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Knowledgespeak Exclusive: An Interview with Terry Van Schaik, President of the Society for Scholarly Publishing -


Knowledgespeak: Could you tell us about yourself and your role at the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology?


Terry Van Schaik: Like many people in scholarly publishing, I came to it accidentally. After teaching English language and literature in a middle school, a high school, and small private college, I moved from a small Ohio town to St. Louis and couldn’t find a teaching position except as adjunct at a junior college. One cannot keep body and soul together on what I earned and so when a friend told me about an opening a Mosby (later Mosby-Yearbook and now part of Elsevier), I applied and somewhat to my surprise got the job. I started as an editorial assistant in the medical book division and eventually moved on to become a journal publisher. Somewhere along the way, I realized I had a career – not in education but in publishing. Since 1999 when I left Mosby until now I have been fortunate to work for Wolters Kluwer (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology. As Publisher and Sr. Director of the Journal Publications Division at ASCO, I manage editorial, production, business, and administrative matters and participate in executive leadership decisions.

I have been an SSP member for several years and enjoyed serving as co-chair of the Annual Meeting Planning Committee twice before being elected to the Board of Directors. I began my term as president this June and am getting to know colleagues on our various committees and on the Board better as we work together to meet members needs and help them respond to issues facing all of us in scholarly publishing.


Knowledgespeak: Briefly talk about the SSP, highlighting the initiatives taken by the Society to promote and advance communication among all sectors of the scholarly publication community?


Terry Van Schaik: SSP’s mission is to advance scholarly publishing and communication, and the professional development of its members through education, collaboration, and networking. In support of our mission we undertake multiple activities throughout the year. Some of these include:

  • Our Annual Meeting and Pre-meeting Seminars, which will be held May 30 to June 1, 2012

  • A series of Fall Seminars held each November

  • The Librarian Focus Group held just before the annual PSP meeting as a forum that brings publishers and librarians together to discuss matters of mutual interest

  • Scholarly Kitchen – an independent blog under the leader ship of Kent Anderson with daily postings on an array of topics relevant to scholarly publishing – sometimes funny, controversial, quirky, and always interesting

  • The Organizational Collaboration Committee that reaches out and responds to opportunities to collaborate with other groups and is our primary link to the Chicago Collaborative

  • Social media, such as our SSP LinkedIn Group and Twitter feed

One of our key 2011-12 strategic initiatives is to explore additional ways to support our international members and fellow professionals.


Knowledgespeak: The Society is set to host the SSP IN Conference. Can you share with us any interesting events / trends that you expect to see during the event?


Terry Van Schaik: In Conference differs from the more traditional professional meetings that often consist of a series of plenary and concurrent sessions with audience interaction usually limited to Q/A sessions for a few minutes at the end of presentations. Although IN does include speakers, the attendees are integral to the meeting. Not only do they hear from experts in publishing and other professions, but also they take what they have heard into small group sessions. In this way they work together to respond to challenges presented via a case study specifically developed for IN. The beauty of this year’s approach is its practicality: attendees can test ideas in their small groups and then take back ideas that they can apply immediately to their daily work.


Knowledgespeak: The 2011 program features talks on the three pillars of modern-day publishing — globalization, innovation, and collaboration. Can you briefly talk about these sessions?


Terry Van Schaik:


Innovation in scholarly publishing refers to new online and device-based technologies (along with the emergence of app and API ecosystems) that provide novel ways to discover, distribute, and deliver content and make it more accessible and dynamic. However, innovation also means new publishing and commercial models-- for example, the impact of Apple’s innovations on content distribution, purchasing, and consumption. Beyond focusing on the “bells and whistles” of new technological innovations such as tablets and smart phones, the Innovation session will challenge attendees to identify, analyze, and discuss publishing and commercial model innovations that these new technologies inspire or compel.


In the context of scholarly publishing, globalization refers to international activities and interactions in new, growing, and existing markets and influencers around the world. These influencers include sales, authors, and consumer markets, as well as competition and knowledge gaps. The world is becoming flatter, and the global playing fields are made more level with the development of new technology and emerging collaboration. Attendees will hear from speakers actually attending the meeting and also see and hear video clips of thought leaders from around the world.


