Call for Papers

R2R Call for Papers (no year)

The Call for Proposals for the Researcher to Reader Conference is normally open throughout July and August each year, with proposal being evaluated during September.

The Conference takes place each February, and our Programme is developed between June and October the previous year. The Programme comprises a combination of invited contributors and a selection from the proposals received. The Advisory Board invites proposals for workshops, panels, interviews, presentations, debates and lightning talks on the subject of international scholarly communications.

We particularly encourage proposals from librarians, researchers, editors and funders, and from people based outside the UK. We are also strong supporters of diversity and inclusion, and actively welcome proposals from under-represented demographics.

Proposers are invited to provide an abstract (50-100 words) and a fuller description (up to 150 words) by 31 August, using the form downloadable with the following link or button: PROPOSAL FORM

Download Proposal Form

The Conference organisers have used their best efforts to ensure that this downloadable form – which is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet – does not contain any macros, viruses or malicious code, but recommend that anyone downloading this file uses appropriate methods to protect their own systems. No responsibility can be accepted for any adverse consequences arising from the downloading or use of this form. 

To make a proposal for participation in the Conference, please first read the guidance below and explore the R2R website for more information, then download, complete and return the proposal form.

Call For Proposals – Summary Information

R2R Lifecycle

Conference Background

The Researcher to Reader Conference is a key forum for discussion of international scholarly communications – exploring how academic knowledge is conveyed from the researcher to the reader.

The Conference takes place annually in London each February (online in 2021) and is attended by around 150-200 participants from all parts of the scholarly communications community, including funders, researchers, research managers, editors, publishers, distributors, technologists and librarians.

Topics and Themes

The Conference covers the full life-cycle of scholarly communications, from the researcher who creates content to the reader who consumes content. We particularly value topics that are of broad interest across the diverse range of people and organisations that participate in scholarly communication, rather than subjects that focus on one particular silo. Our delegates are primarily interested in the interactions between the various parts of the scholarly communications supply chain, and how different people and organisations can work together more effectively. The Conference also values topics that are practical, informative or supported by evidence – we are interested in facilitating what could be done, rather than merely debating what should be done.

Session Formats

The Conference has a variety of session formats, intended to give each topic an appropriate expression. We are strongly committed to participation and interactivity, and so our workshops are a particularly important part of the Programme, and we also value giving plenty of time for Q&A. Each year our programme is likely to include a mixture of Workshops, Panels, Interviews, Debates, Keynotes, Presentations and Lightning Talks.

Proposal Formats

Proposers are invited to offer topics and/or contributors.  They may wish to:

  • suggest a topic of interest;
  • propose themselves or another person as a speaker, panellist, debater, facilitator or moderator, based on appropriate knowledge or skills;
  • propose a panel, debate or workshop package, including a topic plus most or all of the other contributors.

Informal or outline suggestions for topics or potential names can be made just by contacting us by email, but more complete proposals should be made using the proposal form.

Promotional Sessions

Generally, proposed sessions must be of interest to the community as a whole, and faithful to the Conference ethos, not merely promotional messages.  Selling or demonstrating products or services as part of the programme, whether from a commercial supplier or a not-for-profit organisation, is absolutely unacceptable, except in a Lightning Talk, where the promotional nature of the session must be made clear in the published abstract. Organisations offering a promotional Lightning Talk are asked to either become a full sponsor of the Conference or pay a small fee for the session.

Proposer Credentials and Affiliations

Proposals can be made, and sessions can be given, by any member of the research, publishing and library community, whatever their institutional or organisational affiliation. Contributors who are employed by commercial organisations are encouraged to participate, but proposals prepared by marketing or PR departments on behalf of their corporate colleagues cannot be accepted.

Proposers are encouraged to provide evidence of their experience or suitability, based on past successes and evidenced where possible by video-recordings, although this is not essential.

The most effective workshops are created through a partnership between a subject expert and a facilitator, and we have particular focus on the quality of workshop facilitation.

Call For Proposals – Guidance for Proposers


The information below provides additional guidance to help potential contributors to put forward proposal that are likely to be accepted by the Advisory Board.  We recommend that proposers study this guidance carefully as it should be helpful in ensuring that a proposal is efficiently and effectively prepared.

Session Formats

The Conference has a range of different session formats, intended to give each topic an appropriate expression, and to provide a varied and interactive timetable for the delegates.

