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How was the Berlin Institute for Scholarly Publishing born?

It all started in September 2019… 

Back in 2006, Arnoud de Kemp, former member of the managerial board at Springer, had started a new project, the annual conference Academic Publishing in Europe (APE), which brought together the most influential names in scientific publishing and scholarly communications. 

(If you want to learn more about the story and development of APE, be sure to check out THIS article).

After fifteen years of engaging debates, deep analysis of new trends, and an under all aspects successful yearly get-together for the scientific and publishing community, Arnoud de Kemp announced that he would gradually withdraw from the APE project, watching over it from a new “chair”: while keeping his primary role as program coordinator, he would move from the role of the organizer to the one of the advisor. But who would take over the organization of the conference, and who would de Kemp advise then? The APE conference had always proven a valuable source of insights into current developments around scholarly communication and academic publishing, and de Kemp needed a suitable successor. And this was the point when the new player came to the field, willing to take over as captain under the wise direction of de Kemp: the Berlin Institute of Scholarly Publishing, short BISP. Shortly before taking over the organization of the APE conference, BISP was still only an idea: the aim was to found a non for profit company dedicated to bringing together early career researchers, publishers and stakeholders, to create a dialogue between the groups and show them how to best work together in the future. Arnoud de Kemp immediately saw the potential of the small company-to-be. He started a discussion with Eric Merkel-Sobotta, future Managing Director of BISP, on how the future of the APE conference should look like, what his role would be, and what BISP would have to guarantee. In June 2020, the Berlin Institute for Scholarly Publishing was founded, originally with the name Berlin Academy for Scholarly Publishing (BASP), shortly after renamed BISP, as the Berlin Chamber of Commerce considered the entry in the commercial register to be endangered by the addition of “Academy”.

The newly born BISP soon realized that the first APE conference under its direction would not be an easy one: following the development of the Covid19 pandemic, it got clear very fast that APE would be for the first time a digital-only conference. The Berlin Institute of Scholarly Publishing was up for the challenge, and, with hard work and the support of old and new sponsors, APE2021 was a big success, strong of its engaging program and high caliber speakers.

The first steps have been taken, and BISP is moving forward and is ready to bring more to the publishing and scholarly community. Stay tuned!