The International Conference on Electronic Publishing (Elpub) is just one year away from its 20th anniversary. Elpub 2015, the 19th edition of the conference, will continue its tradition of bringing together a wide range of stakeholders: academics, publishers, lecturers, librarians, students, developers, entrepreneurs, and users interested in issues regarding electronic publishing in diverse contexts. Three distinguishing features of this series of conferences are: a broad scope of topics creating a unique atmosphere of active exchange and learning on various aspects of electronic publishing; the combination of general and technical tracks. Lastly, a streamlined submission, revision and proceedings publication process guarantees the inclusion of current and cutting edge research in the programme.
Twenty years is a commendable lifespan for a conference in such a volatile area. Elpub has contributed to the ever-changing environment every year by focusing on a special theme. Elpub 2015 will explore the interplay of two dimensions of electronic publishing – the ever growing volume of digital collections, and the improved understanding of the widest user group: that of citizens. This exciting theme encompasses human, cultural, economic, social, technological, legal, policy-related, commercial, and other relevant aspects.
Are we currently facing the dawn of the age of citizen science? Not quite yet. However, open science is clearly on the horizon – not least through both the dedication of a growing group of researchers and the incentives set out by the European Commission and other research funders world-wide. The rationale for this approach is manifold: from promoting free access to all kinds of outputs resulting from publicly-funded research; a clear need to address data management, sharing and reuse; and open e-infrastructures for research to new forms of collaboration, publishing and user engagement. All this sets the foundations for a much wider interaction of researchers with their own community as well as professionals, industry representatives and citizens.
Citizen engagement will be by nature diverse. For example, communication via social media, or joint cultural heritage projects which explore the participation of citizens, e.g. patients and carers, in the effort to create better ways to discover, enrich and select information. The conference will present a range of results in this area, and explores opportunities for participation in old and new publishing paradigms.
The conference theme will be introduced by three inspiring keynotes: The main program on 1–2 September 2015 features Prof. Gowan Dawson (Leicester University, UK) who will deliver a keynote on “Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries”. Prof. Gail Feigenbaum (Getty Research, USA) will explore “Electronic Publication: Intended and Unintended Consequences”. Finally, a special intervention within the conference panel session will be offered by two local speakers from the publishing industry in Malta, Donald Tabone and Adrian Hillman.
Similar to previous conferences, Elpub offers a combination of themed sessions and a poster session. In addition, the discerning participants have a chance to follow satellite events focusing on topics which enjoy a great interest in the professional community.
Two pre-conference workshops will be held on 31 August 2015: “The evolving scholarly record: library stewardship roles in a fast changing multi-stakeholder ecosystem”, presented by Titia van der Werf, Senior Program Officer at OCLC Research, and “Upskilling for Research Data Management: How do you train the Data Librarian?” which will be delivered by Andrew Cox (University of Sheffield) and Anna Maria Tammaro (University of Parma). This is also co-organised with the Maltese Library and Information Association (MaLIA). Post-conference events feature a workshop organised by the EC-funded CRe-AM project entitled “Shaping the future for e-Publishing” the launch of the DARIAH in Malta a workshop on “The role of knowledge maps for access to Digital Archives” organised by the KNOwESCAPE COST action.
The conference takes place as one of the academic facets of VIVA – the Valletta International Visual Arts Festival, which reinforces the creative edge of electronic publishing and strengthens the prominence of the electronic publishing domain in the host country, Malta. It is co-organised by the St James Cavalier Centre for Creativity which offers its unique premises to the 19th edition of Elpub, and by the Department of Library Information and Archive Sciences of the University of Malta.
We would like to express our gratitude to all members of the Elpub Executive Committee who, together with the Programme Committee, helped to put in motion an impressive range of ideas which allowed us to offer such a diverse and exciting programme. We also would like to thank our sponsors – Emerald, ProQuest, Copernicus, and Springer at the time of writing – for their support and interest in reinforcing the connection between academic discourse and the professional publishing community.
We wish you all an inspiring conference and look forward to the anniversary 20th occasion of Elpub in Göttingen!
Birgit Schmidt and Milena Dobreva
1 July 2015