Kumsal Bayazit was appointed CEO of Elsevier in February 2019. Her keynote address focused on observing the dynamic world of research with these main topics:
- Collaborating to Support the Research Community: The Next Chapter
- Learning from diverse perspectives
- Looking forward to the future
She noted that literacy rates have increased, as have the number of women in the workforce. We should be proud of the progress that has been made. Major challenges in research today include global warming, ocean pollution, food and water security, lifespan and quality, social inequality, and growth.
It is important for governments and funders to protect and grow spending and demonstrate the impact of research on society. Researchers discover and invent to solve problems, ensure reproducibility and attract talent and collaborators. Librarians continue as guardians of knowledge dissemination, preserve and showcase intellectual outputs, and advise on the use of metrics, new standards of practice, and research impacts. A fundamental issue for libraries is that budgets do not keep pace with growth of articles published.
Elsevier fully supports open access and creating value for researchers by applying text mining. There are many points of view on OA. It is important to work with librarians and openly discuss issues and how to resolve them. When asked about selecting a journal in which to publish their work, researchers value journal quality above all else. OA is of least importance to them. Predatory publishing is a challenge for gold OA publishers. Approaches to overcome obstacles vary widely because what different customers want varies widely.
Elsevier will continue to support OA across its journal portfolio. We must not underestimate the work and time needed to accomplish this. Acknowledge issues, talk openly about them, establish trust. Many researchers are proud of their work with Elsevier’s journals. Reasons for lack of trust include price increases, prices not transparent, high margins on sales. Some mistakes have been made such as the double digit increases in 1980s and 1990s, but since then, Elsevier’s increases have been the lowest in the industry. The Big Deal has created challenges.
Elsevier is a for-profit company but a responsible one. It is committed to social responsibility. Trust is achieved through actions, not just words.
Looking forward to the future: Partnering with the community. Imagine how insights would be generated if researchers could collaborate within and without their community so that reproducibility can become a reality. Imagine no friction in peer review, no friction between disciplines, and no friction in resource allocation or data management. Imagine easily demonstrating impact or inclusive and diverse research and research communities. Librarians are key partners in all of this. There are many possibilities of partnerships to support research as it becomes more data intensive.
Conclusion: We will work with all stakeholders collaboratively and productively to work on diversity, promote OA, and contribute as a responsive citizen. We support early female researchers and are working on analytics to understand what the numbers show. The next issue is gender in science and submission practices. We need to increase transparency in pricing without double dipping. Pricing has evolved over the last 20 years in very complex ways.
Don Hawkins blogs about conferences for Information Today and Against The Grain (ATG) and writes about conferences in his ATG column “Don’s Conference Notes”. He also maintains the Conference Calendar on the Information Today website and is the Editor of Personal Archiving: Preserving Our Digital Heritage, published by Information Today in 2013, and Co-Editor of Public Knowledge: Access and Benefits, published by Information Today in 2016. He received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and has worked in the information industry for over 45 years.