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The Asia-Pacific Program at ISMTE Global Event 2023: Recapping what was on offer

If you missed the Asia-Pacific program offered as part of this year’s Global Event, you won’t want to miss this article.

Published onSep 11, 2023
The Asia-Pacific Program at ISMTE Global Event 2023: Recapping what was on offer

ISMTE delivered a 3rd virtual Global Event in July this year and the bi-annual opportunity to include an Asia-Pacific (AP) program was welcomed whole-heartedly to meet the interest and needs of a growing number of AP-members of our society. With Airmeet’s online platform ability to deal with major time zone challenges and facilitate participation of conference attendees around the globe, the AP-organizing committee was excited to offer a 2-day program during daytime hours in the vast Global – (Far) East region stretching from India to New Zealand.

As the AP-Program Organizing Committee, we focused on a selection of topics believed to address timely discussion items and concepts to learn more about, which ranged from an expert view on the rising influence of the AP-region in international publishing to practicalities like how to flip your journal to Open Access and what benefits searchable online researcher profiles can bring to journal editors and publishers. We hoped there would be something of interest to everyone attending our series of sessions, be it from within those within the AP-region or the brave night owls in the US and Europe preferring our live sessions over the recordings. It was great seeing you online.

The scene was set with the AP-Keynote on the role & impact of the AP-region in international publishing, delivered by Peter D’Onghia, Director APAC Partner Publishing at Wiley in Australia. He gained his insightful knowledge of publishing in the AP-region over many years and delivered an inspiring presentation full of promising facts that support the notion that times are changing for the region on the world stage. Publication output, publishing in Open Access as well as publishing research quality are significant outcome measures on the rise within APAC, creating global impact. While growth per country may differ for various reasons, academic publishing overall within APAC seems to be a force to reckon with.

We then tried to wrap our heads around the recent challenges posed by new AI writing software to the concept of ‘originality’ in academic publishing with a panel of experts representing different facets of our industry. The benefit to use the new technology as a tool to overcome language barriers for non-native English-speaking authors is undeniable, but Ayli Chong from professional editing service Edanz Japan argued that ethical use of Chat GPT’s to help and assist should be prioritized in order to prevent significant adverse impact on an author’s unique, original and critical thinking. Simon Goudie from Wiley in Australia highlighted the windfall of AI writing tools for papermills to the detriment of originality and integrity of new publications and their relevance and added value to the scientific literature as a whole. Editor in Chief of ACS Nano, Prof Xiaodong Chen from Singapore shared his message of caution, care and best practice advice on the use of AI in scientific writing, published in a special Editorial in his journal earlier this year.

Next up was a session with applicable information for those considering to flip a journal to Open Access: What’s the deal? The session began with Alice Wood, Associate Director, Open Access Business Development at Wiley who shared her significant experience in flipping journals. She presented the processes that Wiley undertake to assess journals’ readiness and suitability to flip and explained the timelines and preparations that need to occur for a successful flip. Knowing what is required and what a journal can expect after flipping may help Editors with discussions with their Publisher in relation to flipping to Open Access. To complement and emphasize Alice’s presentation, we next heard from Mandy Min Cao (Shanghai, China), Managing Editor of the Journal of Diabetes which in 2022 flipped to Open Access. Mandy explained why the journal decided to flip and included information on what happened after the flip. A slight decrease in submissions which was then followed by a great recovery; changes to authorship and a marked increase in article views. The flipping process emphasized to the journal that attention had to be paid to authors and to this end the journal looked at their peer review workflows and processes and implemented a number of measures to improve efficiency.

We also wanted to bring the opportunity to commission to publish in the interest of DEI engagement to the foreground by presenting 2 case studies. The one an admirable example of a change of mindset of the Editorial Board of the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal to commit to DEI by ‘doing, being, becoming and belonging’. This journey is covered in an Editorial led by the journal’s Editor in Chief Prof Louise Gustafsson from Griffith University in Australia; the other a rare insight into local issues around gender inequality of Leading Women in Respiratory Medicine throughout the AP-region, presented by the series co-editor, Dr. Natasha Smallwood from Melbourne, Australia. The voices of a publisher on the effectiveness of such an initiative for the benefit of a journal’s profile (Martha Rundell from Wiley in Australia), and DEI advocate on how well it can support the wider DEI debate (Michell Fleetwood from the ISMTE DEI Advisory Council) added value to see how impact can come via this approach.

