Forum Reflections

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July 28, 2020

LPForum20: Publishing Reality: Developing a Publishing Model For Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Their Related Pedagogical Materials


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 David Scherer, Hannah Gunderman, Matthew Lincoln, Rikk Mulligan, Emma Slayton, and Scott Weingart (Carnegie Mellon University)

How does one publish something that is intended to be a completely immersive and interactive experience such as those designed for Virtual Reality (VR)? How does one convey the subjective experiences of emulated real-world environments? That is the challenge of defining a publishing service model for documenting the experiences of AR and VR. In 2019 representatives from the Carnegie Mellon University digital Sciences, Humanities, Arts, Research and Publishing group (dSHARP) collaborated with faculty from CMU’s English Department to publish materials related to Shakespeare-VR,

The Shakespeare-VR project uses virtual reality technologies to bring students face-to-face with professional actors performing Shakespearean soliloquies in a replica of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars Playhouse. Beyond Publishing the VR experiences, dSHARP examined the complexity of publishing the accompanying OER-based pedagogical materials produced by Shakespeare-VR. As dSHARP has continued working with colleagues from CMU’s Department of English, a need arose to develop an AR/VR Portal where researchers and scholars designing AR and VR experiences with accompanying pedagogical materials could publish and share their scholarship.

This presentation will discuss the new initiative at CMU to produce and publish materials related to the experiences of AR and VR through using our institutional repository, KiltHub and its connection to the primary web presence of the Shakespeare-VR Project. This presentation will discuss the background and complexities of working with and documenting AR and VR, and how the challenges of working with AR and VR could be addressed at scale. This presentation will also explore how future library publishers can assist in adding context to the publishing of AR and VR materials, and how these could be incorporated into future OER-based pedagogical materials to teach the design, construction, and use of AR and VR.

Watch/access and download the presentation, a PDF of the presentation slides with notes, and a PDF of the presentation slides without notes from the Carnegie Mellon University KiltHub Repository.



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July 2, 2020

LPForum20: So you’ve been rejected from MedEdPORTAL: Demystifying Open Access to Medical Educators


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 Hannah J. Craven and Rachel J. Hinrichs

Introduction to MedEdPORTAL

Medical educators at our institution are encouraged to publish open educational resources (OERs) in the journal MedEdPORTAL. Published by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), MedEdPORTAL is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal for medical education scholarship that is now indexed in MEDLINE. These publications contain complete curricula, including objectives, instructor guides, slides, and assessments, ready to be implemented in the classroom. The intended students for the curricula should be training or practicing physicians or dentists, but could also include members of other health professions, as long as there is at least one physician or dentist learner in the classroom. For teaching faculty interested in applying for promotion, MedEdPORTAL can demonstrate the quality of their teaching materials through peer-review, citation counts, and other usage reports.

The Issue

Despite submitting high quality curricula, medical educators receive rejections from the MedEdPORTAL 62% of the time. Reasons for rejection include insufficient educational context and assessment, mismatch of educational objectives and instructional content, and failure to build on existing curricula. Of immediately rejected submissions, 90% also have copyright issues. These copyright issues stem primarily from the use of third-party images. MedEdPORTAL is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), and therefore has strict requirements for copyright and licensing images in the education materials. These requirements can be difficult for medical educators to navigate.

Copyright and Licensing in MedEdPORTAL

MedEdPORTAL requires that authors on the last question of the submission form select a Creative Commons license for their work. We always recommend the Attribution (CC-BY) license as it is the least restrictive, without putting the work in the public domain.

This is a screengrab of the last question in the MedEdPORTAL submission process. The author must select a Creative Commons Copyright Usage License from the following: Attribution (CC-BY), Attribution-NonCommercial (CC-BY-NC), or Public Domain (C0).


All images not created by the author must be either in the public domain, or have a CC-BY or CC-BY-NC license. MedEdPORTAL will not publish share-alike-licensed images. For images not in the public domain or with Creative Common licenses, authors must obtain permission from the copyright owner. If permission is not obtained, the image must be removed and a placeholder with a citation to locate the original image added. If permission is obtained, a Third-Party Permission Form for the image must be included in the submission.

If authors choose to license their submission CC-BY, they can use images that are CC-BY or C0. If the authors choose to license their submission CC-BY-NC, they can use images that are CC-BY-NC, CC-BY or C0. All other CC licenses are unusable according to Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA).

An image also cannot include any personal health information. All names and IDs should be blacked out, as well as eyes in photographs to anonymize the patient.