Proposers who are invited to contribute to the Conference will be provided with support to ensure that they are able to deliver their session in the physical or online environment as appropriate. Our hybrid event plans mean that it should be possible for a contributor to participate either physically from the venue or online from a location of their choosing. Given that online participants may be in a wide range of time zones, we may ask some contributors to repeat or recap their session before the start or after the end of the main Conference day.

Contributors are also asked to participate in a pre-Conference session during the October-January period, where registered delegates will be invited to join a short online seminar hosted by the scheduled speaker or facilitator.  This will be an opportunity for contributors and delegates to become familiar with our online platform, and for the contributor to explore the topic they plan to deliver in February with a small group, prior to the event.

Our programme is likely to include a mixture of the following formats:

Keynote / Presentation

Our keynote presentations are normally given by a single well-known or significant speaker, in a plenary session near the start or end of the event, sometimes followed by Q&A. The typical duration for a keynote is 20-40 minutes. Keynote speakers are usually specially invited by the Advisory Board, but we are open to suggestions or volunteers.

Our regular presentations are given by a single speaker (or very occasionally a pair of speakers), normally within a plenary session comprising 2-3 presentations, followed by Q&A.  The typical duration for each presentation is 15-30 minutes.Has

The presentation format is most suited to a situation where some interesting information is being conveyed to the participants by an expert or thought leader. We find that the presentations most appreciated by our delegates are: not product pitches (commercial or otherwise); presented by just one speaker; delivered in a lively but not ‘evangelical’ tone; and supported by informative visual aids, not slides that appear to be merely the speaker’s notes in bullet-point form.

Panel / Interview

R2R Panel

Our panels are lively moderated discussions amongst knowledgeable and well-prepared pundits, which also involves the participants. The panel format is most suited to a topic where there is varied experience of a subject amongst the panel members and where their conversation usefully explores the various issues. Typically, a panel will run for around one hour, and have minimal formally-presented content and very high levels of engagement with the conference participants.  We encourage active solicitation and management of delegate questions (often via Twitter or other tools), and we avoid so-called panels that turn out to really just be several long and loosely-connected presentations followed by a brief Q&A.

Similar in feel to a panel, an interview is where a well-known or significant member of the community is interviewed by a knowledgeable and well-prepared questioner, who may also include questions from the conference participants.


Panel thumbnail

Our debate format is very popular, and involves a challenging and divisive proposition argued for or against, in a formal setting, by two or four well-prepared debaters, coached and supervised by a strong moderator, who may also introduce questions from the floor.  The debate format works best for a clear-cut and binary divergence of opinion on an issue, where the clarity of a structured argument contributes to understanding and opinion-forming. The Conference participants vote on the proposition before and after the debate, to measure how the arguments have swayed their views.


R2R WorkshopThe workshops at R2R are facilitated collaborative conversations, with very high levels of delegate participation and engagement. Each workshop discusses a clearly-defined question or problem, and attempts to reach a resolution. Workshops are particularly well-suited to complex problems with diverse issues to be explored and a range of solutions that can be developed.

Delegates select just one preferred workshop out of choice of parallel topics, and each has a total duration of about 2-3 hours, split over multiple sessions that reconvene during the Conference timetable.

Our workshops can be demanding to prepare and deliver, but are an exceptionally popular part of the programme, and are always reported to be highly worthwhile for facilitators and delegates alike.

Each workshop usually has around 15-35 participants, and during the workshop sessions there is typically a mixture of whole-group conversations and smaller breakouts. In a hybrid environment, for practical reasons it is possible that a whole workshop will be ‘just physical’ or ‘just online’, or will have separate online and physical breakouts, or may even be duplicated as two separate workshops on the same topic, one physical and one online.

A workshop topic may build on the content of a Conference presentation, or cover other issues of relevance to the creation, supply and consumption of academic research. A workshop could be used to gather scoping or qualitative responses as part of an academic research project, be part of a standards consultation, or even be used for product prototyping if appropriately structured and described.

Workshop 1.32 (ED)

Workshops tend to function best when they attempt to discuss and reach resolution on a clearly-defined question or problem. The workshops are not seminars, given by speakers, but are highly interactive conversations held amongst the participants, and facilitated by the workshop organisers. Some of our most successful workshops have been created and run by a two-person team comprising a subject expert and a facilitator; the subject expert will frame the question to be worked on, and provide expert knowledge during the workshop, while the facilitator will summarise the topic, lead discussions, encourage broad participation and ensure that the outcomes are documented. The Conference has a particular focus on ensuring high-quality workshop facilitation, and is very open to matching topic experts with skilled facilitators.

