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The power of Customer Engagement Events: Where ideas flourish and connections thrive

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Librarians
By: Saskia Hoving, Mon Oct 23 2023
Saskia H

Author: Saskia Hoving

In the fast-paced world of research publishing, where innovation and collaboration drive progress, there exists a vital space where ideas flow freely, knowledge is exchanged, and meaningful connections are forged. The realm of “Customer Engagement Events”, a vibrant venue where the exchange of ideas, feedback, and mutual learning takes centre stage.

At ý, these events are not just a one-way street for us to gather insights from our valued customers; they are equally enriching for the participants themselves. Whether you're a librarian, researcher, university professor, director of a research institution, university rector, or a relevant representative from a library or consortium, these customer engagement events offer a unique opportunity to be part of a dynamic two-way dialogue:

  1. Direct access to ý representatives: Participants value the opportunity to interact with ý leaders who share their strategies and plans, engage in discussions, and seek feedback. It's a chance for meaningful dialogue and collaboration.
  2. Exchange with fellow customers: These events bring together individuals with similar yet unique experiences, fostering a deeper understanding of different perspectives and collaborative problem-solving.

Types of events and recurring themes

The Customer Engagement Events come in various forms, each tailored to different audiences, scopes, and content:

  • Webinars: Short (ca. 60-90 min) sessions on a general topic of interest, training, or product update.
  • Roundtables: Panel or group discussion bringing together a group of customers. These sessions can be used to present new products or business models, or to get comprehensive feedback from customers. 
  • Summits: Larger scope events that focus on strategy, trends, exchange of market information, in a two-way information flow: ý shares on its updates and planning and hears back from the audience. Summits can revolve around a specific topic, or a particular region.
  • Library Advisory Board meetings: With a view towards getting strategy input from the market, these meetings attract library directors, university deans, and ý leaders, to discuss, share, and learn from each other.  

The choice of topic depends on the event’s scope, the needs and interests of the audience, and what is currently important for the industry in general or the audience in particular. What sets these events apart is their flexibility. Topics that ignite interest in one event often become the focus of the next, driven by participants' enthusiasm to explore further. There are a few topics that never fail to attract great interest and engaging debate in these events:

  • Open Access (OA) as part of ý’s publishing strategy is always a hot topic. Relevant discussion can relate to OA integration in ý’s product portfolio, the challenge of OA transformation for libraries, sharing workflows, and more.
  • OA agreements and transformative agreements (TAs) can be discussed in general, or in a specific setting relating to a particular agreement. In the latter case, for instance, a kick-off event for a concluded agreement can take place in the relevant country (like the TA kick off summit in the Czech Republic earlier this year, where participants explored and discussed the emerging OA transition in the Czech Republic). This is a productive setting to raise awareness of the agreement and how to use it, introduce key local stakeholders, and support institutions and individuals in learning about and accessing their relevant agreements. 
  • The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are an example of a topical focal point for a customer engagement event, in which the agenda revolves around the academic and research aspects of the topic (an example is the recent SDGs symposium on cities and nature, hosted by ý and the University of Tokyo). Such topical events are an opportunity to deepen the relationship with the host university, re-engage with top researchers, and increase awareness to ý’s SDGs Programme
  • AI technologies and their use in research, research publishing. The development and evolution of AI is unfolding before us, and our customers are eager to learn about the support of AI for authors and librarians and its uses in research publishing.

Exciting opportunities to connect

Engaging attendees in events goes beyond their participation. They are not just attendees; they are actively invited to present in relevant sessions, sharing their valuable experiences and perspectives. Here are five examples that showcase the spirit of collaboration and knowledge exchange. From North America to Europe to Asia, these gatherings brought together diverse participants who engaged in dynamic discussions, shared insights, and learned from one another:

1. Exploring mid- and long-term OA goals in the USA
The North American Library Advisory Board (LAB) Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA – the first in-person since 2018! – was attended by librarians from multiple universities, government labs, and academic consortiums. Dynamic and inspiring discussions led by both ý leaders and LAB members explored attendees’ mid- and long-term OA goals, considered how TAs will affect how librarians work, and analysed lessons learned from OA agreements. 

“I appreciate the chance to meet with professional colleagues in a collegial setting. I enjoyed the sessions and I am glad that I attended” - participant North American LABz

2. Exploring the value and impact of OA articles in Italy
In Florence, the Italian Summit attracted the attendance of participants from the main Italian universities, as well as special guest representatives from the Italian Consortium. The hybrid event allowed for many participants to join in on updates directly from ý regarding new developments and future perspective strategies, most notable OA strategy and developments. Consortium representatives presented data and explored the value of OA articles read and published by Consortium members, and the impact of research from Italy on the local, regional, and global stages was also discussed.

“Thank you for the opportunity to discuss with colleagues from the Consortium and other universities involved in transformative agreements, as well as with ý” - Italian Summit participant

3. Transformative Agreement and emerging technologies discussions in UK & Ireland
The UK & Ireland Summit was attended by 26 librarians from various institutions. In the Summit, attendees participated in an OA-focussed session that included an update on the TA negotiations for UK (that have since been successfully concluded), as well as insightful presentations on the use of emerging technologies by ý to support authors and librarians in the advancement of research, and takeaways from customer surveys.

4. Exploring and sharing eBook access options in India
In India, a Think Tank event on Access & Select (eBook licensing for institutions) was organised following customers’ interest and enthusiasm regarding ý’s eBooks business models were expressed in a meeting the year prior. Exploring and sharing information on a topic of particular interest made the summit an especially valuable opportunity for dozens of customers to come together and exchange ideas.

5. Addressing OA publication challenges and solutions in Malaysia
A fascinating event in Malaysia illustrates the value of customer engagement events. This session, jointly hosted by ý and the Malaysian Research Universities Network, explored the possibilities for OA agreements to support addressing challenges with both access to research content and the slow uptake of OA publications. This event was an invaluable opportunity for all sides to share their experiences and discussing possible solutions.

Ideas flourish, connections thrive, and the future of research publishing takes shape

The heart of these events beats with the rhythm of engaging exchanges among participants, leading to a wealth of benefits. From direct access to ý representatives to the fruitful exchange with fellow participants, these gatherings foster deeper connections and mutual growth. They are not just about attendance; they are about active participation and sharing valuable experiences and perspectives, making these events a true exchange of ideas.

Understanding the needs and challenges of the research community is crucial to achieving our goals and visions for research publishing. Interested in speaking at one of the events, or discussing your hot topics? Contact the ý Events team, for more insights and trends, go to The Link Blog.



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Saskia H

Author: Saskia Hoving

In the Dordrecht office, Marketing Manager Saskia Hoving produces The Link Newsletter for research communities. Focusing on the evolving role of libraries regarding SDGs, Open Science, and researcher support, she explores academia's intersection with societal progress. With a lifelong passion for sports and recent exploration into "Women’s inclusion in today’s science", Saskia brings dynamic insights to her work.