We use the decision tree below for each image to figure out if we can include an image and how to properly cite it:

This flowchart can be used to determine if an image can be properly used in your MedEdPORTAL submission. This image is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Hannah Craven.


The Role of the Librarian

Librarians with interest/experience in Open Education Resources, Open Access, Copyright, or Creative Commons licensing can support medical educators both passively and actively depending on time constraints and level of involvement needed. Both of us have successfully assisted, trained, and supported authors submitting to MedEdPORTAL. Combined, we have submitted three projects (with librarian listed as a co-author). Of those three, one is in-press and two were resubmitted with edits and undergoing review. A fourth project is now in-progress. Of the edits necessary for the in-press and resubmitted projects, none were related to image use or licensing issues.

Active Support: Co-author, workshops, or consultations

The highest level of support we offer is “Co-author.” The librarian meets criteria for authorship, specifically according to the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations.

For the Education Summary Report (ESR), the librarian can perform a literature search of MedEdPORTAL and MEDLINE, or other relevant databases, to show the educational materials being submitted are novel. This must be addressed in the introduction of the ESR and the librarian can contribute by writing up the answer to the following question from the template provided for authors: “Build a case for how your submission represents a unique contribution to existing literature. Reference similar publications in MedEdPORTAL.” The librarian may also manage the citations for the ESR and all other appendices using citation management software.

The bulk of our expertise is in managing the images used within the course materials. This requires a bit of project management skills to keep track of all the following stages. First, an inventory is taken of all images, tables, and figures used in the educational materials. Previously, the materials fell under Fair Use as they were used only in the classroom, so many items are copyrighted. Once the copyright or licensing status of all images is determined, we contact the copyright holders with the permission form and ask if we may use the image in our work. If there is a fee, or the owner says no, the librarian will find an appropriately licensed substitution image or ask if the co-authors would like to use an author-owned image. If the owner of copyrighted material signs the form for use, the form is saved and submitted with the materials.

Another way we provide support is through workshops. Early in 2020, we were able to host a quick 20-minute workshop at a school-wide event with a medical educator. Materials we shared included a slide deck comparison before and after preparing for MedEdPORTAL submission, a completed Third-Party Permission Form, and a handout. Our handout walks educators through questions to consider before preparing a submission. It contains checklists, explanations, an “image screening quiz,” and the image use and citation decision tree shown above. The workshop was received well and had relatively high attendance. This has given us a framework for future library workshops that we plan to host in coming semesters.

The last way we provide active support is via consultations. Our methods for managing the use of images is laid out so the medical educators may handle it themselves. Some medical educators have materials they wish to submit with very few images, requiring little help navigating copyright and licensing issues. The librarian can instead spend the meeting explaining the do’s and don’ts of submissions and provide guidance based on our past experiences as co-authors.

Passive Support: Online resource guide, handout

A resource like our LibGuide, “MedEdPortal submissions & image use” was created to inform authors on the niche issues that come along with publishing in this specific Open Access journal. While participating as a co-author, we would have many questions for the MedEdPORTAL editors. This guide is intended to answer many of those questions that could not be answered directly from the author information page and required an email to the editors. We curated a list of websites to find medical open images, gathered from responses on the MEDLIB-L listserv and our colleagues’ suggestions. Since the guide’s creation in October 2019, the guide has garnered almost 500 views. Of the medical library’s non-departmental guides, it ranks in the top 40% for page views for the same duration.

The handout from our workshop mentioned above has been self-archived in our institutional repository, IUPUI ScholarWorks. We reference people here to help get them started. It is a good tool to have them look through before a consultation.


The partnership between medical educators and librarians for MedEdPORTAL submissions is a mutual benefit. While the faculty learn more about copyright, Creative Commons, and OERs, librarians have an opportunity to participate on a team and co-author publications. Due to the time-consuming nature of the co-authorship level of service, we cannot assist everyone at this level if demand increases. Workshops, consultations, and our online resources will be useful to reach more medical educators interested in submitting to MedEdPORTAL. Our goal is for educators to consider the image use issues from the inception of their educational materials to save time when they prepare to submit.

Key points:

  • Librarians can support faculty when submitting to an OER like MedEdPORTAL either passively or actively
  • Faculty may be unfamiliar with the nuances of copyright and licensing since they are often operating under Fair Use in the classroom
  • Project management skills are helpful for managing the images, copyright forms, and substitutions

This blog post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Hannah Craven and Rachel Hinrichs.

