CSE 2021 Annual Meeting: Shaping Our Future by Embracing Adaptability

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The 2021 CSE Annual Meeting will take place May 3–5, and as this year’s Annual Meeting Program Co-Chairs, we are hard at work putting together the educational content and networking opportunities that have made CSE so indispensable to our own professional careers. We have fully embraced the positive aspects of a virtual event that will allow more colleagues to access and engage with the educational sessions and programming that are the hallmarks of a CSE Annual Meeting. The 3-day virtual meeting schedule was developed with an aim to provide the full CSE Annual Meeting experience we know and love in a format that acknowledges, and caters to, the constraints on our time and attention in a virtual space. We hope this new format will help everyone balance meeting attendance with work and home life obligations.

The theme for this year’s meeting is “Shaping Our Future by Embracing Adaptability.” In the past year, each of us have had to increase our capacity to be flexible by adapting to changing environments in the workplace, the scholarly publishing industry, and our personal lives. The biological concept of adaptation showcases the importance of embracing change to better face the realities of the world in which we now find ourselves. The pace of change in our industry has accelerated rapidly in the last year, and the numerous innovations in response to those changes are more important than ever. With the future before us looking evermore unpredictable, we can take an active role in crafting the futures we want for ourselves by choosing to adapt.

The chameleon, nature’s quintessential example of an organism using the power of adaptation to survive and thrive, is this year’s annual meeting image. The ethos symbolized by the chameleon will be underscored and celebrated throughout the meeting’s content and programming. The 2021 Program Committee has been using their creativity, time, and networks to organize informative and engaging sessions that exemplify this year’s theme. Sessions were developed to cover practical topics relevant to editorial and production offices as well as broader subjects related to the scholarly publishing industry as a whole. A small sampling of what you’ll see this year includes fast-track workflows, accessibility in publishing, an XML primer, submission system and publisher transitions, best practices for engaged editorial board meetings, and managing mandates.

Michael T Osterholm, PhD, MPH

This year’s keynote speaker is Michael T Osterholm, PhD, MPH, a renowned epidemiologist and founding director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, as well as a member of President Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board. More than a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all living out the scenarios that Dr Osterholm and others have been preparing for and warning of for years. We look forward to hearing from Dr Osterholm on the lessons learned from the current pandemic that will inform our actions as we prepare for the next pandemic. Specifically, how can scholarly publishing professionals support an improved response and the dissemination of accurate information to the public during times of public health crises. Dr Osterholm is also the author of Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs (2017), a prescient look at the large-scale threat posed by pandemics in an interconnected global society. The CSE Book Club invites you to an author Q&A after the keynote talk to kick off the group reading of this book.

Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS

Epidemiologist Jessica Malaty Rivera, MS, a science communicator who specializes in translating complex scientific concepts and facts into plain language and making information accessible for individuals outside the scientific community, will be our plenary speaker. Malaty Rivera uses her Instagram account to reach a broad audience and share unbiased scientific facts about the COVID-19 pandemic, and we can’t wait to hear her thoughts on how to improve the communication of science to general audiences.

Michael Clarke will moderate a debate on whether and how journals should be responsible for investigating informal and/or anonymous ethical concerns. While we all agree that upholding the integrity of the scientific literature is paramount to our role as science editors, logistical practicalities and finite resources must be taken into consideration when determining who in the scholarly ecosystem is responsible. Will this final general session for the 2021 CSE Annual Meeting change minds and editorial policies?

Connecting with colleagues in a collegial and engaging environment is more important and valuable this year than ever before. We’re dedicated to replicating some of our favorite parts of the CSE Annual Meeting in a virtual format. Attendees will have the opportunity to network during scheduled breaks and early evening activities, including the competitive fun of team trivia. Sessions will be as interactive as ever with thoughtful discussions during roundtables, hands-on learning from short courses, and group discussion during the Ethics Clinic. The daily lunch breaks will also offer interested attendees informal professional development sessions on enhancing LinkedIn profiles, improving public speaking skills, and integrating wellness into the workday.

We hope you’ll join us in May as we come together as a community to learn from each other, engage in productive discourse, and enjoy good (virtual) company. The future will be shaped by our present actions, so let’s work together to ensure we are set up for success for whatever the future holds.

See you online May 3–5!


Emma Shumeyko is the Managing Editor of PNAS. Brittany Swett is the Executive Director of J&J Editorial, LLC.