Panel Discussion at the Frankfurt Book Fair: AI and Academic Publishing

How is AI being used by academic publishers? Is this technology a supplement to or a replacement for human decision-making? Questions such as these are of vital interest to everyone in the academic community. 

Between July and September 2019, UNSILO ran a survey exploring attitudes to the use of AI, and how AI is being used in academic publishing. Respondents included authors, publishers, librarians, and other industry stakeholders. At this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair, on Thursday October 17, UNSILO will host two panel sessions in the Academic Theatre in Hall 4.2, chaired by Toby Green, former head of publishing at the OECD, to discuss the survey results. Each panel session is self-contained, so attendees can join either or both.

Panel One (15:00 – 15:50): Opportunities and challenges of AI in academic publishing 

Panellists are Helen King, Digital Strategy Lead, BMJ Publishing; Josh Nicholson, co-founder and CEO,, and Dave Flanagan, Director of Data Science, Wiley Journal Publishing. Topics to be discussed include:

  • What is the expected timescale for broad adoption of AI?
  • Which types of AI are actually in use currently in publishing?
  • What factors are holding back adoption of AI?
  • Does AI require taxonomies or can it reduce the need for them?
  • Do smaller publishers have a disadvantage when it comes to implementing new technology? Do we need in-house teams to build AI solutions?
  • Are AI tools just for production and discovery, or can they be used for more strategic questions?

Panel Two (16:00 – 16:50): Trust, bias and other issues in AI

The panel comprises Leslie McIntosh, Founder and CEO, Ripeta; Geoffrey Bilder, of Crossref; and Angela Cochran, ME of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). This panel session will discuss such topics as:

  • Are we already using AI without knowing it?
  • Can you compare the accuracy of human v machine operations?
  • How can we check for bias? Who should carry out these checks?
  • Do we relinquish all responsibility for editorial processes by adopting AI tools?
  • Can we provide human curation, for example feedback on AI decisions?
  • Can we reduce time to publication without compromising quality?
  • Can AI tools answer the same questions as humans?

No booking is required – just come along. We look forward to seeing you there!

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