Full steam ahead! Insights sails into its second year, captained by your Eds (pictured by the propeller of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's great steamship SS Great Britain. Photo by Hugh Look)

The publication and implementation of the ‘Finch Group Report’ (Accessibility, sustainability, excellence: how to expand access to research publications) in June 2012 is providing a current focus for many of us, especially those based in the UK. Therefore, we are delighted to have articles from Stevan Harnad and Stephen Curry providing their perspectives on the impact of the report. There are some complex points of view in these two articles, and in the articles by Martin Hall and Steven Hall which we published in the November 2012 issue. In our ‘Key Issue’, Albert Prior has done a fantastic job in pulling together a summary of some of the main views and comments presented by the authors of these four thought-provoking articles.

To ensure that we are not presenting a wholly UK-centric view, we are pleased that Reggie Raju and his colleagues from Stellenbosch University have submitted an article reminding us that open access can look very different depending on where in the world you are; and that funding for research in Africa is meagre compared to other parts of the world, meaning that article processing charges (APCs) exclude the majority of Africans from publishing. Nol Verhagen from the University of Amsterdam also provides us with his view on the hybrid open access journal.

Our other author from The Netherlands, Ronald Snijder, reminds us that Amsterdam University Press has been publishing open access monographs for some time. He describes how initiatives such as the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) are helping to change the way that scholarship is disseminated in the humanities and social sciences. Open access is not the only driver for change in these disciplines and Hazel Newton from Palgrave Macmillan explains to us that as publishing technology moves forward, the boundaries of scholarly content are changing, enabling new publication formats. Change is something we are all grappling with and Stephen Barr, the subject of our ‘Profile’, warns that “… there is no room for complacency, and the world will not guarantee survival for any company which fails to respond to the changing environment”.

We are very pleased to have such an international array of authors and articles in this edition. Our subject for ‘People in the News’ is Dr Izaskun Lacunza, the new Executive Director LIBER, the organization that represents research libraries in Europe. Moving across the globe, Jeanne Richardson provides a fascinating case study of the Arizona State Universities Library Consortium patron-driven e-book model, while Kristiina Hormia-Poutanen and her colleagues describe how a network of libraries and archives across the sectors have developed the Finnish National Digital Library. In our popular ‘Day in the Life’ feature Jayhoon Kim tells us about his day managing a library consortium in South Korea. (He has certainly inspired your Eds to make more innovative use of their iPads!). Closer to home, but no less fascinating, Catty Bennett also tells us about a day in her life at the Titchfield site library of the Office for National Statistics.

That should give you plenty to read over the next few weeks. We hope to see many of you at the 36th UKSG Conference in Bournemouth (8–10 April) – but we bring you a taster in the form of an article by Lucy Browse on how INASP (a charity working in Africa, Asia and Latin America) is working to strengthen the global research communication cycle. You will be able to ask Lucy and Kay Raseroka more about this when they give their breakout session at the conference.

Finally, this journal and UKSG Conference itself would not be possible without the fantastic ‘behind the scenes’ team – and we are delighted to introduce two of them to you in this issue: Alison Whitehorn (UKSG Business Manager) and Ally Souster (UKSG Publications Associate). What a voyage of discovery these short introductions have been – we had no idea that Ally goes on romantic tea and cake dates on her days off, or that Alison played in a rock ‘n’ roll band!

We (along with Ally and Alison) hope to see many of you in Bournemouth. We can't guarantee you the fabulous sunshine we had in Glasgow last year, but we can promise to publish some of the highlights in our next issue for those of you who are unable to make it to the Conference in person. And don't forget, if you have any ideas for topics you would like to see explored in Insights, please get in touch!

The portals to UKSG World: the front and back of ‘Hilltop’, where Business Manager Alison Whitehorn can be found in all weathers, working behind the scenes