Hannah J. Craven
Ruth Lilly Medical Library, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Rachel J. Hinrichs
University Library, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Update: Since original posting, the in-press MedEdPORTAL submission is now published and can be viewed here:

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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:


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

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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.

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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:

Gretchen Gueguen
Digital Projects and Communications Manager

Amanda Hurford
Scholarly Communications Director



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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


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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.

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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. 


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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. 


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October 30, 2019

What’s our end-game? A community conversation at the 2019 Library Publishing Forum


By Kate McCready & Melanie Schlosser


“It’s one of the strengths of the field that its aspirational reach is grounded by the day-to-day work of publishing, and that its day-to-day activities are clearly linked to such transformative goals. The field’s combination of the two threads, vision and practicality, creates the potential for success.”


The Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) Membership Meeting isn’t a typical business meeting. It is held annually at the Library Publishing Forum, but instead of sharing information about the Coalition’s work or conducting organizational business, we gather as a community to discuss timely, relevant topics. All conference attendees—both members and nonmembers—are invited and encouraged to participate, giving voice to different perspectives. 

On May 10, 2019, Forum attendees took advantage of this unique framework to explore a fundamental, and timely, question about the field of library publishing: “What’s our end game?” We explored why we engage in this work. As expected, our deeper dive below the surface of library publishing identified a wide variety of motivations and goals for our work as scholarly publishers and got us thinking about what that means for our organization and for our field.

It was a transformative year for the broader scholarly communications landscape. Individual institutions and consortia made news with collection development negotiations that produced transformative agreements or big deal cancellations (e.g., University of California’s termination of negotiations with Elsevier, and the “read and publish” deal between MIT and the Royal Society of Chemistry). Funders proposed bold requirements in Plan S to make content openly available. Many organizations focused on scholarly communications, such as SPARC, set agendas and spoke out about the need for change. Faculty and campus administrators turned out in record numbers to debate the sustainability of the current scholarly communications model, and the higher ed media was paying attention. Those activities inspired conversations throughout academia and library publishing emerged as a possible (though nascent) alternative to current models. 

Against this backdrop, it felt more important than ever to articulate the motivations for, and ultimate purposes of, our shared work. 


August 9, 2019

Open Textbook: Path to Scholarly Communication: Reflections of a Forum Attendee


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by the recipient of a 2019 Library Publishing Forum Award. 

On the occasion of the 2019 Library Publishing Forum, held 8–10 May in Vancouver, British Columbia, it was possible to explore  the route outlined by numerous initiatives in open publishing in the academic environment and to be nourished by activities that strengthen its background.

Recognized among universities in North America, Canada, and beyond, the 2019 Forum, sponsored by the Library Publishing Coalition in collaboration with Simon Fraser University and Harbour Centre, welcomed librarians, academics, university publishers, and platform vendors interested in immersing themselves in library publishing services. 

The pre-conference on May 8 focused on Open Educational Resources. The morning workshop, offered in collaboration with the Open Textbook Network, provided an opportunity for discussion and hands-on work, highlighting project management strategies in support of open textbook publishing. Time savings in the planning stages (Plan – Do – Check – Act) are outlined through the information exchange established between author and publishing specialists related to research, resource creation, writing of the book outlined, supplemental resources, chapter planning, peer review, review related to style / format, copy editing, proofreading, preparation for publication up to launching—these are only some of the subjects offered in the BC Open Textbook Self-Publishing Guide.

In the afternoon’s full sessions, planned in collaboration with BCcampus, presenters engaged attendees with topics such as the academic publication reshaped by library publishing and set out on a small scale, requirements for sustainable software, alliances (or not) with different models of the university press, surveys about undergraduate use and acceptance of digital didactic resources, in addition to efforts to prepare librarians to work/advocate in these scenarios.

For academic book production, a collaborative approach between author, librarian, and publishing team facilitates the clarification of doubts during the project design; a timely process can avoid the familiar  miscommunications responsible for innumerable disagreements and problems such as content produced without planning; numerous “come and go” for style redesign and publishing requirements; ignorance of the author’s objectives for the publication; author’s unfamiliarity of the license to be adopted; remaining doubts about open access; uncertainties regarding DOI being the best alternative to use, definition of the most appropriate platform for hosting content.

At event closing it was evident that many discussions of the nuances of scholarly communication had originated among the disparate groups of attendees, seeking understanding of their differences in pursuit of quality-targeted solutions that reach significantly more individuals.

