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The Academic Publishing In Europe Conference: Conferences In The Eye Of The Storm

The Academic Publishing in Europe (APE) Conference is an international and independent conference for all stakeholders in scholarly communications and scientific publishing founded in 2006 by Arnoud de Kemp. It aims to provide a better understanding of the role of information in science, education and society, and encourage the debate about the future of value-added scientific publishing, information dissemination and access to scientific results. Forum for this open discourse has been since the beginning the Leibniz Hall of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities on the famous Gendarmenmarkt in the center of Berlin.

With the start of the electronic revolution in 1996 and the introduction of ICT in production and dissemination of information, the landscape changed rapidly, and costs decreased significantly. Self-archiving and open repositories became possible. New services such as for citations and data references were introduced. The functions of certification and dissemination by journals could now be implemented by different actors. Electronic access to information changed the world in a very short time and whole new dimensions were possible: unpublished research, recent research in peer review processing, preprints and the first open-access journals and open access archives. 

The Max Planck Society published the “Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities” on 22 October 2003: this marked the start of the ‘Open Access Movement’ in Germany and elsewhere. The Max Planck Institute defined Open Access: “Open access means that scientific literature should be publicly available, free of charge on the internet so that those who are interested can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, refer to and, in any other conceivable legal way, use full texts without encountering any financial, legal or technical barriers other than those associated with Internet access itself”. 

For traditional publishers of journals and books this was nothing less than a shockwave: the predicted end of prepaid subscriptions. A whole new infrastructure and new economic models would become necessary and very soon it became obvious that the transition from print to electronic would take a lot of time and energy. 

It was in these days that cooperation and exchange of technological and economic experiences between the different players in the market became necessary. In the early years of the 20th century only few conferences were held, mostly in different groups: between publishers, between librarians and between subscription agencies. 

It was soon felt necessary that a larger meeting would be necessary to bring all so-called stakeholders together and a day was picked: 4 April 2006, which would be the centenary of the founding of Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft (AKA) in Leipzig, one of the first international STM publishers. While the historic dimension was felt to be of less and less interest to a forward-looking audience, only a banquet dinner and an after-dinner speech were planned. 

The first APE Conference, strongly supported by the European Commission and the Max Planck Society, was held on 4-5 April 2006 in the Leibniz Hall of the Berlin Brandenburg Academy of Science and Humanities. From the very beginning, Arnoud de Kemp has been organizer and program coordinator, before handing over the logistics to the Berlin Institute for Scholarly Publishing (BISP) in 2020.

“Given APE has a tradition of setting the conversation for the year, […] thinking about how disseminating the outcomes of research should change over time to serve new and different needs of the research community.” (Dr. Liz Marchant, long-time Member of the Program Committee)

You can find a list of all past conferences HERE.

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!