LPC Blog

The Library Publishing Coalition Blog is used to share news and updates about the LPC and the Library Publishing Forum, to draw attention to items of interest to the community, and to publish informal commentaries by LPC members and friends.

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July 1, 2020

LPForum20: Accessibility beyond web standards for improving User Experience


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series

By Israel Cefrin, PKP


Improving the usability of Open Journal Systems (OJS) is a current concern and goal of the Public Knowledge Project (PKP). Since the OJS3 release in 2016, PKP has undergone usability testing to assess current and new features. Likewise, this version was the first to include a better approach  to navigate in the Dashboard using the keyboard to manage submissions. For accessibility purposes, the interaction with a website must include keyboard navigation, since it is considered a basic concept of input. Hence, any interface needs to allow users to interact with it using a keyboard only rather than a mouse.

Since this initial effort in 2016, PKP is aware of accessibility issues in OJS that could prevent the use of the software by people with disabilities (PWD). These issues are related either to the dashboard or user interface and the public reader interface which is managed by themes.Currently, OJS themes that PKP shares to the community are responsive. These themes are templates that adapt the look and feel of journals. They can be used with small screens like smartphones or tablets, but are not fully accessible for desktop users.

The first step to Accessibility – Themes

PKP Sprint – Accessibility Working Group (Vancouver 2019 / Photo: Marisa McDonald – PKP)

Motivated by the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) (legislation in the Canadian province of Ontario) an Accessibility Working Group (AWG) was formed at the PKP sprint during the 2019 Library Publishing Forum in Vancouver, Canada. The initial task for this working group was to state the implications to the community and Canadian institutions that use OJS regarding the AODA and accessibility for their journals’ websites. At this time, a roadmap was devised to guide related work.

Group members agreed, as the first practical in software development terms, that tackling accessibility issues for the OJS Default Theme should be the main task to pursue. Moreover, it would require an assessment of the current state and a trackable action plan to turn it fully or, at least the most compliant to, accessibility guidelines and standards.

OJS Default Theme in the PKP Demo site

Accessibility assessment and Web standards

Moving forward, it was decided that evaluating the OJS interface would require an external expert. Even though the internal development team was working with designers, developers, and researchers, it was clear that the workload for auditing would demand a seasoned professional in the accessibility field.

We had a broad idea that the assessment would cover automatic and manual test validation, and we were pretty sure that achieving Web Content Access Guideline (WCAG) compliance with level AA ought to be our success indicator. In fact, the most automatic accessibility validation tools usually report results comparing to the WCAG compliance level.  Our external vendor for accessibility auditing, however, brought us a different but complementary understanding: that the compliance level to Web Standards can not be the final goal, but rather a  way to achieve a more accessible website. 

It turned out that for  comprehensive accessibility auditing, we should go through the same path that we used to follow for usability testing sessions. OJS3 was released after testing and feedback from users, i.e. authors and editors that were final users of it. Our vendor would provide an audit report based on testing by people with disabilities (PWD) using their own devices enabled with assistive technology (AT).

VoiceOver is the Assistive Technology built-in on macOS/iOS devices

In fact, we wouldn’t ignore WCAG but go further in the user experience (UX) evaluation. Even though it is possible, and reasonably straight forward to enable screen readers apps on macOS, Windows or Linux desktop, it is not easy for an ordinary or a heavy user to emulate a PWD user behaviour as long they are navigating with AT aid.   The same applies to smartphones and tablets. For example, It is possible to enable VoiceOver in iOS devices, however, using it to navigate and run into the issues that a real PWD does, is much different. 

The auditing process resulted in a better understanding of an inclusive design process. We have received feedback from people that rely on AT to access the internet. Furthermore, improvements that can be implemented from their report will also benefit every user, including those that don’t rely on any AT.

Outcomes from the auditing

The audit report from this initial work is under a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement with our external vendor. We can, however, share that, this document helped us to file issues in an Accessibility project in Github. It is helpingPKP to manage issues and for our  community members to track, collaborate, and verify the work that it is already done. 

Accessibility Project in Github: https://github.com/pkp/pkp-lib/projects/16


Currently, the OJS Default Theme is being adjusted and tested internally. Every issue, when moved to the “Ready for Review/Testing” card is tested against a set of operational system (OS) and browsers with AT enabled. Even though we can not emulate a PWD user, it is possible to make quick checks and testings. This accessible theme is planned to be released with OJS 3.3 version. The release candidate should be available to the public in 2020. Before the final release, this theme will be assessed once more by our external vendor. From this final assessment, we will generate an Accessibility Statement or a related Voluntary Product Accessibility Template (VPAT) document for the theme. This document will state possible existing hurdles and workarounds for remaining issues. More than reports or compliance documents, the main goal is to achieve a high level of true accessibility in the public reader interface. That way, we will be going towards tackling the second part of this initiative: making the OJS Dashboard accessible as well.


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June 30, 2020

LPForum20: Leveraging a Library Journal for Grounding and Growing a Library Press Journal Program


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series

By Tracy MacKay-Ratliff, Perry Collins, Chelsea Johnston, and Laurie Taylor

Click on the image to download poster.

Collaboration as Foundation

Launched in 2018, SOURCE has evolved into a recurring publication and hallmark of the LibraryPress@UF (LP@UF) program. While building upon a familiar model of the in-house magazine, SOURCE increasingly serves as a platform for public scholarship that draws on contributions from the University of Florida Libraries’ employees, students, and partners. Situated within a very large academic research library with almost 300 employees and seven branches across campus, the magazine makes visible the individuals who bring projects to fruition and highlights connective threads across units and collections. SOURCE has featured 27 unique authors in its three published issues.

