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A Letter From Brian Napack: Our Community in Action

Wiley President and CEO, Brian Napack, shared an article on LinkedIn about Our Community in Action and the critical role of Research and Education during this global crisis.  It is an open letter to our communities—the millions of researchers, educators, learners and corporate partners that are counting on us to stand with them and meet this difficult challenge together. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 11:03 am EDT

At Wiley, we are privileged to sit at the table with a global community of scientists, researchers and educators who, every day, work to drive the world forward. Their mission, on an ordinary day, is to tap into the vast reservoir of human potential to answer important questions, generate new insights and, ultimately, advance the global human condition.

These are no ordinary days

Perhaps like you, I began 2020 with energy, optimism and an ambitious agenda. Our Wiley research colleagues were tracking the new virus emerging in China, but it had not yet registered as a global threat. My short term plans included visiting our colleagues in India, and I saw no reason to adjust.

As I headed to Bangalore on February 2, we were closely watching the growing health crisis in Wuhan. The novel coronavirus had been declared a global public health emergency, and we had just shut down our Beijing and Shanghai offices. In the following days, cases began appearing across the world, and soon we, like many companies, went work-from-home worldwide.

In a few short weeks, a distant threat had become a clear and present danger. 

COVID-19 has now caused levels of human suffering, fear, and disruption that have changed all of our lives. Borders, businesses and schools around the world have closed. Hospitals have been stretched to capacity, and many millions have been put out of work. People everywhere are carrying double loads of stress, taking care of children and families while trying to make ends meet.

When will we find vaccines and therapies? How can we support the affected and their families? How can we help the unemployed millions? Can our institutions withstand the strain? When and how can we restart the global economy and return to some sort of normal?

Daunting questions. But, at Wiley, we know the answers are within reach, and we know where they will come from.

Research in Action

Within days of the coronavirus outbreak, the research community mobilized. Doctors, virologists, epidemiologists, life scientists, economists and others began to ask questions, gather data, conduct research and share information. At record pace, scientists sequenced the genome of the virus and, in real-time, shared their findings globally.  In many places, research labs were converted to extend the healthcare system’s COVID-19 testing capacity.  Wiley’s Journal of Medical Virology published one of the first studies on the possible cause of the outbreak. Through preprints, press articles, and published papers, researchers are establishing historical connections to known pathogens, predicting the pandemic’s spread, developing tests, and creating protocols to both contain and treat the virus.

At Wiley, we have been doing everything we can to empower the scientific and healthcare communities. We have made all relevant research from our journals broadly available. We are speeding peer review and production processes, while continuing to ensure the highest standards. To meet the surging demand for our journals, books and databases from researchers in remote settings, we have partnered with library federations to ensure full off-campus access.  And we’re working with GetUsPPE.org to address the critical shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline health workers.

Today, the research community is throwing everything in its antiviral arsenal at this pandemic. We are all hopeful that this will soon result in the development and deployment of validated therapeutic approaches to both treating and preventing COVID-19. 

Education in Action

As schools and universities shut their doors, the education community also mobilized to ensure the world’s teachers and learners could continue their essential work. Educators and administrators quickly devised plans to move in-person classes online. Teachers began rapidly redesigning lesson plans. Digital platforms were brought online, and new communication, instructional and assessment approaches were scrambled into action. Almost overnight, the pursuit of diplomas and degrees went virtual.

Wiley’s Education teams mobilized with them, delivering hundreds of webinars in the design and delivery of online education. We opened our catalog of digital academic courseware to quickly get students everywhere online and studying. We are providing education support services to ensure teachers and students succeed in this new mode of operation. As corporations have struggled to operate virtually, Wiley’s Professional Learning teams have stepped in with training, content and support to help teams operate effectively while continuing to learn and grow.

As we work together to solve immediate challenges, we are also, together, reimagining academic and partnership models for the future to ensure affordable access for all to life-changing education in the post COVID-19 world.

Our community is delivering solutions

In this crisis moment, we have seen the Research and Education communities at their best. They have faced an unprecedented challenge by leaning forward, accelerating and innovating. To move faster and deliver more, they have been fundamentally rethinking centuries-old approaches to scientific inquiry and to teaching and learning. And it is working.

Already, researchers are delivering real, practical, scientifically valid solutions that are arming the global health community with powerful weapons to battle COVID-19.

Already, educators are finding ways to deliver powerful virtual learning experiences so that students and professionals continue to be armed with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the post COVID-19 economy. 

Our mission has never been more important

For over 200 years, Wiley has navigated periods of trial and uncertainty by remaining committed to our communities and dedicated to our mission – to advance knowledge and learning. Never has this mission been more essential, or the success of our communities been more consequential.

We endured the War of 1812, the Industrial Revolution, the Spanish Flu, and the Great Depression. Now, Wiley’s 6,700 colleagues are helping the world’s researchers, educators, students and professionals carry out their critical missions so that we can all endure this moment of global crisis.

I am humbled by our team’s commitment to keeping the Wiley ship sailing forward. They continue to make a real difference every day. My enduring gratitude, and that of the Wiley family, our leadership and our Board goes out to every one of them.

Wiley stands together with scientists, researchers and educators worldwide, ready to overcome this difficult challenge together with grit and ingenuity. We stand together in support and admiration of the heroes on the frontlines in the healthcare system, in government agencies, and in our communities, who are all sacrificing so much to keep us safe and healthy.

The road ahead

Yes, these are no ordinary days. And the days and months ahead will be even more challenging.

But, at Wiley, we know the boundless capacity of the Research and Education communities to solve problems, to have impact, and to move the world forward. This fills us with great optimism for the future.

Onward, together.

Brian Napack, President and CEO, Wiley

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