Today is June 4, 2016 and I am currently in Vancouver, BC. It is the day after the Society of Scholarly Publishing (SSP) Annual Conference held here at the Westin Bayshore from June 1 – 3, 2016. I attended because I was awarded an International Fellowship Award by this august publishing society. In addition to the Award, my 11 other awardees were given one year free membership and each appointed a mentor for the year duration. I got an awesome mentor, Mr. Will Wakeling, who is also University Library Dean of Northeastern University in Boston. One of the greatest facts about Will is that he is an avid golfer….as am I, although I do not have a handicap ~ as yet.
The conference proved to be a huge eye opener. I learnt a lot about the challenges surrounding predatory presses, open access and my pet peeve…unethical behaviour in academia. The sessions were insightful and informative and I found it helpful if you had some idea of what is happening on the environment. This is not a conference to attend cold turkey.
There were quite a few fun events. I still think my team was ousted out of that Scavenger Hunt! Food was plenteous…no roadkills…and tasty. Did I say tasty? Absolutely scrumptious. Since I have little self control and most of the items I ate will not be affordable when I return to Jamaica, I literally went to town.
As a librarian, editor, publisher, author, researcher and doctoral student, I felt quite comfortable and inside my element. I felt I could relate to everything because it is essentially who and what I am. I never could understand the tunnel vision of colleagues who felt comfortable focused on their own narrow little space without understanding how impactful we all are as we work in our little silos. The conference demonstrated the importance of educating faculty, junior researchers and affiliates on the importance of corrupt commercial publishing practices because it affects all of us. I am inspired to return to work and engage with faculty on the way forward. Such a lot for us to talk about – open access, impact factors, how to inculcate ethical behaviour in our new researchers, how to improve our writing, get our researcher into this global space we are a part of ~ so much to discuss!
I am truly grateful to the SSP for the award and the opportunity to attend this conference. I had a wonderful time. I met some wonderful folks among the attendees and exhibitors. Everyone was so warm, welcoming and friendly. Presenters were open to sharing and were really easy to talk with. Absolutely amazing! I can’t wait for SSP next year when they hit Boston, MA. Hope to see you there.
Now I’m off to enjoy this wonderful city! The public library (my first love) is high on my list and I can’t wait to reconnect!!