Reflections

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November 1, 2022

What LPC accomplished under our first strategic plan

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LPC’s current 5-year strategic plan (PDF) is winding down. Published in summer 2018, it was our young community’s first concrete statement of our strategic goals. From LPC’s seed-funded project period (2013-14) through our first two years as a full-fledged membership association (2015-2017), we relied for guidance on our original scoping materials and focused much of our energy on getting the community’s infrastructure and ongoing programs on solid footing. By 2017, it had become apparent that we were ready to think more strategically about the future and put in the work to make sure we were pulling in the same directions across the community. The strategic planning process we undertook was a traditional one, involving a SWOT Analysis, an environmental scan, and community consultation. The outcome was a traditional 5-year strategic plan consisting of three goals, with nested objectives and action items. 

As we head into a new planning process, I wanted to reflect on what we accomplished under our current plan from my perspective as the LPC Community Facilitator. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive listing of accomplishments. Instead, this post will share a high-level view from the staff perspective of how LPC has evolved in each of our strategic areas, where we’ve made significant progress, and where I see untapped potential.

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July 27, 2022

Library Publishers Rally to Disseminate the Work of Ukrainian Scholars

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The four authors of this blog post have an extraordinary story to tell about the way that the library publishing network was able to quickly facilitate the publication and dissemination of recent research work on telemedicine from Ukraine. We will tell this story in four parts and from four voices: the researcher’s background, needs, and experience; the journal editor’s work and connection; the referral from one library publisher to another; and ultimately, the monograph publication.


Authors
Harrison W. Inefuku, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, USA
Kyrylo S. Malakhov, V. M. Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics of The National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine
Lauren B. Collister, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Ellen R. Cohn, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA


Researcher Perspective, by Dr. Kyrylo S. Malakhov, V.M. Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics

I am a research fellow at the V.M. Glushkov Institute of Cybernetics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, working in the department of computer facilities and systems and the microprocessor technology lab. As a research scientist, I am a member of the expert subgroup on technical issues and architecture of telemedicine within the Interdepartmental Working Group for the development of the concept of implementation of telemedicine in Ukraine.

I worked on two grant-funded projects in 2020 and 2022 through the Institute. In 2020, our research team, led by scientific supervisor Oleksandr Palagin, received a grant from the “Science for Human Security and Society” competition with a project to develop methodological foundations and decision-making support for supporting the health and recovery of Ukrainians during the pandemic. At the beginning of 2022, our research team was awarded another grant through the “Science for Safety and Sustainable Development of Ukraine” competition. Our new project is dedicated to development of a hybrid cloud-based platform for the telemedicine rehabilitation of cancer patients.

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January 27, 2022

The state of the field: An excerpt from the 2022 Library Publishing Directory

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As much as we love the searchable online interface for the Library Publishing Directory, it doesn’t include the introduction found in the print, PDF, and EPUB versions. Each year, the Directory‘s introduction includes a ‘state of the field’ based on that year’s data that highlights trends and new developments in library publishing as reported by the programs that contribute their information. To make it easier to find, we are republishing that portion of the introduction here. This year’s introduction was written by Perry Collins, Ian Harmon, Karen Stoll Farrell, and Nicholas Wojcik with an assist from me. Enjoy!

THE 2022 LIBRARY PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE

The yearly Library Publishing Directory provides insights into library publishing activities, allowing us to consider how the field has evolved, prevalent current practice, and possible future directions. While we discuss trends below – often in comparison to prior years – please note that the number and composition of the data set of Directory listings changes yearly, thus a strict comparison year to year is not possible. Further complicating any analysis of the data are changes to the survey itself. We do try to update the survey as changes in technology and publishing platforms emerge. The Directory Committee routinely evaluates the data model to ensure that it best reflects the library publishing field. Many of the survey questions remain the same year to year and new questions are periodically added.

GENERAL DEMOGRAPHICS

Over 60% (87) of library publishers are organized as a centralized library publishing unit or department, while approximately 22% are organized across multiple units or departments within the library.

