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Reflections on the Charleston Conference 2022

by | Jan 11, 2023 | 0 comments

by Meg White, Conference Director, Charleston Conference

Feels Like Home

2022 Conference Theme

Step by step, piece by piece, we continue to find our way back to “normal” in a post-pandemic world.   The 2022 Charleston Conference was no different.  While COVID has left its mark, the 42nd Conference felt, for many, like coming home.  With more than 2,500 in-person attendees, including the full return of a robust international contingent and 900-plus joining the conversation virtually, we can report that Charleston is back … lessons learned, wisdom gained, and resilience exemplified by our full community.

The agenda featured more than 145 in person and an additional 50 online-only sessions, a bustling and vibrant vendor showcase spotlighting 140+ vendors and exhibitors, as well as a first for the conference, an evening reception aboard the U.S.S. Yorktown with stunning views of the Charleston skyline.  Conference blogger Don Hawkins provided excellent summaries of key Conference sessions and themes at Charleston Hub.


We’ll Get There, Together: Dr. Buhle Mbambo-Thata

Data-Driven DEI Perspectives; Know Where You Are, So You Know Where You Need to Go: Gwen Evans, Beth Blanton, Robin Pryce, Lori Carlin


The Values that Unite Us: The Imperative for Publishers, Libraries, and Research Institutions to Join Forces: Caroline Sutton

Charleston Premiers: Five-Minute Previews of the New and Noteworthy

The Long Arm of the Law: Gary Price and Deborah Caldwell-Stone

Outside Looking In

Charleston has long been recognized as “the room where it happens” in scholarly communication, so in addition to Don’s excellent summaries, we’ll look at how some members of our community viewed the 2022 meeting … their thoughts, perspectives, and take-aways.

Charleston Gaillard Center

Frontiers CEO Kamila Markram reflected on her organization’s formal participation in the conference, highlighting a session chaired by Frontiers Julia Kostova focused on the OSTP guidance on public access for federally funded research and participation in the Conference’s annual Hyde Park debate by Frontiers’ Head of Public Affairs Stephan Kuster, who took up the argument against the motion ‘Resolved: Transformative Agreements Represent the Best Possible Mechanism for a Full Transition to Open Access.’ Kuster stated: “Participating in this debate with the engaged and informed audience at Charleston was a highly rewarding experience. It is fantastic to be able to explore these critical issues in this forum.”  He also encouraged attendees to continue the conversation with ideas discussed in the Frontier’s recent white paper on transformative agreements.

Markram also noted Frontiers’ successful participation in the Vendor Showcase, including a vendor information session, the Future with Frontiers.  Tom Ciavarella, Head of Public Affairs and Advocacy for North America at Frontiers, noted the unique opportunity for engagement, formal informal, that is a hallmark of the Charleston Conference: “As always Charleston provided a forum for valuable conversations with colleagues, partners and many others in the library community. It was a pleasure to be part of the event and to forge connections that will continue to develop and flourish long after the conference has ended.” 

Delta Think devoted the November issues of their online discussion series, News and Views, to Charleston Conference perspectives on the recently released Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memorandum mandating public access to federally-funded research.  “The Nelson Memo: Charleston Perspectives” examined three sessions at the Conference that explored the memo and its potential impact on stakeholders who are part of the Charleston Community.

Delta Think identified key themes that emerged from several sessions – The Nelson Memo: A Tipping Point for Open Access Science in the U.S.Ask the Chefs: The OSTP Memo, and the OSTP Public Access Guidance: Headlines, Details, and Impact: 1) the greatly expanded scope of content included in the guidance (potentially most daunting, data, in addition to journal articles and books), 2) the Memo’s US-centric focus, 3) the potential unequal impact on stakeholders, largely based on the size of their organization,  4) what was left unsaid by the memo … primarily details relating to implementation of the guidance …  many of which remain “TBD” and, 5) funding; who will pay for its implementation and which economic models will take center stage? While each session took a slightly different approach, Delta Think pointed to take-away comments by Lori Carlin, Chief Commercial Officer and Senior Consultant at Delta Think, during The OSTP Public Access Guidance: Headlines, Details, and Impact Neapolitan, “This [discussion] points to the need for collaboration,” she said. “There are many stakeholders involved in this process and we all need to be working together to find the best solutions and options … it is not one solution or option across the board. But it is something that publishers, libraries, researchers, and funders need to come together and be talking about to see how we all move forward.”

Writing in the Scholarly Kitchen, newly-minted Chef Roy Kaufman also focused on Charleston conversations related to the OSTP Memo.  While noting previous OSTP coverage in the popular SSP Blog and documenting Charleston take aways around familiar themes of emerging OA funding models and the processes and infrastructure needed to support OSTP compliance, Kaufman leads with a fundamental question around Subscribe to Open (S2O).  While noting this type of funding model is “on the rise,” he cautions against a “one size fits all model” pointing out that for governments and corporations, this type of “charitable” model has its limitations.  Kaufman hypothesizes that while S2O may work well in an academic library, participation in these models remains largely dependent on year-to-year budgetary realities.

Expanding Audience, Expanding Impact

From humble beginnings, with only 20 attendees more than 40 years ago, the Charleston Conference has expanded its scope and impact well beyond an annual conference for acquisition librarians.  Charleston Hub is the home to content and services that are “must read” publications for scholarly communication professionals.  Against the Grain, topical webinars, and a growing vendor product database offer resources to all stakeholders.  The 2022 introduction of a fully virtual Charleston Conference experience has moved the learning beyond the geographic confines of its namesake city to reach a vibrant and growing community of additional stakeholders, making it more diverse and inclusive, with many new voices at the table. And if you miss a key Conference session or need background on a key industry topic or concern, just login to Charleston Hub for access to video and full session transcripts.

Finally, a sincere thank you to everyone who make the Charleston Conference successful, but especially to our attendees and speakers.  Your passion and engagement make this community a vibrant and relevant part of our industry.  Best wishes for a productive and prosperous 2023 … and we’ll see you at Charleston Hub.


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