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What Do the Experts Say About Online Community Management?

Posted by Karen McCord on Apr 27, 2016 3:00:00 PM


Society Day at the 2016 STM’s Annual Conference was dedicated to exploring the trends that are reshaping societies strategies over the coming few years within publishing, membership, technology, innovation, and growth. I was honored to be a member of the Panel on Emerging Collaborative Technology and Tools Moving Research Forward which was moderated by: Daniya Tamendarova, Director, Strategic Business Development, APA Journals. My co-panelists included: Susan Cato, Director, Digital Strategy & Member Services, American Society of Plant Biologist, Deric Corlew, Vice President of Business Development, Research Square, and Josh Freeman, Founding General Manager, Trellis and Senior Adviser, Multi-Media Strategies, AAAS.

Even though this panel’s topic was “collaborative technology and tools”, the themes of engagement and community management were emphasized by each speaker.

Susan Cato (@susancato) of ASPB & Plantae prefaced these points proclaiming, “Having the shiniest tech is great, but the magic lies in the time you spend with your community.” With the strategic advisory firm, IDEO, providing the initial recommendations, ASPB took a very innovative approach to their Plantae platform and instead of an internal membership benefit they created a marketplace for their desired member - anyone in the global plant science community.

Breezio may be a software platform, we emphasize early that our focus is first and foremost on engagement, and their mission with each new client is to help deliver on the “Elusive ROI”. Data shows that even for the most mature and evolved communities, only 34% report that they can measure ROI. A return on investment can be achieved when you can show that more community members are going from contributing to actually engaging, creating knowledge and delivering true collaborations together.

Research Square increases engagement by introducing scientific publications through a increasingly popular form of content - video. They partner with publishers and associations to increase communication and engagement around scientific and scholarly publications with a multi-media solution. Deric Corlew (@DjCorlew), VP Business Development, shared their product validation study of 150,000(approx) researchers and found that even though 37% don’t know how to promote their research, 31% stated that they would use video as a starting point. That’s when Research Square’s Video Summaries were born.

“If you’re going to invest in building a community... You really do need to think about community management”, emphasized Josh Freeman (@JoshuaFreeman3) of Trellis. AAAS is one of the largest international scientific societies with over 100k members. Their goal – to make it easy for anybody in the STEM community to create a network of any size, any affiliation, any disciplinary makeup for the purpose of collaboration. They are launching AAAS community manager Fellows program, which has two main goals. First, to professionalize and institutionalize the community management role with other societies and organizations and secondly, to help create a community management set of best practices for scientific community.

To close the discussion on the collaborative technologies, Josh Freeman shared, “Whatever tool you choose to use, it’s not the tools alone. You have to believe that part of the commitment is having someone who is actively mining your community.”

Topics: Scientific community, Scholarly publishing

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