Library publishers continue to report programs that have made substantial progress moving beyond initial efforts. Only two survey respondents considered their publishing programs to be in the “pilot” phase of development, while over 68% of the library publishers in the 2022 Directory consider their publishing efforts to be “established.” Of the 138 respondents that stated when their publishing operations were established, half were operational prior to 2010, and a strong majority (68%) have been operational for at least a decade. In 2021, 28 library publishers reported that they worked with an established editorial board or advisory group for their work; in 2022, this number climbed to 34 publishers.

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August 17, 2021

Intersections: Collections, Scholarly Communication, and the “Transformation” of Open Access

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Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it. 


By Shawn Martin, Head of Scholarly Communication, Copyright, and Publishing, Dartmouth Library

What are transformative agreements changing exactly? Are they promoting open access? Are they shifting the way libraries access and pay for collections? Are they good for small private institutions as well as large public systems? The answers to these questions are incredibly difficult, but as the head of scholarly communication at the Dartmouth Library, they are issues I need to contend with on a regular basis. Fundamentally, I believe that transformative agreements are about the values not only of open access, but also of individual colleges and universities. Values can be implemented in many ways and may vary depending on local conditions. Dartmouth is perhaps not representative of academic libraries broadly speaking. Nonetheless, Dartmouth Library has characteristics of both smaller liberal arts colleges and research universities that, I think, could help a variety of different institutions think about how they work through implementing the values of open access within the economic context of a transformative publishing agreement.

Dartmouth is, comparatively speaking, smaller than its Ivy League peers and is proud of its model for blending the qualities of a research university and a liberal arts college. The scholarly communication program itself is situated within the digital strategies unit, meaning I report to the same Associate Librarian who also oversees the library’s IT infrastructure and digital scholarship initiatives. Because of the library’s small size, however, I have the privilege of working with our collections team and being part of the collection steering committee, which determines how our collection budget is spent. I also meet regularly with the Associate Librarian of the unit overseeing collection strategies. Additionally, I have sat on committees at the Dartmouth Library that evaluated the functionality of databases used for scholarly metrics such as SCOPUS (Elsevier) and Web of Science (Clarivate). I have led discussions within the collection steering committee about the analytics that Unsub provides and how it might need to be supplemented in order to make data-driven decisions managing new budget. In other words, discussion of open access and scholarly communication at Dartmouth has been a hybrid of both a collections and an IT conversation (among others). (more…)


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August 10, 2021

Transitions: From Sanskrit to Schol Comm

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Transitions is an occasional series where community members reflect on the things they have learned while moving from one institution to another or one role to another. 


By Karen Stoll Farrell, Head, Scholarly Communication Department, Librarian for South and Southeast Asian Studies, Indiana University – Bloomington

In May 2020, as the pandemic was steamrolling forward, I was asked to step in as interim head of the Scholarly Communication Department at Indiana University-Bloomington. I have been at IU since 2014; hired on by virtue of my background and training in things like Sanskrit to be the Librarian for South and Southeast Asian Studies. Later, I added Head of Area Studies Department to my title. While Scholarly Communication is far outside my area of expertise, this wasn’t my first time pinch hitting at IU; I had previously served as interim Head of Scholars’ Commons (think reference, workshops, programming), and I knew I enjoyed the opportunity to learn new things about our organization and about librarianship in general.

In all honesty, I had no idea what I was stepping into. I was completely lost for many months after joining the Scholarly Communication folks. I could blame it on the pandemic, or the new virtual work environment, or perhaps my own abilities, but I suspect much of this readership will know that I could just as easily blame it on the unwieldy boundlessness that is scholarly communication work, as well as the depth of technical expertise needed to fully understand any single piece of that work.

Over the course of that long pandemic year, I dove into as much as I could. Colleagues sent me links to core readings and to more organizations than I thought possible for one sub-field of librarianship, and walked me through many, many issues that I had only the most vague conception of. Eventually, I got a bit better; I know that because my colleagues, whose expertise I relied on so heavily, started to say things like, ‘that’s a really good question,’ or ‘that’s something I also think about.’ I wasn’t caught up, but I was at least gaining a grasp of the true problems and issues of scholarly communication work. (more…)


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June 16, 2021

Transitions: standing on the shoulders of librarians

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Transitions is an occasional series where community members reflect on the things they have learned while moving from one institution to another or one role to another. 