Daily, I have been encouraging future monograph authors and helping them prepare their manuscripts using the perspective of library as publisher; however, this activity is still unknown to many at the university. For open publishing opportunities to become a real knowledge network, a single publishing structure designed at an administrative level by the library system is necessary.

The Library Publishing Forum’s professional work provides countless perspectives for reflecting on ways to provide better library performance through concrete experiences. It has a special position in my agenda!

Célia Regina de Oliveira Rosa is Librarian at the Geosciences Institute of the Universidade de São Paulo, SP, Brazil, She holds a Masters in Information Science with a concentration in book library publishing.

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August 31, 2018

Building alliances: AUPresses/LPC collaborations and synergies


For our 2018 conferences, the Library Publishing Coalition and the Association of University Presses collaborated on a Cross-Pollination Registration Waiver Program. The program sent two AUPresses members to the Library Publishing Forum and two LPC members to the AUPresses Annual Meeting. Each of the recipients was asked to write a reflection on their experience and on opportunities for libraries and presses to work together towards our shared goals. This post is by Mark Konecny, University of Cincinnati.  Read the whole series.


“The imprimatur of a university press—with the scholarly apparatus of peer review and reputation for quality—makes it possible for digital projects to gain the legitimacy demanded by the academic community. Library publishing provides stable preservation and staffing that keeps projects viable for the long run.”


In 2017, the University of Cincinnati Libraries opened a press with a library publishing unit (CLIPS) in order to provide professional publishing services to faculty, staff, departments, and centers associated with the university. We offer scholarly communications expertise along with à la carte or comprehensive solutions using press partners and staff. Library publishing has been identified as a key element in promoting the intellectual commons model. In keeping with the goals of the library and the university, CLIPS is tasked with developing new modes of digital publishing. The annual meetings of the Association of University Presses and the Library Publishing Forum are opportunities to meet with others working in this field, learn about strategies and techniques utilized by other presses, and pursue opportunities to work with colleagues at other institutions with similar resources. Given the fact that our press is a start-up, I was able to benefit from presentations and consultations with colleagues from universities around the world.

At the AUPresses meeting, I concentrated my efforts in three specific areas of interest: sustainable infrastructure, publishing digital projects, and workflows for the use of digital publishing platforms. One of the biggest challenges for a small unit is making sure that resources are used wisely and provide a service that can be used across the university. It became clear through discussions that this is a shared concern for all library publishers, and the meeting allowed me to understand how university presses create workflows to increase efficiency and leverage outsourcing. I was surprised by the profusion of publishing platforms being developed by university presses: Editoria, Vega, PubPub, Manifold, Fulcrum, OJS, and others. Even more remarkable is the variety of strategies these platforms use to produce output. Many attendees voiced a concern that technology was being promoted at the expense of producing quality output. There is a significant danger in allowing the technological tail to wag the dog, squandering scarce resources for small reward. This insight into process provided me with a cautionary tale and a better understanding of the status of different projects. (more…)

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August 30, 2018

Variety and values: Reflections on the Library Publishing Forum


For our 2018 conferences, the Library Publishing Coalition and the Association of University Presses collaborated on a Cross-Pollination Registration Waiver Program. The program sent two AUPresses members to the Library Publishing Forum and two LPC members to the AUPresses Annual Meeting. Each of the recipients was asked to write a reflection on their experience and on opportunities for libraries and presses to work together towards our shared goals. This post is by Jana Faust, University of Nebraska Press.  Read the whole series


“A couple of things that stood out to me at the conference were individuals’ passion for their work and their commitment to a set of values that would create a culture of inclusivity.”


The University of Nebraska Press and University of Nebraska–Lincoln Libraries often collaborate but they continue to be separate units of the university. It is most common for UNP to work with the UNL Libraries’ Center for Digital Research in the Humanities (specific examples include the Willa Cather Archive and The Journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition Online), Archives and Special Collections, and the institutional repository.

I went into the Library Publishing Forum not knowing very much about the more recent models of library publishing programs except that it has become more common for institutions to merge what had traditionally been two separate programs. I hoped to learn more about the purpose of these new models and how they differ from more traditional publishing. One thing that became apparent immediately is that there is as much variety in library publishing (in size, output, and workflow) as there is in university press publishing.

