#2013SSP: Crosspolinating health sciences libraries and scholarly publishing

SSP 2013


The Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Meeting has kicked off! Yesterday evening’s keynote speaker was none other than Tim O’Reilly, and what struck me was how much the themes that I ran into at the Medical Library Association conference in Boston resonated in his keynote speech.

Open data in scientific research was one such theme, although I think Tim said it in the most eloquent summary of the dilemma I’ve yet to hear, when discussing the paper that influenced economic austerity measures, and the calculation errors in that set of data: “It is important to also publish data, and not just the conclusions, so that errors can be more easily caught.”

Tim also asked how we can reinvent impact factor in our digital age, which reminded me heavily of Jason Priem’s talk on altmetrics at MLA13 (which I mentioned earlier in the blog). And, of course, no conference would be complete without some discussion on the flawed peer review process, but Tim was succinct in comparing it to the software realm and noting, “distributed peer review works better than picking a few experts.”

Tim included the powerful example of Google’s autonomously driving car, which over the last few years has gotten remarkably better as Google engineers have fed it more data coming from their own Street View sources. The autonomously driving car, Tim said, used to be a book: the road atlas. This comparison absolutely floored me, but I think the comparison is an apt one, with the most important part (relevant to both health sciences libraries, and scholarly publishing): utilizing technology to completely rethink the workflow.

I’m excited to delve into today’s sessions and dive deeper into some of these themes – I’ll report back over the coming days, and you can also follow conference developments through the official hashtag, #2013SSP.

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