By Monica Westin, Google Scholar partnerships lead / technical program manager

In the spring of 2014, I left a PhD program in classical rhetoric to try out a career in scholarly communication. I was immediately hooked by what I saw as unsolved problems in the ecosystem and the potential impact of making academic research easier to access. Except for a brief stint at HighWire Press, I spent the following four years in the institutional repository and library publishing space, first at bepress and then at CDL’s eScholarship, the University of California’s system-wide repository and publishing platform. 

One Monday in November 2018, three days after leaving my job as publications manager for the library publishing program at the CDL, I started a new role as the program manager for partnerships at Google Scholar. The past two and a half years have been eye-opening.

I have three strong memories from my first week. The first is knowing I had made the right decision to take the job when my new boss, Google Scholar co-founder and director Anurag Acharya, described the mission of Scholar to me in our first meeting: that “no matter the accident of your birth,” he told me, you should be able to know about all the papers written in any research field you might want to enter. What you did with that knowledge was up to you. 

My second memory is the expression on Anurag’s face when I admitted I didn’t really understand what robots.txt instructions did. “Goal: be more technical!” I wrote in my notebook that afternoon after spending hours looking up basic web indexing protocol information on Wikipedia. I don’t think he looked quite as disappointed as I remember, but I knew that I could no longer get away with not knowing how things worked. 

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June 8, 2021

Intersections: Connecting and Collaborating – Reflections of a Consortial Library Publisher

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Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it. 


By Amanda Hurford, Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI)

A conference icebreaker recently posed the question: How do you describe your job to someone who has no idea what it is that you do? For me, this can be a difficult question to answer since working for a library consortium falls outside the boundaries of traditional librarianship.  So, when I describe what I do to someone who knows nothing of the world of library consortia, I typically say something like: “I work for a non-profit organization that connects people and works together to develop services at private college libraries across Indiana.” 

My actual job title is Scholarly Communications Director for the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI). For the last four years, I’ve been working to develop a scholarly communications community of practice by connecting with a group of engaged librarians across the 24 PALNI-supported institutions.  We created a Schol Comm advisory group, led by a steering committee, and driven with the efforts of several work-focused teams administering programs for the consortium.  Some specific projects have been developing an open source consortial institutional repository (Hyku for Consortia), establishing our group affordable learning program (PALSave), statewide digitization of scarcely held resources (PALNI Last Copies), and finally, operationalizing publishing services for the PALNI Press.

When I started this position, I was excited for a change of pace and to work at a statewide scale.  As a former metadata and digital collections librarian, the concepts of consortia and scholarly communication were generally familiar to me.  But it’s been a whirlwind of learning about the growing consortial involvement in that space, and a significant shift, for me, working so collaboratively in every phase of a project.

For library publishers, here are some important things to know about consortia:

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June 2, 2021

Intersections: Library Publishing and Scholarly Societies

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Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it. 


By Lauren B. Collister, Director, Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing, University of Pittsburgh Library System, lbcollister@pitt.edu, @parnopaeus

Many people who come to librarianship have a background in a particular discipline of scholarship. In my case, this disciplinary experience is not just in the past, but rather an ongoing engagement with a scholarly discipline through work for a scholarly society. This work not only gives me insight into the lived experiences of scholars in my discipline who are attempting to carry out the open scholarship and publishing practices that we in the Library Publishing community often advocate for, but also presents opportunities for me to share resources and knowledge that can help the society and its members with their work. I hope that by sharing my experience with one scholarly society, I can inspire other people in our field to consider engaging with a disciplinary scholarly society as a way to not only develop and hone your own skills, but also to bring the practices and values of the library publishing community to the disciplines.