A couple of things that stood out to me at the conference were individuals’ passion for their work and their commitment to a set of values that would create a culture of inclusivity. In order to create the desired culture, many of these programs started by determining their values and then used those values as the foundation of their publishing programs. I would have expected the planning stage to focus more on practical issues: what types of content or subject areas to publish, how to handle peer review, and so forth. Instead, they often first documented their commitment to a culture of diversity, inclusivity, accessibility, and equity. I found the keynote by Cathy Kudlick, professor of history and director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University, particularly enlightening. She urged attendees to “see disability as a tool for thinking differently about the world,” to picture pirates as disability action figures, and to go beyond compliance. In addition, she described people with disabilities as being the world’s best problem solvers. (more…)

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August 29, 2018

Seeing each other: Reflections on library/press cross-pollination


For our 2018 conferences, the Library Publishing Coalition and the Association of University Presses collaborated on a Cross-Pollination Registration Waiver Program. The program sent two AUPresses members to the Library Publishing Forum and two LPC members to the AUPresses Annual Meeting. Each of the recipients was asked to write a reflection on their experience and on opportunities for libraries and presses to work together towards our shared goals. This post is by Sarah Hare, Indiana University.  Read the whole series


“In my experience, press partners often bring an important understanding of workload and fiscal responsibility to these projects while librarians bring a passion for open access and experimentation.”


Why cross-pollinate?

In 2016, Charles Watkinson wrote “Why Marriage Matters: A North American Perspective on Press/Library Partnerships,” which presented a compelling argument for why presses and libraries, as “natural allies in the quest to create a more equitable scholarly publishing system,” should pursue “long-term, deeply embedded partnerships” (p. 342). The article also proposed a taxonomy for understanding library/press relationships and cited noteworthy models for collaboration beyond the “press reports to library” arrangement.

I believe that Watkinson’s recommendations for embracing library/press partnerships in order to better serve the institution both entities are embedded within have only become more relevant. Thinking strategically and realistically about shared library/press work has become imperative at my own institution, Indiana University Bloomington.

In 2012, IU Provost Lauren Robel created the Office of Scholarly Publishing (OSP). The OSP is a partnership between Indiana University Press and IU Libraries’ Scholarly Communication Department. The OSP aims to harness disparate publishing resources and strategically pool expertise in order to transform scholarly publishing at IU. This often happens by:

  • Serving IU faculty and students through journal publishing, open access book publishing, and course material publishing
  • Moving conversations on publishing innovations forward at IU, including discussion on experimental peer review, course material affordability, hybrid OA models, open-source infrastructure, and new modes of scholarship (for example, 3-D object and multimedia integration)
  • Educating the next generation of scholars, both through supporting the creation of student publishing projects and creating programming and hands-on experiences for students interested in publishing, open access, and scholarly career paths

This work requires a shared understanding and committed collaboration from library/press partners. Thus, in addition to learning more about what presses are doing operationally, I applied to the AUPresses/LPC cross-pollination registration waiver program to answer larger questions I had about press values and the university press community’s interests. I also wanted to learn about how others approach library/press collaboration, work toward truly seeing each other, understand the values and ethics of the other partner, and maintain a fruitful relationship through the constant change and innovation inherent in scholarly publishing work today. (more…)

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August 28, 2018

Advancing shared goals: Reflections on press/library partnerships


For our 2018 conferences, the Library Publishing Coalition and the Association of University Presses collaborated on a Cross-Pollination Registration Waiver Program. The program sent two AUPresses members to the Library Publishing Forum and two LPC members to the AUPresses Annual Meeting. Each of the recipients was asked to write a reflection on their experience and on opportunities for libraries and presses to work together towards our shared goals. This post is by James Ayers, University of New Mexico Press.  Read the whole series


“Perhaps my greatest takeaway was that libraries often fail to see their university’s press as an asset in the accomplishment of their goals, and presses often fail to see how a relationship with their university’s library could help to advance their own mission.”


In March of this year, the University of New Mexico Press entered into an administrative reporting relationship with the University of New Mexico’s College of Libraries. Because this new relationship created opportunities for collaborations between the press and the library—especially where publishing initiatives are concerned—I became interested in developing a better understanding of what university libraries are pursuing in terms of publishing and how they are accomplishing these goals. The Library Publishing Forum seemed an excellent opportunity to learn firsthand what publishing initiatives were of interest to university libraries and how they were pursuing these aims. My hope was to find avenues by which a library-press relationship might either facilitate the accomplishment of existing publishing goals or create new, shared goals.