SOURCE relies on a collaborative editorial model, with a standing committee made up of volunteers from across the Libraries, a representative from Libraries Communications, and the four-person LP@UF team. This team—the authors of this post—act respectively as Editor-in-Chief (Laurie Taylor), Managing Editor & Designer (Tracy MacKay-Ratliff), and Associate Editors (Perry Collins and Chelsea Johnston). The committee meets on at least a quarterly basis and participates in generating and soliciting feature articles, but we have increasingly placed responsibility for final review, copyediting, and proofreading on LP@UF to avoid an onerous process of collation-by-committee.

Policies and Better Practices

We envision SOURCE as a boundary object, a common project that offers enough flexibility for different stakeholders to find and make their own meaning (Star and Griesemer, 1989). The magazine acts as a mechanism to amplify student voices and undergraduate research; to acknowledge and credit work that might otherwise be ephemeral; to forge connections across siloed parts of the Libraries; and to highlight the Libraries’ impact for our donor community. 

For the LP@UF team, SOURCE offers an opportunity for us to iteratively document and improve our policies and underlying values in ways we aim to extend across our publishing program.* This initiative has informed our approach to topics such as rights retention—all authors explicitly retain copyright in their work—and reinforced our commitment to open access as a vision that should emphasize public engagement and accessibility. 

Investing in Design & Materiality

The LP@UF program includes not only SOURCE but also projects ranging from collection catalogues to children’s literature to textbooks. Throughout these projects, we share an interest in leveraging form and design in ways that connect with our intended audience. This can lead to trade-offs, as an intentional commitment to boutique publications limits the number of projects we can accept in a given year. However, for all publications, we create at least one component (e.g., a book cover) that sets a publication apart. This allows us to provide graphic design support to all works, while recognizing workload limits.  

For SOURCE, we produce a small print run of about 400 copies per issue, but the digital PDF also evokes the materiality of a print publication through techniques such as collage, texture, and shadow. Tracy, Managing Editor & Designer, has dedicated a significant amount of time and care in building up a foundational graphic suite—including logos, fonts, and templates—as well as unique elements that represent the tone of each feature story and aid the reader in navigating a highly visual publication. 

Next Steps

For the past year, LP@UF has undertaken several projects—including a survey, a resource guide, and a dedicated graduate internship—focused on concrete ways to promote equity and justice in our work. SOURCE includes a wide variety of contributors, and the committee has a shared interest in highlighting projects that center BIPOC voices as well as other typically underrepresented communities such as non-faculty staff and students. The current rise of an antiracist movement and discussions within our own library around systemic racism have made it clear that we need to do more. Through this year, we plan to transition from implicitly shared values to better documented, formalized policies for recruiting new committee members, soliciting content and peer feedback, and prioritizing critical work and conversations. With these examples for reference and inspiration, we hope to encourage better practice among other journals partnering with LP@UF.


Star, Susan; Griesemer, James (1989). “Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, 1907-39”. Social Studies of Science. 19 (3): 387–420. doi:10.1177/030631289019003001


 * Thanks to Dave Ghamandi for his discussion of “better practices” during the closing session of the Library Publishing Forum in 2019. A focus on iterative improvement and refinement of our practices and values is crucial to LP@UF, even as we resist the notion of a single, “best” framework.

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June 30, 2020

LPForum20: Peer-to-Peer Blended Learning: A Model for Training Undergraduate Journal Editors


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series

By Calvin Chan, Christopher Chan, Shelby Haber, Portia Rayner, Keanna Wallace, and Nadiya Zuk
University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta Canada, @URIUofA

The life of an undergraduate journal is often a tumultuous one – each journal has its fair share of ups and downs. Yearly editor turnover, ineffective training, and poor team cohesion can result in the collapse of undergraduate journals. New editors may not feel prepared to handle journal workflow or make editorial decisions. This can make them less likely to be invested in the journal’s long-term success.

Last year, student editors at Spectrum, an undergraduate interdisciplinary journal at the University of Alberta, designed and organized a new editor training model. Unlike past years, which used a more traditional seminar-style training, the model focused on blended learning and team-building activities to train new editors during a weekend-long workshop. Compared to previous years, this training experience resulted in increased team unity, more communication between new and returning editors, and improved understanding of the editorial workflow.

Spectrum – An Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Student Journal

Spectrum is a student journal based out of the University of Alberta’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (URI). The URI program supports undergraduate research across all disciplines. The journal is supported by two faculty advisors and staff from URI, and publishes scholarly work in a variety of formats from all disciplines. While not all research published by Spectrum is necessarily interdisciplinary in scope or topic, all submissions are written and edited with a view to make the work accessible to readers from a variety of disciplines.

Spectrum editors preparing for an Instagram takeover.

Undergraduate journals like Spectrum offer a fantastic training ground for students to learn about the world of scholarly publishing, encourage collaboration between student editors and faculty, and expose students to publishing conventions across disciplines. But, the aspects that make student journals unique can also place them in a precarious position when it comes to editor training and journal longevity. High editor turnover creates challenges for consistency and continuity of journal processes, as well as team cohesion. These challenges underscore the need for robust editorial training that not only provides editors with the knowledge required to be effective, but also integrates team-building and social aspects.

The challenges with Spectrum’s original training model

When Spectrum launched in 2017, editors relied on the PKP School “Becoming an Editor” online course for a basic overview of the editorial process. Over 2018-2019, this evolved into a “learn one, teach one” model. Each editor was assigned to learn one module from the online course, and then teach it to the team. While editors were encouraged to make their modules as interactive as they could (e.g., incorporating group discussions), we found that lectures ultimately weren’t the best tool for facilitating team building. The training was also drawn out over the course of the academic year, with new topics aligning with the journal’s publication schedule. New editors learned about each step of the publishing process as they encountered it in the workflow, which often left editors confused about the overall “big picture” and ill-prepared to handle editorial assignments.

Everything I needed to know was there, but it wasn’t always clear where each step was heading. It’s important to be able to step back and see how all the puzzle pieces fit together. ‑Calvin (returning editor)

Coupled with the lack of focus on team-building activities and the amount of time editors dedicated to training, weekly editorial meetings often felt like “all work, and no play.” This was also a concern for journal continuity, not only in terms of keeping existing editors engaged, but also in facilitating an effective transfer of knowledge to incoming editors.

