Reflections

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August 9, 2019

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

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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, www.usp.br/. She holds a Masters in Information Science with a concentration in book library publishing.


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July 31, 2019

Teaching from the Library Publishing Curriculum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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July 24, 2019

Social justice driving library publishing

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

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

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

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

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

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March 21, 2019

Reflections on the first meeting of the IFLA Special Interest Group on Library Publishing

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Sixty librarians met in Dublin, Ireland on Feb 28 – Mar1, 2019 as the first meeting of the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA)’s new Special Interest Group on Library Publishing.  The idea for this group developed from a pre-conference on library publishing in Michigan, USA prior to the 2016 IFLA World Congress/Annual Conference.  IFLA approved the new Special Interest Group in the fall of 2018.  The Dublin Business School eagerly offered to host the group’s first meeting, providing a comfortable venue for inspiring presentations and rich dialogue.  During the meeting, news broke of the University of California’s decision not to renew subscriptions to Elsevier’s ScienceDirect journals package, a reminder of the urgency of the need to make scholarly work accessible and the potential role of library publishing to address these needs.

Library publishing aligns well with the traditional library mission to share knowledge freely.  As knowledge has transformed from print to digital formats, library publishing is a logical modern application of the library mission.  Approaches in library publishing from the University of Florida, Stockholm University, White Rose University Press in the UK, Pennsylvania State University and case studies shared throughout the meeting affirmed the strategic role for library publishing.  Presenters candidly shared successes and challenges experienced in their publishing activities including resources utilized.  Librarians offer a unique perspective to publishing as a result of their expertise in knowledge curation, dissemination and preservation.

Academic library publishers are also keen to educate users throughout the publishing process.  A session on education and mentoring in library publishing highlighted the publication of appropriate curriculum including the Library Publishing Coalition’s An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing, a pilot course required of student editors at Columbia University, embedding library publishing within a university writing course at Simon Fraser University, and development of a certification program to improve digital pedagogy among faculty with resulting massive open online courses (MOOCs) demonstrating improved student performance at Olso Metropolitan University.  Library publishing lends itself to the production of Open Educational Resources and other informational literacy educational objectives such as addressing misconceptions on campus about open access, options for authors rights retention and types of peer review.

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February 6, 2019

Academy-owned? Academic-led? Community-led? What’s at stake in the words we use to describe new publishing paradigms

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Editor’s note, 6/21/19: A Spanish translation of this post is now available on Blog Ameli: “¿Propiedad de la academia? ¿Dirigido por la academia? ¿Dirigido por la comunidad? Lo que está en juego cuando utilizamos palabras para describir los nuevos paradigmas de publicación.” Our thanks to AmeliCA for the translation!

Editor’s note: This blog post is LPC’s official contribution to Academic Led Publishing Day (ALPD), a global digital event to foster discussions about how members of the scholarly community can develop and support academic-led publishing initiatives. LPC is participating in ALPD because it presents an opportunity to have a multi-stakeholder discussion about an issue of growing importance to libraries, and to call attention to the lack of a shared vision in this critical area. Our goals in this post are to highlight some of the unresolved questions in this space and to call on libraries to grapple with them.

This post was co-authored by Melanie Schlosser (LPC Community Facilitator) and Catherine Mitchell (Director, Publishing & Special Collections, California Digital Library; Past President of the LPC Board).

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There is no question that we are facing significant challenges and opportunities as the traditional publishing model begins to falter. How the academy positions itself at this moment will have consequences for years to come.

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“Academy-owned” seems to be the descriptor du jour in scholarly communications circles.  We talk increasingly about academy-owned infrastructure, academy-owned publishing, academy-owned publications, etc. We find ourselves at meetings and conferences where we explore the challenges of supporting new forms of scholarly research, new modes of publication, new communities of readers — and there it is again — “academy-owned,” lurking in the conversation. We write grants whose very premise is that the academy will rise to claim its rightful place as the source, the maker, the distributor, the curator of its greatest asset — knowledge. There is definitely a movement afoot.

Why has this phrase taken hold lately? The landscape is increasingly dominated by large, multinational corporations that are vacuuming up tools and platforms throughout the scholarly communication lifecycle. Although many of these corporations are familiar to libraries as content publishers, they are expanding their reach well beyond publishing to control both upstream and downstream activities: pre-print servers, OA publishing platforms, current research information systems, etc. A rebellion is stirring among those who worry that we are increasingly abdicating control of the academy’s intellectual property, its data, its ability to share information — even its values — to for-profit companies. The more we rely on licensed resources to read, distribute, and measure the impact of our research — as well as to determine the success of our researchers and the value of our institutions — the more in thrall the academy is to a set of values that are derived from a profit-driven marketplace founded on restricted access to information and abstract performance metrics.