At the forum I had the chance to attend a variety of panels that highlighted many of the questions I wanted to explore, and I was also able to make some valuable connections with library staff from other institutions and discuss topics of interest to us both. Much of my time at the Library Publishing Forum was spent learning about library publishers’ “in the weeds” experiences, and it was very illuminating to hear about the problems they encountered and the solutions they realized. It was incredibly valuable to see some of the specific projects library publishers have begun or completed, and I made my observations with an eye toward how a library-press relationship might be beneficial to both departments. (more…)

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


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 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.”


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.


July 9, 2018

Digital Publishing Your Way: Moving Toward Multimodal, Flexible Platforms


Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Sarah Wipperman, University of Pennsylvania. This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum. See the whole series

The 2018 Library Publishing Forum preconference, Owned by the Academy, gave participants a chance to learn more about publishing platforms that have a commitment to community-owned infrastructure. Elsevier’s 2017 acquisition of bepress put a spotlight on this issue, so, for many, including myself, this preconference was a welcomed chance to explore both well-established and up-and-coming open source publishing alternatives.

Publishing platforms can be a place where libraries do research and development, finding new partnerships and collaboration opportunities, working with new types of scholarship and methods, and experimenting with new technologies. I thus found the most exciting takeaway from this preconference to be the possibilities of new (and continued) development in open source publishing. Many of these communities are thinking more actively about non-traditional forms of scholarship, multimodal scholarship, and other ways in which academia is embracing, incorporating, and sharing new expressions of scholarship. Many platforms are also emphasizing sustainability and trying to provide multiple ways of engaging in these systems, including options for assisted setup and/or hosting. While no platform is “perfect” (as if such a thing exists), progress towards the next wave of scholarly needs is tangible.

“We all have different services we provide to meet needs on campus, so I find it equally important to have tools that can support us as needs, workflows, and services change. Platforms should support people-based services, not dictate or confine what those services should be.”


July 5, 2018

What’s it like to be the local host of the Library Publishing Forum?


Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum. See the whole series. This post is guest written by Kate McCready and Laureen Boutang, from the University of Minnesota Libraries. 

When we first considered the idea of hosting the Library Publishing Forum at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, we were very excited about the opportunities that could come from being a local host. We saw it as a way to strengthen our relationship with the Library Publishing Coalition, and support the work of the library publishing community. We also hoped that bringing the events to campus would allow our U of MN colleagues to have the opportunity to learn more about library publishing in general, and our program specifically. We thought it would build understanding about why our institution was devoting resources to scholarly publishing activities. Of course, we also wanted a meaningful conference for those attending! All of these hopes were realized and we learned a lot about bringing an event to campus as well.  

As we dove into thinking about logistics and providing on-the-ground knowledge of the location, we realized that for our hopes to succeed, we had a lot of work to do. There were many details that would need our attention if the Forum and affiliated events were to run smoothly. Looking back at our work preparing for the Forum over the last year, it can be loosely categorized in four areas. First, we needed to gain buy-in at our home institution at many levels. Second, we had to work with many constituents (local colleagues, program committee colleagues, event staff, LPC colleagues, etc.) to determine the priorities and requirements for the events. Third, while the Forum is a self-supporting conference and the Library Publishing Coalition provides financial and logistical resources for it, we worked to provide additional local staffing and financial resources to support our priorities as the host institution. Finally, we spent time to get and stay organized. (more…)

June 11, 2018

Challenges and opportunities (but mostly opportunities) for open source infrastructure in library publishing


Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum. See the whole series. This post is guest written by Alison McGonagle-O’Connell, Editoria Community Manager and Owned by the Academy presenter. 

As a first-time Library Publishing Forum attendee, presenter, and a participant in the “Owned by the Academy” pre-meeting, I was struck by how truly welcoming and collaborative this group is! These meetings also provided me with a few key takeaways:

  1. Open Source (OS) publishing technologies are proliferating, and are of increasing interest to the broader library publishing community.
  2. These tools and platforms represent one way for the community to reclaim some control of the scholarly communication marketplace.
  3. Hosted service models for OS tools will be necessary for some to take the leap from commercial products.
  4. OS providers need to work together to ensure interoperability, and to effectively map tool capabilities to the unique needs and requirements of the community

The first two takeaways are general observations, largely supported by those who attended, tweeted, and have subsequently discussed the meetings openly. OS technology gives organizations the ability to design and customize platforms to support their own needs and values. There is significant freedom in not being locked in to a commercial solution’s unalterable roadmap. Want to design accessibility into the platform with your user community? Go ahead! Concerned about security? Need support for interactive images including integration with data sets? Want to support multiple languages? Done. Nothing is off the table with this kind of community-driven and -supported infrastructure. (more…)