Running a technology-informed conference such as the International Conference on Electronic Publishing (Elpub) for the twentieth time could be taken as a sign of saturation and maturity. However, if we consider technology as only one cultural aspect of our current scholarly communication ecosystem, we have to note that we continue to be in the middle of a digital transformation. Technologies come and go due to social reasons; the positioning of stakeholders and the distribution of economic, technological and discursive power continues to be negotiated. And at times a seemingly given fact of publishing like the transfer of intellectual property rights to third parties gets heavily questioned – as the recent discussion around the shadow library Sci-Hub indicates. To provide room for discussion beyond technology and embed technology in its social and cultural framework, Elpub 2016 will open the floor for emerging alternatives in how scholars and citizens interact with scholarly content and the role dissemination and publishing plays in these interactions. What is the core of publishing today? How does agenda-setting in emerging frameworks like Open Science work and what is the nature of power of the surrounding scholarly discourses? How does this relate to the European and world-wide Open Science and Open Innovation agenda of funders and institutions, and what does this look like in publishing practice? Asking such questions promises to widen our horizons.
Elpub reaches a great milestone with its 20th anniversary this year, to be held in Göttingen, Germany. Since its beginnings twenty years ago, the conference has been a leading forum for electronic publishing topics, attracting people from around the world and facilitating active collaboration and knowledge exchange. Twenty years on, the conference brings together leading stakeholders such as academics, practitioners, policy makers, students and entrepreneurs from a wide variety of fields and countries.
The conference once again has an exciting programme in store for attendees and readers of the proceedings alike. The conference opens with a reflection and celebration of the last twenty years. This year, 17 research papers and 9 posters will be presented. The programme covers a wide variety of topics, including how to maintain the quality of electronic publications, modelling processes, and implementation issues regarding open access. These subjects, and especially the latter, become even more prevalent with reforms such as Britain's Research Excellence Framework rule which allows only open access articles to be eligible for submission – and on this basis, deposit in repositories (as a core element of institutional research information systems) becomes the norm. At Elpub, there will be several new publishing systems and repositories presented and tested, as well as datasets for the delegates to examine.
In addition, four workshops will offer delegates the opportunity to explore “Open Peer Review: Models, Benefits and Limitations” (co-organized by OpenAIRE), “Opening up the collection – reuse and publishing” (LIBER), “Entering the publishing system – Junior Scientist Day (FOSTER)” and “OJS 3.0 and OMP 1.2: The latest in open source software for academia-controlled publishing (PKP)”.
We are delighted to have three captivating keynote talks this year: Jean-Claude Guédon from the University of Montréal, Canada, will speak on the topic of “Whither Open Access? Four scenarios and four choices”, and our second keynote speaker, Tara Andrews from the University of Bern in Switzerland talks on the topic of “After the Spring: digital forms of scholarship and the publication ecosystem”. The third speaker Prateek Mahalwar shares with us his views on opportunities and challenges for early career researchers in the context of Open Science. Finally, a panel of experts will investigate the conference topics in an open forum with short stakeholder perspectives and the opportunity for the audience to engage with the discussion.
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to all members of the Elpub Executive Committee who, together with the Programme Committee, helped us to bring together such a diverse and exciting programme. We would also like our sponsors – Altmetric, MDPI and Copernicus Publications (at the time of writing) – for their support as well as their openness to discussion and cooperation in bringing forward the Open Science agenda.
We wish everyone an inspiring conference and a happy 20th Anniversary with many more to come. We look forward to continuing the discussion and seeing you again at the 21st edition of the conference in Cyprus!
Fernando Loizides and Birgit Schmidt
1 June 2016