An overview of Spectrum’s peer-led, blended training model.

Reworking the Editorial Training Model

With these challenges in mind, we (the returning and outgoing student editorial board) set out in 2019 to condense and strengthen editorial training, hoping to alleviate the strain on returning editors’ time, improve the skill-building opportunities for new editors, and free up time and resources for other journal projects.

Capturing the Publishing Process Holistically

To help capture the publishing process in its entirety, and give new editors an early appreciation for the overall workflow, we condensed our editor training into a two-day weekend workshop facilitated by senior editors. Incoming editors got the opportunity to work with returning editors to prepare a mock issue from submission to publication, using an OJS sandbox that simulated Spectrum’s actual production site. This way, editors built first-hand experience using OJS, practiced communicating with authors and reviewers (these roles were taken on by returning editors), drafting correspondences, and copy-editing. Some of the activities include:

  • Learning how to navigate the OJS system from author, reviewer, and editor perspectives
  • Working in small groups to perform mock peer-review led by a returning editor
  • Working through a copy-editing exercise with a returning editor
  • Practicing drafting emails (e.g. manuscript rejection, request for revisions) to authors
New editors working on laying out a process map of the entire Spectrum publication process with help from returning editors.


At the end of the two-day workshop, new editors were able to complete a process map listing all of the major steps in the publishing process and what was involved. Using this condensed model, new and returning editors started the academic year with an improved understanding of the journal in its entirety.

Going through the process of a mock submission helped me see how each step of the publishing process is related to the others. It gave me a better understanding of the journal as a whole and helped me remember the focus of each individual step. ‑Shelby (incoming editor)


The editor Q&A panel – returning editors answer questions from new editors and share their thoughts and experience on the Spectrum editorial board.

Training as Experience to Build Team Culture

To address the challenge of team cohesion given high editor turnover, we also integrated team-building and collaboration into the entire training experience. Incoming editors were encouraged to collaborate with returning editors on specific tasks, enabling the team to build camaraderie, and to help incoming editors feel comfortable asking questions.

In between these exercises we also inserted games and other activities. These served as both a break from training and as a tool to encourage communication between editors. Some activities include:

  • Team-based jeopardy game that encouraged editors to lean on each other’s knowledge and expertise, and test their understanding of publishing concepts.
  • A modified Cranium game that included publishing-themed questions and light-hearted team challenges to build team cohesion.
  • Ice-breaker activities to give student editors a chance to learn about each other’s interests and hobbies.

I found that the team-building activities were a great way to get to know everyone in a more informal way. It created a fun atmosphere with room for silly questions — when we reconvened for our first official meeting in September, we already had a couple of running jokes from training. ‑Nadiya (incoming editor)

New and returning editors take a break from training to play a modified game of Cranium!

Both new and returning editors found that the face-to-face interaction at the training workshop helped set the stage early for cooperation and teamwork. Editors felt more comfortable reaching out to each other for help and advice both online and in-person over the summer and in the academic year.

Being able to work with actual submissions over the summer boosted my confidence during the academic year. By the time that September came around, I had already experienced corresponding between editors and reviewers, and I was used to asking my fellow editors if I wasn’t sure what to do next. ‑Shelby (incoming editor)

See an outline of our two-day training workshop here.

Opening the Door to Other Projects in the Academic Year

By addressing some of the weaknesses we observed in previous years, this training model helped open up time and resources for the team to tackle other projects. These included:

  • Peer Reviewer Workshop – Spectrum editors collaborated with the University of Alberta Libraries to develop a hands-on workshop for undergraduate and graduate students interested in learning how to perform effective and consistent peer reviews. The workshop was facilitated by library staff, with student editors assisting with a mock review exercise.
  • Themed Issue – Editors organized a call for submissions to a Sustainability-themed issue of Spectrum that will be published during the 2020/2021 academic year.
  • Journal Promotion/Outreach Activities – Editors participated in two showcase events (one hosted by U of A Libraries during Open Access Week, and one hosted by the Students’ Union promoting undergraduate research opportunities). The team also had a takeover of the Dean of Students’ Instagram account to promote the journal to prospective authors and peer-reviewers.
  • Team excursions and celebrations – With less time dedicated to training during the academic year, the team had the opportunity to organize celebratory events (e.g. Christmas party) and participate in educational excursions (e.g. touring an open-access collaboration centre for nanoscale engineering, and attending a showcase of a Voynich manuscript replica – an undeciphered 15th century codex).

These activities not only made the editorial experience more well-rounded and fun, but they also helped raise awareness of Spectrum across campus, and fostered connections with other student journals.

Challenges of the Two-Day Training Model

Despite the success that came with the two-day training model, the Spectrum team faced a few major challenges while planning and implementing the training weekend.

  • The two-day training requires significant initial planning – For a workshop in late April, editors started planning in early February. While this is a much longer time than it takes to plan lectures throughout the academic year, this first-time planning created a road-map that should make organizing easier in the future.
  • It is difficult to develop hands-on practice for the production stage – Layout and production are particularly time-consuming and technically challenging aspects. During the workshop, the editorial team chose to describe the production process only and reserved the hands-on practice for a later time in the academic year when the skills became more relevant.
  • Training at the end of the academic year – The condensed nature of the two-day workshop means that a lot of information is learned within a narrow time frame. There’s also a gap between when editors learned and applied some of the training (e.g. copyediting). While hosting the workshop at the end of April enabled new editors to practice the first steps of the publication process over the summer, it was also difficult to schedule the session around final exams. The larger the editorial board, the more difficult it will be to set a day and time that works for everyone.
  • Transitioning to a virtual environment – An unexpected issue arose when we had to cancel this year’s in-person workshop due to COVID-19. For this year, we have postponed editor recruitment and training until the beginning of the 2020/2021 academic year, and are working on plans to transition the training into a virtual environment. This will give us the opportunity to see how the training weekend works when new editors don’t have the summer to slowly work through new submissions before the academic year begins.

