Fellows Journal

Fellows Journal. Logo for the Library Publishing Coalition. Background image features bokeh lights in blues and greens.
July 31, 2019

Teaching from the Library Publishing Curriculum

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program.

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Quite early in my career, as an editorial assistant in my first real publishing job, I was sent to a semester-long copyediting course, where I learned about the different levels of copyediting, the importance of style guides, and how to mark up manuscript in hard copy.

Copy editing marks from Einsohn’s The Copyeditor’s Handbook

The rest of publishing, I was expected to learn on the job. I learned this at a professional development event, where editorial assistants complained that, with the changes brought about by technology, we were being delegated to administrative assistant roles without growth potential because we were no longer performing tasks that gave us insight into the process (like taking down dictation for their editors, typing up letters, or transferring editorial marks from one hard copy to another). We want to be copied on emails! was the rallying cry.    

That publishing is still very much an apprenticeship field has not changed, as Cheryl Ball so eloquently argued in her email to the LPC list-serv on the value of experience, and how volunteering can be a stepping stone to one’s career. [1] However, this isn’t necessarily clear to people managing volunteers or early career professionals, who might not be aware of their roles as mentors and mentees. There are also those in the library publishing community who are brand new to publishing or aspects of publishing. I include myself in this group – while I worked on monographs, casebooks, workbooks, and textbook programs in my previous career, I had never been responsible for a journal until I entered librarianship. As a scholarly communication resident at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, I suddenly found myself responsible for a journals list. (Thank you Marilyn for trusting me!)

This is why I was glad to be given the opportunity to engage with the new Library Publishing Curriculum, as an instructor for the Content Module along with Joshua Neds-Fox. We’ve now taught from the curriculum in two formats: as an all-day in-person workshop and as a synchronous online workshop in 1.5 hour weekly increments over 4 weeks.

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Fellows Journal. Logo for the Library Publishing Coalition. Background image features bokeh lights in blues and greens.
July 24, 2019

Social justice driving library publishing

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program.

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“It is my assertion that library publishing programmes should be guided by the possibility of realizing the field’s immense potential for growth and development of the African continent. The need for a social justice driven library publishing agenda must be at the epicentre of this development process.”

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It is not the norm to begin with a disclaimer, however, in this instance it is necessary given that the larger readership of this blog is from the global north. This blog is written through a global south lens; a lens that has a deep affiliation to the fundamental principles of open access and that the sharing of research results is essential for the furtherance of research and the growth and development of society.

I was fortunate enough, as a fellow of the LPC, to attend the 2018 forum meeting. What I was longing to hear at the meeting, and maybe naively so, was discussion on the exploitation of this relatively new library service to radically improve the distribution of research results for the growth and development of society. It was clearly evident that we have two different parallels, though not mutually exclusive. One which is driven by the desire to improve visibility of authors and their work and the other which is driven by the desire to improve accessibility through openly sharing for the growth and development of society. In the former, the measurement of success is citation count while the latter is socio-economic impact. Citation count for research has a relatively high degree of maturity while the latter is barely at a fledgling stage.

The lens from which I view the roles and responsibilities of libraries in the delivery of a publishing service is driven by the single ambition: to share desperately needed scholarly literature freely with all, especially with those from the global south who are deprived of critical information, be it for research or growth and development purposes, due to exorbitant subscription costs. This financial barrier together with the high cost of internet access (one of the highest in the world) are major challenges for Africans. Other challenges such as frequent power outages and poor IT infrastructure are part of a myriad of challenges that make access near impossible – these challenges perpetuate poverty and doom and gloom for a continent that is so rich in natural resources–including an abundance of human resources. It is my assertion that library publishing programmes should be guided by the possibility of realizing the field’s immense potential for growth and development of the African continent. The need for a social justice driven library publishing agenda must be at the epicentre of this development process. Hence, my focus in this blog post is on diamond open access library publishing, that is, where there is no cost to the reader nor the author. The publishing service is part of the suite of services provided by the library.

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Fellows Journal. Logo for the Library Publishing Coalition. Background image features bokeh lights in blues and greens.
July 27, 2018

Three publishing conferences with a common theme of diversity and whiteness

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program .

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“The lesson that we are all learning, myself included, is that to simply do our jobs as we’ve been doing them is not enough. We must not only examine our publishing lists, but our editorial boards, reviewers, and ourselves, to learn and improve to move toward a more equitable profession. LPC, SSP, and AUP are three organizations that are very much a part of the same scholarly ecosystem, and we can all work together toward the goal of intersectional diversity and accessibility.”