The Web is a vehicle through which content and product creators and consumers can discover and acquire resources, leverage expertise, interact, and co-create in unprecedented ways. Web-based collaboration innovations can open up access to larger audiences and more data. Besides significantly increased international collaborations in the scholarly community (e.g., CGIAR), today millions of “amateur-experts” collect data and consume academic content (e.g.,, an online community of thousands of cancer patients who are reading and discussing research papers, compiling health reports). Attendees will try to identify key characteristics of international academic collaborations and collaboration services, discuss how content creators and publishers can embrace different communities (e.g. different disciplines, corporate versus academic research), think about how constantly newly created content fits into this collaboration picture, and discuss the commercial aspects of collaboration.


Knowledgespeak: You have a very interesting panel of speakers lined-up for the Meeting. Can you give our readers some highlights from the schedule?


Terry Van Schaik:

Mary Waltham, Publishing Consultant

Mary Waltham founded her consulting company ( in 1999. Its continuing mission is to help publishers and information providers confront the rapid shifts that the networked information age poses to publishing economics by developing robust business models and strategies for managing change; by helping publishers to take advantage of new information and communication technologies to build publications of outstanding scientific and economic value; and by understanding the structure and needs of user communities. Prior to creating her own company, Mary was President and Publisher for Nature and the Nature family of journals in the US, and earlier was Managing Director and Publisher of "The Lancet". Mary has worked at a senior executive level in science and medical publishing companies across a range of media, which include textbooks, magazines, newsletters, journals, and open learning materials. When not consulting, Mary enjoys trips home to her native England, cooking, painting, and reading for leisure and entertainment.

Jan Reichelt, MBA, Co-Founder & President, Mendeley

Jan knew first hand that research can be a lot of fun and so is starting a technology company. So he figured why not combine the two? Jan had already worked at two Internet start-ups during the first dot-com era; having been frustrated with the lack of social tools for researchers, he became a co-founder of Mendeley in 2007. Under his leadership, Mendeley has become the world’s largest research collaboration platform, with thousands of users and research groups and millions of research papers. Mendeley helps people to organize and collaborate on research projects and makes academic research fascinatingly more accessible and transparent.

For several years throughout his Ph.D. studies, he served as an advisor to a member of SAP’s supervisory board, unsuccessfully tried to start a travel company, and got totally fascinated with Latin-American dances such as Salsa, regularly attending (very non-academic) dance congresses.

Dan Strempel, Simba Information, Senior Editor/Analyst for Business Professional Group

Dan Strempel is the Senior Analyst/Editor of Simba’s Business and Professional Group where he edits and oversees the development of Professional Publishing Report and associated market reports. In 2006, he led the business and professional team in the publication of Publishing for Professional Markets: Forecast & Analysis 2006-2007 and Business Information Markets 2006-2007. In addition, Dan executes in-depth customized research projects and represents Simba at industry conferences and events. Since joining Simba, Dan has brought an increased emphasis on global coverage of professional markets. In 2007, the group introduced the market reports Global Legal & Business Publishing 2007-2008, Global STM Publishing 2007-2008 and Global Professional Publishing 2007-2008. Prior to Simba, Dan was managing editor at Westfair Communications in White Plains, NY—the publisher of Westchester County Business Journal and Fairfield County Business Journal—where his work earned recognition from the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2004, The Business Council of Westchester named Dan as one of its “Rising Stars: Forty under Forty” award winners. Dan is a graduate of the University of Rhode Island with a degree in Journalism.

Eric Newman Publishing Consultant

After joining Butterworths in Australia, Eric spent eight years in Singapore establishing Reed's (now Elsevier) first offices in India, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Returning to the US, he became Chief Executive of Butterworth-Heinemann worldwide. He is a past president of Appleton & Lange. He is also a past officer of the American Medical Publishers Association, PSP/AAP and International STM, a founding director of the largest online bookseller in China, director of PWN (Poland), and is currently a non-executive director of the BMJ Group (London) and American Academy of Neurology business operations. He consults for publishers and dot-coms from around the world on strategy and market entry. Eric first visited China in 1978. In 2008, he helped Beijing medical publisher PMPH open a US office and then make its first international acquisition.


Knowledgespeak: New leaders are emerging with the vision to adapt or change their business models to embrace the opportunities created by the social web and the cloud. What, in your opinion, are the implications of these generational changes in technology and online networks? Do you see the forthcoming SSP IN Meeting as a venue for sharing information on these changes?


Terry Van Schaik: To be honest, I lose sleep over these questions and am looking forward to IN Conference to help me find some answers – and better sleep.

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