And yet this noble impulse to claim a space for the academy in the exchange and evaluation of scholarly research is also rife with linguistic confusion. While the drive toward “academy-owned” solutions is pervasive, the language we use to articulate this drive lacks precision. Sometimes we talk about “academy-owned” projects, but just as often we describe them as “academic-led” or “community-led” or any number of other permutations. [1] These phrases are not synonymous — their distinctions are actually quite important — yet we use them interchangeably and nod to each other, as if we know what we mean. What, exactly, do we mean? It’s time to ask ourselves to identify the big issues and difficult questions embedded both in the terms themselves and the vagueness with which we use them.

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November 29, 2018

The state of the field: An excerpt from the 2019 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 Alexandra Hoff, Jessica Kirschner, Janet Swatscheno, and Robert Browder, with an assist from me. Enjoy!

MOVING FORWARD, LOOKING OUTWARD

LOCAL AND EXTERNAL PARTNERSHIPS

Local partnerships remain a mainstay of library publishing, and this is reflected in the 2019 dataset. Most library publishers report partnering with campus departments (80%) and individual faculty (78%). Many also partner with
graduate students (57%) and undergraduate students (57%). A minority of library publishers partner with the university press (29%).

While library publishers continue to focus on campus stakeholders through faculty-driven and student-driven journals, this year’s responses indicated a significant increase in the number of journals published for external groups. The number of faculty-driven journals increased 16% (442 to 512) from the previous year, and the number of student-driven journals increased 31% (224 to 294), while journals published for external groups increased 50% (173 to 259). It is possible that the increase in journals published for outside groups is part of a larger trend in library publishing, or it may reflect more specifically the publishing approaches of the many new entries in this year’s Directory. (more…)


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September 11, 2018

Q&A about Ubiquity Press’ new Customer Charter

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The library publishing community was reminded last summer of an ever-present danger: that the commercial tools we rely on will be acquired by companies that don’t share the core values of librarianship. While building our own tools is always an option, there is also room for the commercial organizations we partner with to develop governance structures to protect their customers in the case of an acquisition. LPC sponsor Ubiquity Press recently released a Customer Charter and Partner Advisory Board that are meant to do just this. I asked Ubiquity Community Manager Chealsye Bowley to answer a few questions about them, and her responses are below. I’ve also included a bonus question and answer from Ubiquity Partner Advisory Board member Peter Potter, Virginia Tech’s voting representative to the LPC and Program Committee member. Thanks, Chealsye and Peter!

Q&A with Chealsye Bowley (Ubiquity Press)

What are the values embedded in the charter? 

The customer charter reflects the values of the Open community – immediately available CC-BY open access, use and development of open source tools, and transparency. We wanted to codify our business practices through this charter. Ubiquity is committed to remaining open access, open source, and never exclusively bundling our products.

How was it created?

The customer charter was drafted by our CEO Brian Hole and the company’s Board to reflect discussions we had with our Ubiquity presses, librarians, and the larger Open community in 2018. We wanted to establish this governance to formalize our commitment to the values of the Open community, better protect customer interests, and to respond to general calls from the community for greater transparency by service providers.

How will the new Partner Advisory Board work? What kind of influence or authority will it have around the organization’s adherence to the charter?

The Partner Advisory Board will provide advice on strategic decisions, and guide our adherence to the customer charter. There is a minimum of 3 members and a maximum of 9 members. The initial Partner Advisory Board members were selected to best represent Ubiquity’s existing partners, and includes Gali Halevi, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; Andrew Lockett, University of Westminster; Nirmala Menon, IIT Indore; Peter Potter, Virginia Tech (Chair); and Wilhelm Widmark, Stockholm University Library. Ubiquity is represented by CEO Brian Hole and COO Tom Mowlan.

The Partner Advisory Board will have at least two meetings per year with additional meetings being held as necessary. Meeting minutes will be made publicly available. The full terms of the Partner Advisory Board are detailed in this document available through the Ubiquity website.

One of the goals of the charter is to assure customers that the values that currently guide Ubiquity will continue to be prioritized in the event of an acquisition. How will the charter accomplish this? 

If a sale that would change the majority shareholder is being considered, the Partner Advisory Board would be informed and the proposed majority shareholder would need to commit to continue conducting business in accordance to the Customer Charter for at least 5 years. If the Partner Advisory Board advises not to move forward with the sale on the grounds that no sufficient commitment has been made, Ubiquity will not proceed.

What else would you want library publishers to know about these new developments? 