Overall, editors at Spectrum found that investing the time and energy into planning a condensed editor training workshop yielded great benefits for both journal productivity, but also overall enjoyment for volunteer editors. New editors are more confident in their understanding of journal workflow, and require less time for ongoing training during the publication schedule. Moving away from lecture-style modules and towards team-based blended learning activities not only made training much more engaging and exciting, but also improved editor confidence and fostered friendship and camaraderie between editors! The whole team was also able to explore and strengthen other aspects of journal business: outreach, community engagement, and content development.


Special thanks to the past student editors who were involved in planning and implementing the training model: Abhi Aggarwal, Natalie Eng and Susannah Mackenzie-Freeman. We also thank Spectrum’s faculty advisors, Dr. Lisa Claypool and Dr. Joao Soares, URI Team Lead, Crystal Snyder, and University of Alberta Library Publishing Program staff for their ongoing support of Spectrum’s work.

June 29, 2020

LPC welcomes a new member: San Francisco State University


Please join us in welcoming a new member to the Library Publishing Coalition: San Francisco State University! The voting rep for SFSU is Melissa Seelye, mseelye@sfsu.edu.

A statement from San Francisco State University:

The J. Paul Leonard Library at San Francisco State University empowers its University constituency with lifelong learning skills to identify, find, evaluate, use, and communicate information in promotion of excellence in scholarship, knowledge, and understanding. In recognition of our institution’s commitment to social justice, the Library is working to expand campus awareness of and participation in open access publishing. To that end and as part of the 23-campus California State University system, the Library supports a systemwide institutional repository, open access journal hosting, and affordable instructional material initiatives.

June 24, 2020

LPC welcomes a new member: Middle Tennessee State University


The Library Publishing Coalition is delighted to welcome Middle Tennessee State University as a new member!

A statement from Middle Tennessee State University:

The James E. Walker Library was built in 1999 and named after the 8th president of Middle Tennessee State University, Dr. James E. Walker. The library has almost a million volumes on its shelves, more than 11,00 print journals, access to over 900,000 e-books and more than 100,000 e-journals. The Library has a growing digital scholarship collection, institutional repository, and open access journal hosting. We are currently leading efforts on the campus for wide scale adoption of OER. As the intellectual center of the university, the Walker Library is dedicated to being a campus leader in innovative research, teaching, and learning, to providing a positive user experience for the MTSU Community, and to fostering an academic community.

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June 22, 2020

LPForum20: Institutional Repository Collaboration: Providing Flexibility and Responsiveness with Hyku


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series

By Gretchen Gueguen and Amanda Hurford


Partnering consortia, PALNI (the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana) and PALCI (the Pennsylvania Academic Library Consortium) are collaborating on a new initiative to produce an affordable, open-source, collaborative institutional repository (IR) solution based on the Hyku software. By creating a shared platform, the two consortia hope to create a flexible and responsive repository service — one they can manage collaboratively in order to respond to both longstanding and emerging IR needs presented by their constituents. 

Supporting Library Publishing

Consortia offering a low cost IR platform option to their partner libraries open doors for those with shrinking budgets and staff.  This project intends to better enable consortially supported libraries to participate in library publishing of open educational resources (OER), electronic theses and dissertations (ETD), and present the potential for institutions to further grow their own tailored local publishing programs.

Hyku for Consortia

Hyku offers an collaborative IR solution that is:

  • Open source
  • Multi-tenant
  • Sustainable
  • Customizable

Hyku for Consortia, a project supported by an IMLS National Leadership Grant for Libraries,  allows us to further develop, test, and evaluate the existing Hyku product in order to move toward a production-ready service. Notch 8, a web development firm with substantial Hyku expertise and a leader of and major contributor to the Samvera community, has been identified as the project’s lead application developer. Many of the considerations driving the direction of this project involve evolving consortial needs, the repository landscape, challenging new materials, and interest in/obstacles blocking libraries obtaining their own IR.

Evolving Consortial Needs

  • Library consortia have been around for a long time, primarily created as a response to rising serials prices
  • Recently many consortial groups have evolved their mission to take advantage of other economies of scale
  • One area of development is in the hosting of repositories, but available solutions don’t meet consortial needs.

Repository Landscape

  • Our libraries want an alternative to expensive hosted solutions and recognize that individual repositories create information silos
  • The open-source and commercial IR landscape offers few options for a consortially hosted, multi-tenant solution

Challenging New Materials

  • Many libraries are looking for solutions that handle multiple types of material, both their own digitized collections, as well as scholarly output and institutional records
  • Other new formats, like Open Educational Resources, need an infrastructure that can be adapted to their unique needs

Libraries and IRs

  • Libraries have a lot of obstacles to offering repository services including cost, management resources, lack of staff expertise, and software without the features they need.
  • PALNI found that 70% of their libraries didn’t have an IR and 65% would be interested in a consortium managed resource.

Development Plans

Working with a team of members from PALCI and PALNI libraries defining specifications, our project is developing the software further to manage consortial workflows through things like administrative tools and custom branding and theming features. We are also developing specialized features for OER and ETD resources. In addition to technical developments, we will also be exploring how consortia can work together to share staff resources and infrastructure to create a service that is collaborative, relies on shared governance, is cost-effective, and meets community needs.  We are excited to contribute to this platform, and provide a more flexible and responsive IR service model, innovating to support library IR work and publishing today.