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Previous to my career librarianship, I worked in academic publishing, and therefore had experience in the world of academic conferences as a vendor and editor. In all my time in academic publishing, however, I never attended a conference that was for my own professional development. In contrast, as a librarian, this year I attended the Library Publishing Forum, the Association of University Presses Annual Meeting, and the Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Meeting.

Library Publishing Forum

I’ll be frank that I’m very biased toward the Library Publishing Forum, and not just because I’m one of the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) Fellows. A first-time attendee at the conference asked me, “Are people always so friendly?” I was able to answer Yes: I’ve attended four out of the five forums, and it’s always been a warm community. My personal theory is this is because so many of us library publishers are departments of one or very few within our institutions, so coming to the Library Publishing Forum is an opportunity to be amongst colleagues with similar roles. But it’s also a very collaborative community, and this conference was just another example of how we are cooperatively engaged with each other to improve software platforms and create new processes for publishing more effectively. The sessions are frequently practical and full of helpful examples, while still honest about difficulties and limitations in execution. I feel that every year, we as a community move forward together, regardless of the resources at each institution, simply because we share knowledge with each other so well.

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Fellows Journal. Logo for the Library Publishing Coalition. Background image features bokeh lights in blues and greens.
February 7, 2018

Predatory publishing from a global south perspective

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program 

The unilateral determination of a definition of predatory publishing, by Jeffrey Beall, has sent the research publishing world into a tizz. Even though Beall has withdrawn his list, unfortunately in the current technological age this list is not cleared from the web archive nor is there a prevention of the rehashing of the list by someone else. Nor, has there been subsequently an adequate reconceptualization of predatory publishing to ensure that it is not discriminatory to open access or the global south.

Writing as a Fellow of the LPC from the global south, I feel a sense of obligation to follow the call that African academics and intellectuals (not that I am either), on the continent and in the diaspora, play a role in countering the prejudice and misinformation about Africa. Be that as it may, I think there are significant lessons for both the global south and north by interrogating the concept of predatory publishing. The recently published article by Olivarez and others (2018) highlight the need for interventions to remedy the insensitive generalization of predatory publishing. (more…)


Fellows Journal. Logo for the Library Publishing Coalition. Background image features bokeh lights in blues and greens.
December 14, 2017

Thinking about accessibility and sustainability in scholarly communication

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program.

In addition to my duties as a scholarly communication librarian, one of my roles at the University of San Francisco is liaison to the Migration Studies program. It’s a relatively new program in a relatively new field, so search terms are still evolving. For example, one of the common roadblocks that students encounter is that research data is available under “refugees” rather than “migrants.” This search term confusion is easily remedied, but there are also problematic descriptors such as “illegal” and “undocumented”. One of the questions that came up this past year was, What do you call someone who has valid legal immigration status but who is deported or detained? (People in the class agreed “illegal” is unacceptable, and “undocumented” is inaccurate.) Since many of the students in the program have a personal stake in these issues, these conversations around naming are not taken lightly.

In addition to these discussions in the classroom, naming and authority are, of course, important to librarianship as well. More recently, I have been thinking about “accessibility” and “sustainability” as terms that are heavily used both in my work as a scholarly communications librarian and more broadly outside of my professional niche. 

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Fellows Journal. Logo for the Library Publishing Coalition. Background image features bokeh lights in blues and greens.
October 6, 2017

Meet Reggie Raju, 2017-18 LPC Fellow

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program.

I am Reggie Raju, currently the Deputy Director: Research and Learning Services at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. I am originally from an east coast city in South Africa called Durban. I am the son of indentured labourers who were brought from India to work the sugar cane farms on the east coast of South Africa. Coming from a struggle background in which some members of my family were either exiled or imprisoned, the struggles against the apartheid system had taught me important lessons in life one of which was the drive for social justice. (more…)


Fellows Journal. Logo for the Library Publishing Coalition. Background image features bokeh lights in blues and greens.
September 25, 2017

Meet Charlotte Roh, 2017-18 LPC Fellow

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program. Charlotte Roh is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of San Francisco and recipient of the 2017 LPC Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing. Charlotte is one of two inaugural fellows in the Library Publishing Coalition Fellowship Program, and her goals for the fellowship include advancing social justice and diversity in library publishing.

At the start of this fall semester, one of the professors on my campus asked me to come talk to his copyediting class about academic publishing as a career. My usual audience is librarians and faculty, so I always welcome a chance to talk with undergraduates. It’s an entirely different conversation, and an opportunity to essentially indulge in nostalgia and my own hard-won knowledge about the New York publishing industry. (more…)