An impressive gathering of academics, editors and technologists gathered at Stanford University (California, USA) in March for a colloquium titled Rethinking the future of science communication. The participants considered the role of a journal article as “just one node in the chain” of communication and for disparate groups to engage in the “ecosystem of objects” surrounding scientific discourse. Access was discussed, of course, but alongside filtering, annotation and interaction. The colloquium covered a lot of ground and the summary is a rich resource for anyone interested in how, why, when, and where we may be communicating scientific findings in the future. Similar conversations took place at the Society for Scholarly Publishing's recent annual conference (30 May-1 June; Arlington, Virginia, USA), which included a panel discussion on the roles of publishers in future scholarly communication ('Publishers: what are they good for?') in a world where a scholarly journal (e.g. Journal of Digital Humanities) can be created entirely from curated open-access content from blogs, social media and repositories. You can read summaries of this and other sessions from the conference on the Scholarly Kitchen blog.