You can find out more about our project and keep up to date with developments at: https://www.hykuforconsortia.org/

Gretchen Gueguen
Digital Projects and Communications Manager

Amanda Hurford
Scholarly Communications Director



June 17, 2020

Building a Library Publishing Research Community


At this year’s Library Publishing Forum, members of the LPC Research Committee presented a session on “Cultivating Community with the Library Publishing Research Agenda.” The research agenda, released in April, offers an overview of six topics of importance to library publishers: Assessment, Labor, Accessibility, Non-traditional Research Outputs, Peer Review, and Partnerships. The document is intended to serve as a starting point for individuals interested in learning about and conducting research on library publishing, and aligns with the Research Committee’s mission to promote research within the field.

During our session at the forum, we aimed to build on the release of the agenda by giving members of the LPC community the opportunity to create connections with one another and discuss different ways in which the agenda could be used as both an educational resource and a potential catalyst for original research projects. Using breakout rooms, session attendees divided into groups centered around the topics covered in the research agenda, giving them an opportunity to connect with individuals with similar interests. The members of the Research Committee participated in these group discussions as well, and we enjoyed the opportunity to engage in illuminating conversations and learn about ways in which the committee can continue to support research in library publishing.

As a next step in fostering community in this area, the Research Committee is pleased to announce the launch of the LPC Research Interests Match Program. This resource is available to individuals interested in finding collaborators for research projects, conference proposals, and other scholarly endeavors. Participation is open to all, including individuals at non-LPC member institutions. To identify yourself as a potential collaborator, fill out the Research Interests Match form. You can also look for potential collaborators on the response sheet.

In the coming year, the Research Committee will continue to explore ways to foster engagement with the research agenda and develop a strong community of practice around research in library publishing.

LPC Research Committee
Ian Harmon, Chair
Talea Anderson
Jason Boczar
Elizabeth Bedford
Corinne Guimont
Matthew Hunter
Sarah Wipperman

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June 15, 2020

LPForum20: Leveraging Library Expertise for Student Journal Success


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series

By Stephanie Savage and Gavin Hayes


Download pptx with audio (15.6 MB)

Download pdf with notes




At the University of British Columbia undergraduate research is a growing area of interest both for students and the institution. While UBC is actively supporting increased opportunities for undergraduate research, this interest has yet to extend to student publications.  Despite the value of undergraduate journals and the central role they can play in the research process, there is little formalized support available to them and most rely on varying levels of financial and mentoring support from their affiliated departments. This presentation will outline a small grant-funded project to provide services and support for undergraduate student journals on campus as one initiative to engage undergraduates in the research process. 

To begin we will summarize the four main objectives that we entered into the project with:

  1. To conduct an environmental scan of the student journal landscape
  2. To manage and grow a community of practice for student journal editorial staff
  3. To provide targeted professional development opportunities for student journal staff
  4. To encourage journals to adopt practices and policies that will enhance sustainability in the face of high turnover rates among journal staff

We will then outline how we operationalized each of these objectives throughout the course of the project. Specifically, we will speak to the identification and outreach strategies we employed when contacting journals and will share the results of the data we collected, including the results of a survey we distributed to student journal editors asking them to share their workflows and potential areas for professional development opportunities. Additionally we will point participants to the resources we have created for the student journals and our plans to facilitate better communication and knowledge sharing among them.

We will also speak to some of the challenges of doing this work, including the difficulty of engaging students, who are often busy and hard to schedule in-person events with, and the impact of high turnover on a sustained outreach campaign.   

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June 9, 2020

LPForum20: “OK Publisher”: Undergraduate Internships as a Model for Sustainable Publication


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series

By Jonathan Grunert, SUNY Geneseo, @j_grunert

Note: Nicole Callahan, a student editor for Proceedings of GREAT Day, contributed to the proposal and planning for the presentation at LPF 2020. The COVID-19 crisis limited her involvement in writing this short essay.

Proceedings of GREAT Day is an undergraduate research journal that shares research presented at SUNY Geneseo’s annual undergraduate research symposium. GREAT (Geneseo Recognizing Excellence, Achievement, & Talent) Day has been a campus staple since 2006, and the Proceedings began highlighting research from the symposium in 2009. 

Producing this journal has, since its founding, been a student-centered endeavor. Student editors have been the primary creators of the journal, as they communicate with authors, suggest article revisions, copyedit texts, and format the journal. Though the faculty supervisor has overseen these operations, students have been central to doing the work of publication.

An internship program makes the publication of these Proceedings sustainable:

First, the timeline for publication works well within the structure of the academic year. GREAT Day happens every April, and we publish the journal on that day, a natural end date for each cycle. Faculty sponsors nominate work between GREAT Day and September, and the student editors decide which articles to include by the beginning of October. During the Fall semester, the editors work with their authors to address any changes to their content, ensuring that the articles are concise, with taut arguments. During this semester, students learn about the value of peer review. Though what we do is not blind peer review—the reviewers and authors know who’s responsible for the writing—it’s an important piece in understanding a key aspect of research as a conversation. In the Spring semester, editors work with formatting the articles. They copy edit articles, format them according to specific guidelines, and learn a publishing software. The natural break between semesters allows for bifurcating our focus into content and format, though of course there is some overlap.

Second, students learn to read and critique research conducted in disciplines outside their own majors. Though these students are engaged in a liberal arts education in their undergraduate coursework, working through articles by their classmates is an enriching experience, especially as these editors are in the later years of their undergraduate education, entrenched in their disciplinary majors. And students benefit from this different kind of approach to other fields of study—Psychology, English, and Biology students read papers from History, Math, and Communications students with perspectives that encourage different kinds of clarity from those articles.

Third, students receive academic credit for this different kind of academic experience. Yes, they do work that creates a product the College anticipates each year, but they learn a great deal along the way. Academic credit provides some incentive for completing the work well, and their experience couples with learning outcomes related to scholarly communications, library publishing, and the research lifecycle.

This model relies on an internship for student editors, a model that is inherently sustainable, despite students working for only one or two years. This is accomplished by self-motivated interns, who know other self-motivated students who can continue the project. The faculty supervisors have worked very little on the practical measures of creating the journal; their work is in guiding students through the process.