The customer charter and new Partner Advisory Board are just our first steps. We want to keep engaging with the community and building on this governance. One example of this is an extended commitment to not only use open source software per the charter, but to actively contribute code and support the communities that produce it. This is exemplified in new collaborative relationships with the PKP and Samvera communities in North America, and our ongoing production of open source tools with the OPERAS consortium in Europe. If any library publishers have questions, feedback, or suggestions, we’d love to hear it!

Other questions? Email Chealsye at chealsye.bowley@ubiquitypress.com.

Q&A with Peter Potter (Virginia Tech)

What do you see as the value of the Advisory Board for the members of the Ubiquity Partner Network? 

At a time when the library publishing community is grappling with a host of new open-source publishing tools and platforms, it is wonderful to see Ubiquity committing to open-source in such a public and transparent way. I was delighted when Ubiquity released its new charter and I welcomed the opportunity to serve on the Advisory Board because I see in it a unique opportunity to contribute to shaping the future of the Ubiquity Partner Network.


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September 6, 2018

One library’s scholar-led, scholar-owned manifesto

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This is an invited guest post by Paige Mann at the University of Redlands. 

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“As we expand the footprint of library publishing, we must continue to dialogue with colleagues about the increasing corporatization of academic libraries, and how scholar-led and/or scholar-owned is necessary for the good of our institutions, researchers, students, mainstream and marginalized communities.”

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Building off a shared value for critical librarianship, the librarians at the University of Redlands have been adapting our practices to respond to a myriad of factors, including shrinking budgets, vendor mergers and acquisitions, and publisher transformations into information analytic businesses. Although ours is a private, liberal arts institution that prioritizes teaching over publishing, all of higher education is involved with scholarship and learning, and are thus all affected by and affect scholarly publishing. Given our professional values, library publishers and libraries as a whole must use our positions to discern and respond to practices that erode, or can otherwise weaken, scholarship and learning.

When considering third-party commitments, our practice at the Armacost Library has been to base decisions primarily on costs, features, demand, usage, and influences on student learning. However, since January 2018 our library has been discussing the role professional values play in these decisions. We created a flexible assessment to foreground these values. This assessment takes into account community governance, fair licensing practices, diversity and inclusivity, commitment to open, privacy, and other criteria. Recognizing the impact this could have on institutional relationships, we followed this with a manifesto to draw attention to perversions we observed in scholarly communication practices. Our current draft of the Scholar-Led, Scholar-Owned Manifesto is brief, but dense with citations to strengthen our stance.

As we expand the footprint of library publishing, we must continue to dialogue with colleagues about the increasing corporatization of academic libraries, and how scholar-led and/or scholar-owned is necessary for the good of our institutions, researchers, students, mainstream and marginalized communities. That is, let’s adapt our ethical framework for publishing to also ground the terms with which we negotiate with vendors regarding our repositories, subscriptions, purchases, systems, and services. Let’s also reexamine ways to better steward the resources under our care to balance immediate needs with long-term, sustainable scholarly infrastructures. I’d like to see our scholarly communication units lead this change alongside our reference and user services, technical services, special collections, information literacy, web and technology teams.

The Manifesto will likely remain in draft form for a while as we negotiate with colleagues and ourselves, and while we reconcile the philosophical with the practical world of time, budgetary, and enrollment pressures. With the understanding that this is a big, complex, and ongoing adventure, we are pacing ourselves and will do what we can, with what we have, to work toward sustainable change in libraries. To that end, we encourage you to use and adapt the Assessment and Manifesto documents to stimulate discussion and change at your institutions.

Paige Mann
Physical Sciences Librarian | Web Experiences Librarian
University of Redlands


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August 31, 2018

Building alliances: AUPresses/LPC collaborations and synergies

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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.

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“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.”

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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

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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

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“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.”

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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

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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

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“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.”

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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

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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

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“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.”

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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…)


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August 1, 2018

Reflection on research: The relevance of information behavior studies to the work of library publishing

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This is a guest post by Dan Tracy, the 2018 recipient of the Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing. LPC’s Research Committee asked Dan to write a post for the blog to highlight his research and inspire others in the community to investigate topics of interest to our growing field.

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“Experimentation in online publishing that would not translate well to pdf is still a good thing…but my suspicion is that the really interesting innovation in digital scholarly publishing is not going to come in modifying legacy formats that people still find useful.”

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When the LPC Research Committee notified me that they had chosen my article on user studies in the context of library publishing programs for its annual award, I was delighted and honored. When I began my master’s degree in LIS, one thing that stuck early on was the disciplinary emphasis on understanding the information needs, preferences, and behaviors of different populations as a key element of service design. This concept was (and continues to be, from my ongoing experience with the program as a librarian) probably the foundational concept of one of the required courses at University of Illinois MS-LIS program (which I took with Professor Kathryn LaBarre), and it is a touchstone I come back to in all the work that I do now.

