Platform Strategies: Engaging Innovation in a Virtual Setting

Platform Strategies Revisited

Silverchair’s annual Platform Strategies event has been called by attendees “a not-to-be-missed event” that “blows all other STM publishing conferences out of the water.” A unique blend of thought leadership and networking around the technologies and strategies that support professional and scholarly knowledge, the event has provided an intimate setting in which to engage with peers as well as with leaders from adjacent industries.

In 2020, Platform Strategies, like every other event, shifted to virtual, and  the usual day-long event was broken out into a webinar series on a variety of topics over several months. Over 300 people registered for Platform Strategies Webinar Series events, with many more accessing the recordings and transcripts via the event archive

The first virtual event, held in July 2020, addressed a then-urgent concern among publishers: “Opening content for COVID: Transitioning Models, Security, and the Future of Subscriptions After the Pandemic.” To enable researchers, students, and faculty to continue working during the COVID-19 pandemic, many publishers removed paywalls from their content. As those free access periods were beginning to expire, this event looked at how publishers were handling the reinstitution of paywalls, both logistically and from a messaging standpoint. Publishers discussed how that period changed customer relationships as well as future sales approaches. Included in the discussion were the ways that the race to open content affected intellectual property protections and guarding against cyber criminals like SciHub. 


  • Emily Farrell, Library Sales Executive, The MIT Press
  • Clare Curtis, Publisher, Portland Press
  • Vida Damijonaitis, Director, Worldwide Sales, American Medical Association
  • Andrew Pitts, CEO, PSI


Further reading:

ALPSP Guest Blog: Opening Content for COVID: What Comes Next? (August 2020)

Lasting Effects: What the Pandemic Will & Won’t Change (September 2020)

Next in the series was a look at “Finding New Audiences for Your Content: What Publishers Can Learn from Public Radio.” As audiences and user bases change, many publishers are adapting by aggregating or syndicating content, adding in product features, or investing in marketing technology. As the Senior Product Manager for Emerging Platforms at National Public Radio, Ha-Hoa Hamano spends her time thinking through how to adapt NPR’s content delivery and products to maintain or reach new audiences. In this event, Hamano discussed how NPR has grown and stayed connected with its audience as technology has taken most of us away from Morning Edition during our commute. Hamano was joined by publishers who added their perspective on these challenges and what they’ve learned along the way.


  • Ha-Hoa Hamano, Senior Product Manager, Emerging Platforms, NPR
  • Gabe Harp, Senior Manager for Digital Products, The MIT Press
  • Kristen Twardowski, Library Sales Manager for the US and Canada, Duke University Press


Closing out the series was a discussion considering “If Curation Is the Future, What Actually Works?” Curation has always been at the heart of scholarly publishing, from the peer review process through to publishing and measuring impact, with myriad qualitative and quantitative judgements taking place in between. But there are so many ways to approach curation—automated or manually, expert or machined—what really works and engages readers? And what systems serve as prerequisites for these approaches? In this event, industry veterans discussed how they’ve engaged their communities and what comes next.


  • Bert Carelli, Director of Partnerships, TrendMD
  • Tasha Mellins-Cohen, Director of Technology and Innovation, Microbiology Society
  • Clare Moulton, Publisher, The Company of Biologists


The Platform Strategies Webinar Series offered a venue to gather thought leaders and external experts on strategic discussions about our challenges and opportunities, while providing a forum for publishers to directly engage with one another. As we all reached Zoom fatigue toward the end of the year, the Platform Strategies planning committee began discussing other ways to continue serving our community via this event. We are already at work on the agenda for 2021 and welcome topic and speaker suggestions at

Silverchair is a voting member of NISO and a sponsor of this year's NISO Plus conference.