Finally, open access publishing is a sustainability-minded practice, both in terms of environmental impact and project longevity. A limited number of journal issues are printed: some go to the library and administrators, others to student authors and their faculty sponsors. But the journal exists primarily online. For years, its online presence was in a publicly available drive; now, it exists in an institutional repository. Students see the value in publishing the work in an open format, so they can share their work, whether as an editor or author, with their family and friends instantly, without any imagined geopolitical or financial barriers.

In this way, students learn that the value of information production and distribution is not only in what the research says; it’s in the labor of presenting that research. When the research is presented in a format that relies on subscriptions, that sets up a boundary that some readers cannot overcome. But when their work can be presented in an open platform, researchers can dismiss insistence on traditional publication with an “OK Publisher,” and sustain an openness for research.

Library Publishing Coalition Quarterly Update
May 19, 2020

LPC Quarterly Update


Check out our latest Quarterly Update! It includes:

  • Community News
    • Two new publications: Library Publishing Competencies & Library Publishing Research Agenda
    • Winners of the 2020 Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing
    • Applications for Library Publishing Curriculum Board Now Open
    • New LPC Board Members
  • Library Publishing Forum
    • Slides and video now available
  • Updates from the Library Publishing Workflows Project, including the Library Publishing Workflows Pain Points campaign

Read the Update

Banner image for 2020 Virtual Library Publishing Forum
May 4, 2020

LPForum20: Make the Open Access Directory Better for All: A Library Publishers Edit-a-thon


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series

By Julie Goldman, Sally Gore, Lisa Palmer, and Regina Raboin

This blog post is brought to you by the Editorial Team of the Journal of eScience Librarianship. 

About the Journal of eScience Librarianship

The Journal of eScience Librarianship (JeSLIB) is published by the Lamar Soutter Library at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. JeSLIB is an open access, peer-reviewed journal that explores the role of librarians in supporting scientific research through services such as research data management, data literacy, data curation, data sharing, and librarians embedded on research teams. 

Launched in 2012 with funding from the National Library of Medicine (NLM), the journal focuses on the development of eScience librarianship as a discipline, while also promoting open access and the transformation in scholarly communication. The journal emerged as an outgrowth of numerous eScience outreach projects and conference meetings that took place in New England among science and health sciences librarians, and continues now as a global effort with Editorial Board members from around the country, and a global readership.

Since 2012, the Journal of eScience Librarianship has published 135 articles, including four video articles, and has 163,950 downloads (as of February 28, 2020).

JESLIB metrics
Image citation: “Journal of eScience Librarianship Metrics” by Julie Goldman CC0

utilizes data from Altmetric and PlumX to track where readers are sharing articles to, and usage metrics are displayed for each article in the journal. In addition, JeSLIB is indexed in Google Scholar, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), The Informed Librarian Online, and is in the process of being reviewed for indexing by Scopus. Most articles are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to encourage maximum dissemination and re-use of JeSLIB content. 


Banner image for 2020 Virtual Library Publishing Forum
May 1, 2020

LPForum20: Fellows Forum


Editor’s note: When we changed the 2020 Library Publishing Forum to a virtual conference format, we gave presenters the option of converting their presentations into blog posts. This is a guest post in that series. In this case, the post is also an entry in the ongoing Fellows Journal series

By Talea Anderson (Washington State University) and AJ Boston (Murray State University), 2019-21 Library Publishing Coalition Fellows

AJ Boston, Apr. 24: Hi Talea. Thanks for agreeing to transition our Fellows Forum panel for the 2020 Forum into this collaborative blog post. The way I imagine this going is that we write back and forth in a shared Google Doc, prompt each other about the topics we broadly recognize the other had an interest in speaking about at the Forum, and then spiral out organically from there. A caveat to that “organically” being that we can edit and condense as we go along. (I’ll refrain from editing this initial block of text, for the sake of the reader.) Before I hop into some of the questions I have about your experience as an LPC Fellow, is there anything you want to add?

Talea Anderson, Apr. 27: Thanks, AJ—this sounds great. You know, the first thing that comes to mind is how you talked early on in the fellowship about your experience with libraries and library publishing as a parent. I think, in light of COVID-19, that type of reflection might be of particular interest to others in this community. It’s so challenging right now juggling work, kids…mental health….

AJ, Apr. 27-28: Yes! I saw someone on Twitter say they wanted to give 100% to parenting or working, rather than half-assing both. I feel like that. Our five-person household has been homebound almost every day for the past six weeks. Within that span of time, I was originally scheduled to attend the Library Tech Conference, present at the in-person Library Publishing Forum, and coordinate my campus student scholars week. 

The last thing I did in-person was coordinate a statewide student poster event at our capitol in March. Virus warning signs were beginning to really register, but public response hadn’t caught up yet. The SXSW cancellation announcement came just the day after we held our event, and that was the first Big Announcement that I can recall. LPC announced the cancellation of the in-person Forum on the following Monday. I felt guilty not canceling our poster event, but I was still bouncing back from a tremendous family loss a couple weeks earlier. In hindsight, I see why my judgment was cloudy.

The campus scholars week event I coordinate was scheduled for April, and by that time students were attending class remotely. I was working from home by then too. In light of the burden that students and teachers were facing with the transition to remote learning, we held a virtual version for those students who genuinely needed the opportunity and we postponed work on our companion student journal. A fraction of the students who would normally have participated did so; I respect each student who opted out. I wasn’t teaching this semester, so I can only imagine what this abrupt shift has been like for them. My closest glimpse to the post-apocalyptic Zoomiverse is my service on the LPC Program Committee. 


April 23, 2020

Announcing the winners of the 2020 Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing


As participation in library publishing grows, the development of a strong evidence base to inform best practices and demonstrate impact is essential. To encourage research and theoretical work about library publishing services, the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) gives an annual Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing. The award recognizes significant and timely contributions to library publishing theory and practice. 