The research that led to this article stems back to a couple of experiences during my first years as a librarian, but the most important was attending the inaugural Library Publishing Forum in 2014. It was an exciting, groundbreaking event, but one that left me with one nagging question: where were the users, by which I mean the readers, of our publications in our design of these services? They were oddly absent from the program and discussion. (I’ll note that I heard more people raising these issues in the second and third forums.) Don’t get me wrong: libraries had and have a lot to do as they build up publishing services, so there is justification in spending a lot of time talking about relationships with authors, models for sustainability, and other key issues that were very much on the agenda. However, in talking about why libraries might have something to offer in publishing, a key theme for the inaugural conference, why not emphasize our tradition of investigation into how and why people use our resources as a strength in delivering publications to users? (more…)


Fellows Journal text over an image of a desktop
July 27, 2018

Three publishing conferences with a common theme of diversity and whiteness

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

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

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

Library Publishing Forum

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

(more…)


July 9, 2018

Digital Publishing Your Way: Moving Toward Multimodal, Flexible Platforms

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Editor’s note: 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.”

(more…)


July 5, 2018

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

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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

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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…)


June 8, 2018

From services to access: Reflections of a first-time Forum attendee

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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 Talea Anderson, Scholarly Communication Librarian at Washington State University and recipient of a Library Publishing Forum First-Time Attendee Scholarship. 

In May I attended my first Library Publishing Forum with support kindly provided by LPC. The conference was filled with meaningful experiences for me. I’d mention in particular the time I was able to spend with the editorial staff of Kairos as part of KairosCamp and the opportunity I had later in the week to participate in the first pilot of the Library Publishing Curriculum. I manage a small, service-focused scholarly communication program at Washington State University, and these two workshops provided a glimpse of the editorial services that help keep journals running. On my campus, we are currently moving forward with supporting faculty who would like to create and publish open educational resources and I came away with a better understanding of the kinds of needs these faculty members may have when it comes to preparing, editing, and publishing their work.

These workshops were a great introduction to editorial work and publishing services, but for me the most meaningful part of LPF came on the first day when Catherine Kudlick spoke about web accessibility (slides coming soon). Kudlick invited us as library publishers to build accessibility into our workflows from the start, and to see this work not as punitive but as a service to all people, including disabled communities. This message is certainly important but I connected to it on an unexpectedly personal level. I learned, on introducing myself to Kudlick after her keynote, that we share the same eye condition and face similar challenges when it comes to doing things like presenting to audiences and reading texts on mobile devices. I rarely encounter others who can relate to the way I see—it’s rarer still to find people in academia who cope with vision loss while engaging with publishing and scholarly communication. The brief chat I had with Kudlick was, to say the least, a special opportunity for me. In the end, thanks in part to this encounter, I came away from LPF feeling inspired to continue improving access to information for everyone, including people like me and Kudlick and many others who benefit from inclusive publishing practices.

Talea Anderson
Scholarly Communication Librarian
Washington State University


June 7, 2018

What do we value in academic ownership?

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum and Owned by the Academy: A Preconference on Open Source Publishing Software. See the whole series

When I learned that this year’s Library Publishing Forum preconference was called “Owned by the Academy,” I knew right away that I had to attend. I was just beginning my new job as Scholarly Communications Librarian at West Virginia University, and our Dean had recently mentioned to me the idea of academically-owned publishing. So the preconference presented a perfect opportunity to learn more about an area of interest at my new institution.

I anticipated that I would learn about lots of different open source publishing platforms, and leave the conference better informed to make recommendations as to which of these would be a good fit for my library, and this certainly happened. But since returning from Minneapolis, I’ve also been spending a lot of time reflecting on owned by the academy as a concept, and so I’m going to dedicate this post to sharing some of my thoughts on this issue.

Prior to the preconference, the phrase owned by the academy brought to my mind open source publishing software built and supported by a community of academic librarians, IT and development staff, and academically-oriented non-profits. I imagined that under an “academically-owned” setup, the software and infrastructure would be hosted at the institutional or consortial level and that commercial entities would not have a role to play.

But in light of my experience at the Owned by the Academy Preconference (and the Library Publishing Forum as a whole), I’ve been reconsidering what owned by the academy really means. At the preconference, there were representatives from colleges, universities, and non-profits, but some for-profit businesses were represented as well. So I’ve been thinking a lot about whether for-profit involvement is compatible with academic ownership. (more…)


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February 7, 2018

Predatory publishing from a global south perspective

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

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

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