A Research blog post from
- Corinne Guimont, Digital Scholarship Coordinator & Interim Director, Virginia Tech Publishing, Virginia Tech
- Matt Vaughn, Open Publishing Librarian, Indiana University Libraries
- Cheryl E. Ball, Independent publishing consultant and Executive Director of the Council of Editors of Learned Journals
A key job responsibility for many library publishers is to collaborate with authors to determine the best mechanisms to share and publish their research. Open-access publishing has been on library publishers’ radars for over two decades, and the types of publishing that librarians are responsible for has expanded from PDFs in Institutional Repositories to faculty and student journals, digital humanities projects, and open educational resources. Further, authors and editors are interested in publishing their work in a digital and open environment with innovative content, including interactive elements and multimedia. While there are numerous commercial and open-source platforms available for publishing research (i.e., bePress, Drupal, WordPress), the number of academy-owned or -affiliated publishing platforms has flourished in the last five years, and the choices can feel overwhelming to librarians, let alone authors and editors. So, then, how do potential users find out about which platforms may be available? The librarians’ answer: A crosswalk!
We are delighted to announce the release of “Finding the Right Platform” (https://doi.org/10.17613/z27e-0z11), a crosswalk that compares 10 academy-owned and open-source publishing platforms commonly used in library and university press publishing. “Finding the Right Platform” is published under a CC-BY license on Humanities Commons.
The crosswalk begins by asking users what type of project they want to publish and what features they are looking for in publishing platforms. Our goal was to help librarians, publishers, and authors/researchers make a decision to further pursue one platform over another (or to identify and further research a smaller group of platforms that might be suitable for their projects).
This 34-page, hyperlinked crosswalk includes at-a-glance feature comparisons for the following platforms
- Humanities Commons
- Open Journal Systems (OJS)
In answering the questions “What kind of project do you want to create?” and “What kind of features are you looking for?” this crosswalk compares each of the relevant platforms across the following features:
- Hosting & Cost
- Ingestion Options
- Editorial Workflows
- Archive & Preservation
- Export Options
- Discoverability, and
Each platform also has its own one-pager that provides a more detailed description of the individual project and what it excels at.
This project idea came during an NEH panel on The Futures of Digital Scholarship, held in May 2022. In the fall of 2022, the idea resurfaced during a Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) community call on non-traditional publications, and work began during the LPC’s Documentation Month in February 2023 with librarians Corinne Guimont (LPC Member from Virginia Tech), Matt Vaughn (LPC Member from Indiana University), and independent publishing consultant Cheryl E. Ball (LPC Strategic Affiliate through the Council of Editors of Learned Journals). The goal was to get as much done on a few, key platforms during documentation month and call it a win. However, our scope continued to grow as we identified better and easier ways for potential users to interact with the crosswalk. A one-month project turned into a 10-month project, and a collaborative team that worked together seamlessly and with a lot of fun!
In May 2023, we presented on the progress of our work at the Library Publishing Forum and sought feedback to incorporate into the final crosswalk from LPC users and platform owners. Ultimately, we have created a tool highlighting ten common platforms, with tables comparing the user-needs criteria based on publication type (e.g., book, journal, DH project) and detailed one-pagers for each platform with commonly sought out information and links to detailed documentation.
In addition to the crosswalk itself, we have written an article forthcoming in the International Journal of Librarianship (special issue on Scholarly Communication, co-edited by Charlotte Roh) that outlines the platforms we chose (and why), what documentation and criteria we looked at for each, how we decided to design the crosswalk, outcomes of user-testing, how and where we decided to release the documentation in collaboration with other entities, and what future plans may be in store for adding additional platforms to this CC-BY licensed project. We look forward to feedback from the LPC and scholarly communications communities, and we hope that others might take up the task of continuing to add to, revise, and refine this crosswalk as more platforms, documentation, and features come available to library publishing.