It was a delight to see real-life stories shared in our session on career growth and progression, tales of how saying YES can start a process of volunteering with enormous benefits to career development, networking and self-learning opportunities on the way. Vrishali Parab, an active member of the ISMTE Early Career Committee (ECC), navigated the audience through the new ISMTE website on how to volunteer and where to find the many helpful and informative resources for self-learning, followed by Mary Kate Kornegay (past Chair of the ECC) and Belinda Neill (Chair of AP Advisory Council at ISMTE) who inspired the audience with their positive experiences. Both agreed that, in hindsight, it seemed volunteering had opened doors in ways they could not have foreseen. This realization appeared in line with a series of volunteer testimonials presented to the audience to encourage others to embrace volunteering and self-learning as professional development opportunities.

A practical guide to researcher profiles on the two largest scientific article and citation databases, Scopus and Web of Science, followed next in our program. Researcher profiles online have the potential to benefit researchers as authors, journal editors and publishers alike. For authors this can significantly display achievements and further enhance outreach, for journal editors and publishers it can be an extra pathway to the discoverability of experts to become involved in the peer review process or fill vacancies for editor roles at specialized international journals. Practical tips and guidance to better understand researcher profile discovery in Scopus and Web of Science were presented by Nicholas Pak, Senior Customer Consultant at Elsevier in Singapore, and Alireza Salehi-Nejad, Social Science Researcher and Web of Science Top Peer Reviewer from Iran respectively. Just what one needs when trying to make the most of what expert information is available on these large scientific article & citation databases.

Our series of sessions concluded with an expert panel sharing their thoughts on the important issue of APC inequity within the AP-context. Young Wu, Editorial Director at Wiley in China, kicked off the session by talking about the history of the transition to Open Access (OA) publishing and the different OA policies that are in play in the Asia Pacific countries. Young shared the key challenges to achieving OA equity in the AP region which include factors such as financial constraints, inadequate infrastructural support, and language barriers. She concluded her presentation with information about the various partnerships and policies that Wiley has to promote greater equity in OA publishing and to help authors from low- and middle-income countries to publish more. The next speaker was Elaine Tham, who is the Regional Director of Publishing Development (Asia) at PLOS in Singapore. Elaine talked about Community Action Publishing and Global Equity Model, which are two business models that PLOS has implemented with the aim of eliminating barries to publishing. Demonstrating how these models work and how they exemplify an alternative to an APC-based OA publishing model, was the focus of Elaine’s presentation. Finally, Dr. Moumita Koley, a consultant with the International Science Council and an STI policy researcher in India, rounded off the session by articulating an author’s perspective on how APC fees can be a challenge for researchers. She made a case for how the problems in scholarly publishing go much beyond APC inequity and pervade not just AP countries, but also the Global South. With the help of available data and studies, Dr. Koley argued that the current system of APC-based publishing is not sustainable for authors from low- and middle-income countries and a reform is needed in this area.

We are grateful to all our speakers who enthusiastically participated in this series of sessions within the Global Event for the AP-region this year. A program proudly delivered by the region as well with so many of the speakers working & living in the region, and willing to share their professional insights. We believe this level of expert participation and support of our program strengthens the AP-Keynote message that the role of the AP-region is changing and its impact on the global stage is growing. We look forward to what active ISMTE members and their colleagues from the AP-region can further contribute to the unique ISMTE community around the world.

AP-Program Organizing Committee -2023 Global Event

Madhura Amdekar, Wiley India

ORCID: 0000-0003-1741-6646

Salil Bose, Sage India

ORCID: 0000-0002-5715-1868

Haili He, Elsevier China

ORCID: 0000-0002-2414-5314

Martha Rundell, Wiley Australia

ORCID: 0000-0002-8391-4654

Anke van Eekelen, Respirology

ORCID: 0000-0002-3436-0923

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