preferred futures rather than feeling like the future is happening to them. Perhaps, attendees will share their insights with others at their organizations to expand the trendspotting network. At the Charleston Conference, the act of sharing the identified trends with larger groups inspired some to contribute articles to Against the Grain and others to lead discussions of their own at other events. We hope that these workshops will continue and evolve over time. We also hope that eventually we will be able to look back to see what we noted as well as what we missed as the conversations continue over the coming years.


Registration is now open for the SSP annual meeting, and Librarian/Student/Retired/Researcher/Funder discounted rates are available.

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