Get an insider's perspective from Romy Beard, Publisher Relations & Business Development at ChronosHub, on the Academic Publishing Europe (APE) conference.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Academic Publishing Europe (APE) conference for the first time. As a newcomer, I was pleasantly surprised by the event's atmosphere and the engaging discussions that took place. In this blog post, I will share my impressions of the conference, highlighting key aspects such as attendees, setting, catering, and the conference program.
Attendees: A Mix of Familiar Faces and New Connections
APE brought together a diverse range of attendees, including both familiar faces from various events throughout the year and new contacts. This blend provided an excellent opportunity to reconnect with industry colleagues and establish new connections within the academic publishing community. While the overall attendance was reportedly slightly lower than in previous years, I felt that the size of the conference fostered an intimate and conducive environment for networking and meaningful conversations.
Setting: An Ideal Venue in Berlin
The conference was held at the ESMT in the heart of Berlin. The venue's layout was well-designed, with sessions taking place in the back auditorium and breaks and lunches in the main hall. The location itself was convenient to access, and the backdrop of the Berlin castle added a touch of charm to the event. The audiovisual setup was excellent, ensuring clear presentations and smooth speaker transitions. The only minor drawback was the timing of the event, which felt a bit early in the year for some attendees still in holiday mode.
Catering: Sustaining Attendees throughout the Conference
APE excelled in providing attendees with quality catering services. Constant availability of coffee, drinks, and snacks, coupled with a decent lunch, ensured that participants remained energized and focused without needing to leave the venue. The food quality was satisfactory, and portion sizes were appropriate, with minimal time spent queuing. Although the conference dinner was slightly overpriced, the beautiful setting created a relaxed atmosphere for engaging discussions and networking.
Conference Program: Engaging Discussions and Fresh Perspectives
The conference program covered a range of relevant topics, including research integrity, AI and ChatGTP, sustainable development goals (SDGs), open access, change management, academic freedom, and emerging trends. While some sessions on the first day were less captivating, the second day provided more engaging content. The standout panel on research integrity, moderated by Sven Fund, offered a well-balanced discussion with speakers representing diverse perspectives. The session explored practical strategies, such as identity verification and collaborative efforts, to address issues like paper mills. It would have been even more insightful to include the perspective of an author who has used such services, shedding light on the underlying pressures they face. The panel's slight disagreements on investment approaches added depth and sparked engaging dialogue.
Room for Improvement: Connecting Sessions and Author Engagement
While the conference program covered important topics, a stronger thread to connect the sessions would have enhanced the overall coherence and impact of the event. Additionally, a notable absence, in my opinion, was a focus on author marketing and engagement.
Attending the APE conference was an enriching experience, offering a blend of familiar and new connections, an ideal setting in Berlin, well-executed catering, and an engaging program. The panel on research integrity stood out as a thought-provoking session, encouraging collaborative efforts to address challenges in academic publishing. Moving forward, it would be valuable to establish stronger connections between sessions and explore the importance of author marketing and engagement. Overall, the APE conference left a positive impression, and I would gladly consider attending future editions.