The LPC Research Committee is delighted to announce that this year’s award recipients are Katrina Fenlon, Megan Senseney, Maria Bonn, and Janet Swatscheno for their article “Humanities scholars and library-based digital publishing: New forms of publication, new audiences, new publishing roles.” Library publishing programs need to constantly adapt to the ever-changing needs of their publishing partners, and this article provides rich survey data for practitioners to use to inform their own strategies for addressing the needs of their humanities scholar partners. The results of the survey conducted by Katrina, Megan, Maria, and Janet will provide invaluable data for publishing programs looking to expand their services to support the advancement of digital scholarship projects in the humanities , increase the diversity of supported scholarly outputs, support new modes of authorship, and increase the reach and impact of that scholarship through interdisciplinary and openly accessible publishing. The survey instrument itself will also be a useful tool for institutions interested in tailoring these results for their own particular communities.

The authors will receive a cash award of $250 and travel support to attend a future in-person Forum. They would also normally be formally recognized at the 2020 LPC conference reception, but in this time of decreased physical contact let’s all celebrate this achievement virtually just as robustly! 

In addition, the LPC Research Committee would also like to award an honorable mention to Kate Shuttleworth, Kevin Stranack, and Alison Moore for their article “Course Journals: Leveraging Library Publishing to Engage Students at the Intersection of Open Pedagogy, Scholarly Communications, and Information Literacy.” The committee felt that the intersection of pedagogy and journal publishing explored in this article was an exciting new avenue for Library Publishing programs to explore, and looks forward to continued growth of partnerships such as these across the LPC community.

Please join us in congratulating the Katrina, Megan, Maria, and Janet, as well as all the other nominees on their valuable contributions to our shared body of knowledge.

April 13, 2020

LPC Resources Roundup: Journal Best Practices Checklist


We know that many library publishers are dealing with new staffing and workload patterns while physical locations are closed. To make it easier for you to draw on LPC’s resources during this time, we are pulling them together into a series of themed “roundups.” This first one is an action-oriented list of resources to support work on your journals:
This isn’t a new resource or a comprehensive list of best practices for journals – it just pulls our existing resources together into a format that may make it easier for you to hand off work to others or to frame a project to use available staff time. Look out for the next two planned roundups, on professional development and research.

Research Agenda promo image
April 9, 2020

Announcing the Library Publishing Research Agenda


The Library Publishing Coalition Research Committee is pleased to announce the release of the Library Publishing Research Agenda. The agenda offers exploratory overviews of six topics of importance to library publishers: Assessment, Labor, Accessibility, Non-traditional Research Outputs, Peer Review, and Partnerships. The document is divided into sections corresponding to each of these topics, which include brief descriptions of the topics, potential research questions, and a list of relevant resources. 

Cover of the PDF version of the AgendaHow to use the Research Agenda

The research agenda is offered as a starting point for individuals interested in learning about and conducting research related to library publishing, and aligns with the LPC Research Committee’s mission to promote research that can provide an evidence base to inform best practices for library publishers. 

We encourage the members of the library publishing community to use this document in a variety of ways, including purposes aimed at both research and practice. The research questions in each section can be used to develop research projects that investigate general trends in library publishing, or as a means of examining current practices and policies within one’s own institution. The relevant resources listed may be used as a starting point for individuals simply interested in learning more about aspects of library publishing, regardless of whether they are interested in conducting research in that area. 

This document is by no means comprehensive, and many highly important topics have been left unaddressed, including diversity, equity, and inclusion; resource allocation; and sustainability. Our hope is that the document will be a living one, and that it will continue to develop and evolve to address these and other areas of importance to library publishing programs. Hence, we hope that this document can serve as a foundation to which the community can contribute and that these contributions can be incorporated into future versions of the research agenda. 

Where to check it out

The Library Publishing Research Agenda can be accessed in PDF (generously hosted by Purdue University Libraries) and in HTML. As with all LPC publications, the Research Agenda is released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, and we encourage others to share and adapt it as widely as possible. Questions and comments about this document can be emailed to contact@librarypublishing.org

The creators of the Library Publishing Research Agenda

The Library Publishing Research Agenda  was created by the Library Publishing Coalition Research Committee: Nicky Agate, Jennifer Beamer, Elizabeth Bedford,  Jason Boczar, Karen Bjork, Corinne Guimont, Ian Harmon, Matthew Hunter, Annie Johnson, Sarah Wipperman, Vanessa Gabler (Board liaison); Melanie Schlosser (Educopia Institute). Production: Nancy Adams (copyediting) and Hannah Ballard (design). Educopia Institute.

Library Publishing Competencies promo image
April 9, 2020

Announcing the Library Publishing Competencies


With thanks to the Library Publishing Coalition community for its input, the LPC Professional Development Committee is now releasing the final version of the Library Publishing Competencies. This document provides a broad list of skills and knowledge useful in the development and provision of publishing services in libraries. 

The Competencies is organized into three sections: publishing (the work libraries do to publish content), program development and management (the work involved in creating, managing, and sustaining a publishing program), and teaching and consulting (reflecting both the consulting work libraries do with publishing partners and their larger educational mission around publishing on campus). 

Cover of the PDF version of the competencies

Why Library Publishing Competencies?

Library publishing is a fast-changing discipline that requires library publishers to engage with an environment of continual learning and research in order to keep up to date on publishing practices. Due to this fast pace, a collection of guidelines and competencies to support and educate library publishers is a valuable asset, especially when roles or programs are newly formed, in early stages, or in transition.

How to use this publication

We encourage the community to use this document in many ways, both in their library publishing career and for program development. For example, library publishers may reference the Competencies when creating or seeking out professional development. Or, they may use the document to identify skills needed for new or transitioning  positions. Though no one position can encompass all of these competencies, this broad list can help programs think about positions in context and identify which skills are essential to the work being performed. Finally, we encourage individual library publishers to use the competencies to identify both their strengths and areas in which they are interested in growing. 

