100 members and counting: a snapshot of the Society Publishers’ Coalition
Updated: Aug 3
“Knowledge shared is knowledge gained.” Mike Cookson, ICE (Institution of Civil Engineers) Publishing, member since 2019
It’s been over two years since our group of like-minded, not-for-profit learned societies, community publishers and charities came together to navigate a sustainable pathway to open scholarship. During that time, the scholarly publishing landscape has shifted considerably and SocPC members have been at the forefront of practical change and innovation that supports openness, transparency, and collaboration within the research community.
SocPC members remain committed to its founding principles and objectives and our mission reflects the outlook of an increasing array of organisations. We’re delighted to mark the joining of our 100th member and take the opportunity to reflect on the breadth of our group’s fields and specialisms as well as the value that SocPC provides for those involved.
All 100 SocPC members are looking for positive pathways to open access. United by our efforts to improve the efficiency of the scholarly communication ecosystem for the benefit of researchers (and society as a whole) in a fair and sustainable way, our members all publish as part of their charitable objectives. Universally re-investing the surplus from publishing activities back into the disciplinary communities they serve, our member organisations spent approximately £1,200 million on mission activities in 2018 alone.
With representation across a broad variety of fields, their work helps support disciplinary areas including chemistry, computing, economics, engineering, geography, history, life sciences, management, mathematics, medicine, political science, psychiatry, physics, sociology, and many more.
"We are seeking answers to a lot of questions and being in the company of like-minded societies helps us clarify our own thinking." Yochanan Altman, International Association of Management, Spirtuality & Religion, member since 2021
Having quickly become one of the most representative umbrella organisations in the scholarly community, our members are leading the transition to fully OA publishing on both sides of the Atlantic. 39 members are taking active steps to transform their publishing outputs to full OA, while 20 members are also offering uncapped OA publishing in their transformative agreements.
"We're part of SocPC because it's a great group of organisations with a dedicated mission to support open research in different fields." Sybille Geisenheyner, American Chemical Society, member since 2021
One of the main drivers in founding SocPC was to ensure the perspectives of smaller organisations fed into the bigger conversations taking place across the sector. Combining members’ individual voices has enabled the group to contribute to broader dialogues, such as the consultation responses relating to Plan S and the UKRI Open Access review. The establishment of six working groups has been vital to the process of comparing experiences and challenges between members, helping to develop best practice and share ideas about transitioning. Consisting entirely of members who volunteer to join them, the SocPC Working Groups consider transformative deals, best practices for commercially partnered societies, transparency and metrics in publishing services, OA book publishing, and alternative OA publishing models, along with other key areas. A friendly and active conversation on the Basecamp platform, together with 16 full membership meetings since 2018, has also been integral to cultivating an open and collaborative environment.
"Working in society publishing is hugely fulfilling, but at a small organisation it is easy to feel slightly isolated from the wider industry. SocPC gives publishers who work at societies a sounding board, a source of information and advice, and a community of people with a broad range of expertise." Christine Fears, Healthcare Infection Society, member since 2019
The importance of the group is as much found in this process of exchange. Driven entirely by members’ volunteer efforts across a variety of disciplines, organisations have contributed their own time and resources to share insights and ideas, and to help promote the group’s joint causes. This collaborative spirit represents a commitment to long-term cooperation and we welcome like-minded organisations from across the world to join us. Email enquiries are welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"SocPC is such a fantastic venue for keeping up to date with society-specific news and views, and for talking to enthusiastic and like-minded colleagues from across the society-publishing world." Sara Purdy, British Society for Immunology, member since 2019
“It's super helpful to talk to people with similar values, facing similar challenges. Everyone cares about the quality of what we are publishing as well as being able to survive financially in these changing times. Everyone is committed to open-access publication in a sustainable and affordable way. Everyone is willing to help each other. I have learned so much from people who are more experienced than I am; who are further down the pathway to transitioning to full open access or are pioneering transformative journals.” Alex Ashcroft, International Union of Crystallography, member since 2020