ALPSP Conference 2022

Trekking my way through the ALPSP conference!

ALPSP is the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers

Yes, it’s a long name and yes, I did need to google it just to be absolutely sure that I wrote it correctly. But before you judge me, I am actually a member of the ALPSP Education Committee, which means that I support the organisation of the ALPSP webinars (if you haven’t watched any, go check them out)! Last week I attended the ALPSP annual conference in Manchester. It was a full-on three days, with lots of learning opportunities, networking and interesting sessions for me to attend (along with three of my team members from Frontiers). Here’s a whirlwind summary of my experience at the ALPSP conference.


I arrived by train from London and was thrown straight into networking upon arrival. Filled with nervous energy initially as I gradually remembered how these things go (it’s rare for me to have the opportunity to network in-person nowadays), I collected my badge and spotted members of my team already doing their thing in the reception area. Although I was a little green with envy when I saw my colleagues’ badges, adorned with a special blue ribbon denoting Frontiers’ status as a sponsor. For some reason this was missing from my badge, but I’ll forgive ALPSP for this.

I enjoyed the talks on the first day. One of the stand-out talks for me was the session on OA books, where the librarian from the University of Aberdeen (Simon Bains) made the rather pertinent comment: “Open Access is not just the stick that funders hit us over the head with.” What a relief! It was nice to hear (as someone from an OA publisher) that librarians are highly supportive of OA, despite some of the challenges of funding it.

In the evening, we had a great networking dinner where I caught up with colleagues from the organisation Society Street and enjoyed the atmosphere. Although networking was limited, because once bums were on seats, they didn’t move. Meaning the end of the very effective pre-dinner networking session. At the end of the evening, I noticed that ALPSP had put up a board where you could tie a string between the companies where you worked throughout your career. I took a lot of pleasure in picking my string colour, cutting a length of it, finding the companies I’ve worked for and tying on my string. It gave me a huge sense of pride.

ALPSP Conference 2022
My team at ALPSP 2022
ALPSP Conference 2022


After a swift breakfast, it was on with the conference! My favourite session of the day was around the evolution of journal publishing. One of the speakers made an interesting comment about the lack of collaboration in the publishing industry back in the post-war era. Clearly, collaboration was impacted due to the manual and slow processes without the support of the technology we have all come to wholly rely on. We’ve come such a long way in this industry, but it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t so long ago that we were sending editors and peer reviewers paper manuscripts by post. Nowadays the “average” time from submission to acceptance across the major publishers is around 90 days, but with innovations in peer review (notably journals with post-publication peer review), it’s not unrealistic to expect a far swifter turnaround!

In the evening, I participated in the famous (or should I say infamous) ALPSP quiz. Despite the fact that I held the lowest level academic degree on our table, and my suggested answers to the geography questions were dubious, I managed to make a few notable suggestions in the music round that helped us claw back some points. Thankfully, we didn’t come last and avoided the dreaded “wooden spoon” prize…


While I love conferences, it’s a tiring affair. From breakfast to dinner, there are so many interesting discussions, fantastic talks and opportunities to catch up with people you haven’t seen for a long time. Unless you are a complete extrovert, it’s very natural to feel zapped of energy after a couple of days. I haven’t been to a conference in a while due to the pandemic, so by day three I was starting to regret not pacing myself a little more. I was determined to make the most of my last day though, and particularly enjoyed the final talk of the day around societies and how to optimise collaboration.

I also bumped into Laura Harvey from Clarivate Analytics, who was kind enough to say that she had been enjoying my blog and had recommended it to several of her new starters in her team. So a big shout out to say thank you to Laura!

ALPSP Conference 2022
My team at ALPSP 2022

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Thanks for reading my diary from the ALPSP conference. I highly recommend attending next year if you can, it’s a great conference for anyone based in the UK, both for senior professionals, as well as for those who are just starting out in their publishing careers.

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