Where to check it out

The Library Publishing Competencies can be accessed in PDF (generously hosted by Purdue University Libraries) and in HTML. As with all LPC publications, the Competencies is released under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, and we encourage others to share and adapt it as widely as possible. Questions and comments about this document can be emailed to contact@librarypublishing.org

The creators of the Library Publishing Competencies

The LPC Professional Development Committee created this document as part of their mission to provide professional development for those in the LPC membership and in the larger community of library publishers.  Created by: Allison Brown, Emily Cole, Adrian Ho, Amanda Hurford, Melanie Kowalski, Ally Laird, Jessica Lange, Devin Soper, Carrye Syma; Ted Polley and Christine Fruin (Board liaisons); Melanie Schlosser (LPC staff). Production: Nancy Adams (copyediting) and Hannah Ballard (design). Educopia Institute.

March 31, 2020

Mark Your Calendars: 2020 Virtual Library Publishing Forum, May 4-8, 2020


The Library Publishing Forum Program Committee is delighted to announce that the 2020 Library Publishing Forum will continue as a virtual conference!

The Forum will be held May 4-8, 2020, between 12 PM and 5 PM ET via Zoom web conferencing. The program will run over the course of one week, incorporating presentations with live Q&A, workshops, and interactive sessions.

The entire conference will be free, with registrations open to all. We look forward to providing a robust program with opportunities for learning, professional development, and connection. The schedule and instructions for registration are forthcoming. We encourage you to take a moment to hold the dates on your calendar.

We are very excited about this new direction and thankful for the ongoing support from the LPC Program Committee, our presenters, and our sponsors in keeping the Forum moving forward.

We look forward to seeing you in May!

LPC Forum 2020
March 12, 2020

The 2020 Library Publishing Forum and COVID-19


In light of ongoing developments surrounding COVID-19, including increasing travel restrictions, the Library Publishing Coalition Board and Program Committee have made the difficult decision to cancel the in-person Library Publishing Forum. We feel that the community- and people-centered spirit of the LPC is reflected by this decision to support public health initiatives and maintain the safety of the larger community. We took this step in consultation with our local host, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, to whom we are deeply grateful for their diligent work on behalf of the community of library publishers. 

The Program Committee will discuss the feasibility of a virtual conference or other programming to be held either during the week of May 4-8 or later this year. Please stay tuned for further announcements and plan to engage with the library publishing community from where you are! Announcements about virtual programming will be made via LPC’s public news list, which you can sign up for on our homepage

We deeply regret the necessity of this step, and we look forward to convening again in person in 2021.

March 10, 2020

Update on the Library Publishing Forum and COVID-19


The Library Publishing Coalition is closely monitoring the situation around the COVID-19 virus and the resulting travel restrictions. As of right now, it is our intention to move forward with the Library Publishing Forum as planned, but we recognize that the situation is evolving quickly. We are in consultation with our host, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, to actively investigate all options for the conference, as well as appropriate timelines for decision-making. We will have a more definitive statement and decision ready by March 23 at the latest.

The Program Committee and LPC staff will also be considering the possibility of other options should the in-person event be cancelled. We will provide further information here when it is available.

In the meantime, we recommend keeping an eye on the CDC’s COVID-19 website and the state of Massachusetts to inform your travel planning.

March 4, 2020

Call for Applications: Library Publishing Curriculum Editorial Board Members


The LPC Board seeks applications for the Library Publishing Curriculum Editorial Board. Created in partnership with the Educopia Institute as part of a project generously funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Library Publishing Curriculum is moving to its permanent home as an ongoing program of the LPC. Under the leadership of the Curriculum’s new Editor-in-Chief (EIC), Cheryl E. Ball (Wayne State University), the editorial board will identify maintenance and development needs for the Curriculum, oversee (and occasionally perform) that work, and promote the wide adoption and use of the Curriculum. The editorial board will consist of nine volunteer members, working under the guidance of the EIC and reporting to the LPC Board. 

Membership Qualifications and Term Lengths

Highly desired qualifications include:

  • Accomplishment and expertise in library publishing 
  • Research/publishing experience
  • Experience with curriculum development 
  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion 

It is not necessary for candidates to possess robust experience in all the above areas, but they should be able to demonstrate experience with at least one or two. While service on most LPC working groups is limited to staff at member institutions, a limited number of editorial board spots will be open to non-members. All interested individuals are encouraged to apply. 

Members will serve three-year terms, which can be renewed once. Members who want to serve more than two consecutive terms must reapply. Estimated time commitment will be 5–6 hours a month, unless a member decides to take on additional writing/revision responsibilities. 


Identifying work needed: The editorial board will be responsible for identifying gaps and opportunities in the curriculum, including new units, updates or adaptations of existing units (e.g., adapting the copyright unit for another country’s copyright landscape), translations, and other projects that will increase the currency, utility, and breadth of the curriculum. 

Recruiting and guiding project participants: The editorial board will recruit project participants and guide them through their project work; these individuals would work with the editorial board to devise and implement major revisions or additions to the curriculum. 

Authoring/updating curriculum content: For small projects, the editorial board may decide to undertake the work itself, rather than recruiting project participants. 

Identifying resources for curriculum development: For projects the editorial board wants to undertake that will require outside funding or other resources, the group will work with the EIC and LPC’s Board to identify potential funding sources and apply for grants. 

Ensuring high quality content: The editorial board will ensure that existing content is still useful and relevant, and that new content developed meets project goals and quality expectations.

Curriculum promotion: The editorial board is responsible for promoting new and revised content, and encouraging adoption of the curriculum in a variety of settings. 

Application Process

Applicants should submit a one-page statement outlining your qualifications and a CV by May 22nd to Nancy Adams at contact@librarypublishing.org. Nominations will also be accepted at that email address until May 10, after which nominees will be invited to submit materials until the deadline. LPC’s Board will review candidates at its June meeting and select the new editorial board, which will start July 1, 2020