ALPSP Awards

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Mindscape Commons by Coherent Digital and PLOS Community Action Publishing by PLOS have been named the winners of the ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021. David Sommer, Chair of the judging panel, revealed both winners at the close of the ALPSP Annual Conference and Awards which took place virtually on Friday 17 September.

Applications for this year’s awards, sponsored by HighWire, were invited from any new development, product, service or project which was both innovative and of significant value to scholarly communication. All the finalists were asked to present their submissions to the judges in July, and then showcased their innovation to industry peers at the opening of the ALPSP Virtual Conference & Awards 2021.

Winner: Mindscape Commons, Coherent Digital

Mindscape Commons logo

Mindscape Commons from Coherent Digital is the first and largest collection of Virtual Reality (VR) video content for teaching and learning in mental health. It allows the next generation of counsellors, social workers, and psychologists to explore these experiences, build empathy, and develop critical clinical skills in a safe and repeatable setting. Developed in partnership with faculty and students, it offers hundreds of interactive, short-form, 360° and 2D videos. In service to the community, Mindscape Commons also aggregates and preserves open access, research, and commercial VR content for free.

Winner: PLOS Community Action Publishing, PLOS


PLOS Community Action Publishing is a new, non-APC based business model PLOS launched in Fall 2020 that uses collection action as a means of making highly selective publishing APC-free. PLOS’ aim with non-APC-based business models is to ensure that the open access business model ecosystem doesn’t get “stuck” with APCs in the long term. While an appropriate business model for some, APCs are highly exclusionary for many in the global publishing community and PLOS wants to be part of innovating for more diverse, inclusive business models. PLOS CAP is our first attempt at that. We followed it closely with the new PLOS Global Equity model in May 2021.

David Sommer, Chair of the judging panel, and co-founder at Kudos commented:   
“The quality of all entries this year was outstanding, and the judging panel certainly had their work cut out in assessing each of those shortlisted. I’d like to congratulate both Mindscape Commons and PLOS Community Action Publishing for being chosen as this year’s well-deserved winners.”

Shortlisted for 2021

View all of the submissions.

Panel of Judges

David Sommer, Chief Product Officer & Co-founder, Kudos (Chair)
Andrew Barker, Director of Library Services and Learning Development, Lancaster University
Kivmars Bowling, Publications Director, SIAM
Iain Craig, Senior Director of Market & Publishing Analytics, Wiley
Lorraine Estelle, Project Director, COUNTER
Richard Gedye, Scholarly and Professional Publishing Consultant
Athena Hoeppner, Discovery Services Librarian, University of Central Florida
Robert Iannello, Senior Product Manager, ARM Education Media
Louise Russell, Director, Tutton Russell Consulting
David Smith, Head of Technology Strategy, The IET

The ALPSP Awards for Innovation in Publishing 2021 are sponsored by



About the Awards Application and Judging Process

Applications are invited for any new development, product, service, launch or project which is both innovative and of significant value to scholarly communication. Submissions can relate to any part of the scholarly and professional publishing industry but must demonstrate excellence in terms of originality and innovation, significance and value to its community, utility and long-term viability. Applications must define clearly the benefits and advances they represent in their sector. The judges may make more than one award depending on the submissions received. 

In order for the panel to make a reasoned assessment, each application must include detail on the background, business model, resources, development, operation of the product or service and how you are measuring its success. The closing date for applications was 29 April 2021.

ALPSP may publish a list of submissions together with the statements of innovation.  All other information within the applications will be treated in strictest confidence. 

How to apply

Please preface your application with a summary Statement of Innovation (maximum 100 words) outlining the key features which make the product or service innovative and demonstrate its value to the industry.

Supporting information should include detail on the following:

  • What are the main features and functions of the product or service?
  • What was the background and research behind its development or launch?
  • What resources went into its creation?
  • What makes it significant and innovative?
  • What value does it offer, how is this measured?
  • What is its business model and what is the scope for further expansion?

Please be sure to include the following in your application:

  • Name of product or service
  • Publisher or owner
  • Date product or service launched
  • Product or service website
  • If a username and password is required to access the content, please supply details with your application.
  • Full contact details of person submitting the application

There is no word limit for your application but we suggest a minimum of 500 words and maximum of 2000 words. Please aim to be concise and provide the key information necessary for the panel to judge it rather than providing unnecessary additional background material – less is more! If your application is shortlisted, you will be invited to give a more detailed virtual presentation to the judges on Tuesday 6 July

The closing date for receipt of applications was Thursday 29 April.  

Please note that if you do not provide sufficient information about the innovation you are submitting, the panel will not be able to give due consideration to the application. If the publication, product or service is produced on behalf of another organization, the owner’s written permission for the submission to be made is required.

For further information please contact Lesley Ogg (email; +44 (0)7740 702848)

Conditions of Entry

  1. The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP) reserves the right to make no Award if there are insufficient high quality applications.
  2. Applications must be made in accordance with the instructions under ‘How to apply’.
  3. The closing date for receipt of entries is 29 April 2021.
  4. ALPSP may publish a list of submissions together with the statements of innovation.  All other information within the applications will be treated in strictest confidence. 
  5. The judges will consider all the applications and draw up a shortlist. Representatives of the shortlisted applications will be invited to give a 15-minute virtual presentation to the Judges on 6 July.
  6. Each finalist will be invited to give a 5 minute presentation to showcase their application at the ALPSP Conference.
  7. There are no geographical restrictions on entries.
  8. If the publication or service is produced on behalf of another organization, the consent of the publication’s owner or service provider is required.
  9. Award Winners will receive a trophy and certificate. No cash alternative can be substituted for the prize.
  10. There are no restrictions on number of entries.
  11. Criteria for judging entries are as detailed above.
  12. Entries will not be returned.
  13. Winners of the Awards will be announced at the ALPSP Virtual Conference on 17 September 2021.
  14. Post event publicity: (a) Details including photographs of all Award winners may be published on the ALPSP website; (b) Press Releases announcing the winners will also be distributed to relevant media; (c) Details of winners may be published in ALPSP Alert and Learned Publishing.

Twitter #alpspawards

For further information please contact Lesley Ogg (email; +44 (0)7740 702848)