In my case, my scholarly background is in linguistics, and the scholarly society for linguists in the United States is the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). I was a student member during my PhD days; not only was I involved as a local host for the conference when it was in Pittsburgh, but I also took advantage of several of the training workshops as well as the job listings. When I transitioned to library work in 2013 with a new position in the library publishing program at the University Library System, University of Pittsburgh, my membership in the society lapsed for a few years because I was very busy learning about my new job. However, when I heard that the LSA was planning its 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., and that part of the conference would include an Advocacy Day at the Capitol and meetings with Senators and Representatives, I was excited to sign up again to go back to the LSA conference.

The opportunity to advocate for linguistics, the discipline where I first felt like a scholar, was what drew me back to the Society, and while at the Annual Meeting I discovered another opportunity: the newly-formed Committee on Scholarly Communication in Linguistics. I attended the first meeting and immediately signed up. As a Scholarly Communications Librarian with a PhD in Linguistics, what more perfect service opportunity could there be?

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May 18, 2021

Transitions: First Year as Faculty

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Transitions is an occasional series where community members reflect on the things they have learned while moving from one institution to another or one role to another. 


By Laura Miller, Florida State University

As I am writing this post, I am about three weeks away from my one-year anniversary as a full-time library faculty member at Florida State University. I transitioned into my current role as Visiting Open Publishing Librarian from a Graduate Assistantship in May 2020. Like many other early-twenty-somethings, I found myself starting my first full-time job remotely due to the pandemic. I am fortunate that my new role was housed in the same department as my assistantship, and that I even report to the same supervisor. Being able to see familiar faces on Zoom and Teams has made the transition from part-time to full-time much easier. Despite having the comforts of familiar colleagues at an institution I’ve called home since 2014, the jump from part-time to full-time and student worker to faculty has not been without its challenges.

As a GA, I worked on a number of open access publishing and scholarly communications projects. Being able to see projects through which I had contributed to or laid the groundwork for in previous years was one of the most gratifying aspects of my transition to Open Publishing Librarian. I’m able to troubleshoot technical issues for journals that were just developing when I was a GA, and I have published revised editions of a textbook I assisted with two years ago. With the added hours in my work week, I am able to pay greater attention to accessibility and refine publishing workflows that were ad hoc before my publishing-dedicated position was created. This more strategic and directed approach to library publishing culminated in the formation of Florida State Open Publishing (FSOP) last Fall which brought my office’s publishing, hosting, and consulting services under one cohesive initiative.  (more…)


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May 4, 2021

Intersections: Not Quite a Librarian, Not Quite a Publisher: What It’s Like to Work for a Library and a University Press

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Intersections is an occasional series where community members reflect on what they are seeing in other parts of their professional world and what library publishers can learn from it. 


By Annie Johnson, Assistant Director of Open Publishing Initiatives and Scholarly Communications, Temple University @anniekjohn

For the past five years, I have worked for both Temple University Libraries and Temple University Press. Library colleagues at other institutions tend to assume I work for the Press. Press colleagues tend to assume I work for the Libraries. The truth is a bit more nuanced: much of my work involves leading what might be considered typical scholarly communication initiatives within the Libraries. However, my supervisor is the Director of the Press, Mary Rose Muccie, and I support the Press in important ways, particularly when it comes to open access and born-digital projects. That work has involved publishing the Press’s first digital companion to a print book, serving as the primary investigator for an NEH grant to digitize and make openly available out-of-print Press books in labor studies, and launching Temple’s instance of the digital publishing platform Manifold, which the Press now uses as a portal for its open access books. Most recently, we started a joint Libraries/Press imprint, North Broad Press, that publishes open textbooks written by Temple faculty. 

Temple University Press is one of a number of presses that reports to its library. This is an increasingly common situation, which has resulted in the creation of positions like mine that try to bridge the two organizations. Despite its prevalence, some in scholarly publishing still worry about presses reporting to libraries, and question whether such a relationship actually benefits university presses. I understand the concerns, especially when these changes happen during moments when the larger university is in crisis. But I was not hired to dismantle or replace the work of the Press. Quite the opposite: I help the Press experiment with new publishing models in ways that they would simply not have the capacity to do otherwise. My involvement does not take away from the excellent work the Press staff are doing, it enhances it. I help get Temple University Press books out to more people around the globe while strengthening the Press’s relationship with the larger university. (more…)