Lightning Talk

Our Lightning Talks allow for a brief presentation by any registered delegate, followed by a short discussion. Lightning talks are an excellent way to briefly introduce a topic or to convey simple information, and the R2R format also allows for feedback from the people receiving the information.

Participants can chose which, if any, of the Talks to join, and the sessions may be given in parallel or repeated, depending on the time available in the Programme. We anticipate that each Lightning Talk will be a total of 10 minutes, with about half the time used to present and the other half to discuss. These sessions could potentially include presentations by people promoting products, services or other initiatives, as participants can choose whether or not to join the session – a commercial organisation must be a sponsor or pay a small fee in order to be able to offer a promotional Lightning Talk.


Complimentary admission to the Conference is offered to all contributors who are invited to participate in delivery of the programme (normally limited to up to two people per Workshop, and excluding Lightning Talk presenters). We do, however, encourage contributors to volunteer to support the Conference by paying a full or concessionary rate on registration if this is affordable for them or their organisation. Any other costs for attendance are the responsibility of the participant, although we are occasionally able to offer some support toward travel or accommodation, often with support from a sponsor. Lightning Talk presenters must register at the appropriate rate.

We strongly encourage each contributor to plan to participate in a the whole Conference, not just their own session, as the Researcher to Reader ethos is of a community participating in a compete two-day collaborative event, not a series of independent sessions.

Proposal Creation and Evaluation

R2R Call for Papers (evaluation blurred)To make a proposal for participation, please first explore the Conference website, and review recordings of past sessions at our YouTube channel.  Then the potential contributor should download the proposal form, complete it carefully and email it to us by the deadline.  Early submission is encouraged, as it gives us time to contact you to discuss your proposal before it is formally evaluated.

We would be grateful if proposers would provide thoughtful and complete information in their proposal, within the specified word limits, as our Advisory Board has a challenging task of interpreting and evaluating numerous proposals to determine the suitability of the topics and contributors for our delegates. Probably the most important factors in the evaluation are the appropriateness of the participant-oriented abstract and the informativeness of the Board-oriented explanatory description, together with the credentials and experience of the potential contributor. We are also happy, however, for proposers to get in touch with us to informally discuss preliminary ideas or outline proposals prior to final submission.

Titles, sub-titles, abstracts and biographies must conform to the style and length standards set out, to increase the probability that they can be included in our published programme with minimal editing.

Normally, evaluation of the proposals takes place throughout September, and a response is given by early October, but the evaluation period can sometimes extend well into October.

The Advisory Board has complete discretion regarding which proposals are accepted for the Conference programme and the Board’s decision is final. The Conference accepts no responsibility for any costs incurred in the preparation of proposals, or for any consequences of acceptance or rejection.

Proposers may be invited to modify their proposals to meet the needs of the Conference programme. Proposers may withdraw their proposals up to the point of acceptance, or when invited to make modifications.

Proposers agree that, if accepted, their proposal may form part of the Conference programme and that any presentation and biographical content may be included in Conference materials, including potential distribution of slides, scripts, transcripts or abstracts, and any video, audio or photographic recording.

Topics and Themes

The Conference covers the full life-cycle of scholarly communications, from the researcher who creates content to the reader who consumes content. We particularly value topics that are of broad interest across the diverse range of people and organisations that participate in scholarly communication, rather than subjects that focus on one particular silo. Our delegates are primarily interested in the interactions between the various parts of the scholarly communications supply chain, and how different people and organisations can work together more effectively. The Conference also values topics that are practical, informative or supported by evidence – we are interested in facilitating what could be done, rather than merely debating what should be done.

In some years the Advisory Board may publish a list of topics or themes that may be of particular interest, but proposals related to all relevant subjects are welcomed. For 2022, some of the topics that might be of particular interest include:

–      Preprints and peer review, and their impact on trust in research reporting

–      Funding sources, methods and mandates, and the impact of funding changes

–      Public communication of science, news and policy

–      The future of transformative agreements for researchers, libraries and publishers

–      Changes in research and office practices during and after the pandemic

–      Further and initiatives and experiments in delivering open access books

–      Researcher values, incentives, behaviours, integrity and trust

–      The impact of diversity initiatives on commissioning and on collection development

–      Improving understanding and engagement between researchers and publishers

–      Definitions and clarity around ‘open’ – access, science, research, data, metrics

–      Consequences of publisher consolidation