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.
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.
I am originally from Luhansk, but have been working in Kyiv since 2014. When the Russian invasion began in February 2022, I fled with my family to Western Ukraine, where I continued to work remotely. Some employees of the Institute left Ukraine in search of safety. Most of them took refuge in neighboring Poland, Romania, Hungary and Moldova. Many people also took advantage of the opportunity provided by the Canadian government to help Ukrainians and their family members come to work and study in Canada. We continue to collaborate across international boundaries on our work to advance the field of telehealth in Ukraine.
Unfortunately, with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, all funding and projects were suspended, but our team wanted to share the results of our work so far through publishing in international journals. Most highly ranked journals in the scope of information technology and computer science have a very high Article Processing Charge and other fees up to several thousand dollars or euros. I set myself the task of conducting a systematic analysis of peer reviewed journals on the scope of information technology and computer science, and finding journals for publication in which article processing charge and other fees are not required. To start my search for a publication outlet, I used the free SCImago Journal & Country Rank service and Elsevier’s Scopus citation database. As a result of the search and the systematic analysis, a journal was found that matched all the indicators and parameters – The International Journal of Telerehabilitation (IJT).
The next step was an attempt to contact the editor-in-chief of IJT, Dr. Ellen R. Cohn. For a long time, there was no answer, so I decided to submit directly to the journal itself using its Open Journal Systems platform. The response from the editor was quick after that. The problem turned out to be that the University of Pittsburgh did not accept emails from our Institute. After establishing contact through third-party email services and the OJS platform, I was able to publish my research team’s study in the shortest possible time.
Further communication with Dr. Cohn allowed our research team to expand further cooperation and publish an electronic version of the monograph “New Information Technologies, Simulation and Automation”. The monograph was a compilation from the XIV International Scientific and Practical Conference “Information Technologies and Automation – 2021”, which took place in October 2021 at The Odessa National University of Technology. This was made possible through the close cooperation with Harrison W. Inefuku at Iowa State University in the US. When we communicated with him by email, the same problems described above arose, but we worked through them using the lessons learned from our work with Dr. Cohn.
In my opinion, this experience has shown that for interaction between authors (especially not from the USA) and the editors of journals, it is necessary to use alternative means of communication messaging, such as corporate collaborative platforms Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex or Workplace by Meta, or use the built-in communication services in the publishing platforms. Despite all the difficulties with communication services, we were able to work fruitfully and publish the article and monograph of my research team.
Journal Editor’s Perspective: Ellen R. Cohn, PhD, CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow
About the Journal. I’ve had the honor of serving as the founding editor of the International Journal of Telerehabilitation (IJT), since 2008. IJT was the first open access journal published in Pitt Open Library Publishing’s catalog.
IJT’s volunteer staff, reviewers, and editorial board hail from numerous rehabilitation associated disciplines. Jana Cason, DHS, OTR/L, FAOTA, professor at Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, Spalding University serves as Senior Associate Editor, and William E. Janes, as OTD, MSCI, OTR/L, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, USA as Section Editor. IJT also recognizes the tremendous support given over the years by former University of Pittsburgh Library System employees Tim Deliyannides and Vanessa Gabler.
Special Issue from Ukraine. There had been an uptick in submissions to IJT since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first ever submission to IJT from Ukraine arrived on May 13, 2022, on Day 78 of the Russian invasion of the country: “Hybrid e-rehabilitation services: SMART-system for remote support of rehabilitation activities and services,” authors: Oleksandr V. Palagin, Kyrylo S. Malakhov, Vitalii Yu. Velychko, Tetiana V. Semykopna. Recognizing the urgency to publish, the review process was completed within 36 hours, with a recommendation to publish.
We first consulted with Lauren Collister at Pitt Open Library Publishing, who supported a plan to create a Special Issue that could be published immediately. Due to the international political sensitivities, the University Center for International Studies and the Center for Russian, East European & Eurasian Studies were each consulted. Both were in favor of publishing the work. However, all parties declined to include photos of the authors and other research teams, not wanting to create security risks.
The Special Issue: Research Status Report – Ukraine was published one week later, on May 20, 2022.
The researchers had three additional requests that I have continued to address.
- To be connected with US sources of grant funding and collaboration for future research. This request has not yet been actualized. (Readers: if such opportunities exist at your institutions, please contact Ellen Cohn, email@example.com)
- To build upon existing telemedicine expertise. I made a referral to a US-based telemedicine leader who has begun to meet with a team in Ukraine to lend advice on organizing clinical telemedicine services.
- To publish an e-book. I contacted Lauren again at our library to find out the options.
Making the referral, by Lauren B. Collister, Director of the Office of Scholarly Communication and Publishing, University of Pittsburgh Library System
When Ellen contacted our team with the request to help publish the Ukrainian authors’ monograph, I knew I wanted to help but did not have a ready answer like we did for the journal. While the University of Pittsburgh Library System was well-positioned to publish journals and related content, we did not have the expertise or infrastructure in place to publish a book.
One thing I’ve learned from the Library Publishing Coalition is that we all have our focus areas; because not every publisher can do everything, we can be stronger together by sharing our expertise with each other. I saw an opportunity to put that perspective into action. In this case, rather than spin up a monograph publishing model for this one inquiry, I felt comfortable reaching out to my colleagues in the community to make a referral.
I started by searching the Library Publishing Directory for organizations that publish monographs and “journals contracted by external groups.” I knew that a campus connection was unlikely, so I needed to identify potential outlets that would be willing to publish something not affiliated with their campus. I also consulted my notes from the most recent Library Publishing Forums to identify programs that had talked about their work in this area publicly. I had just had the opportunity to learn about Iowa State’s program from Harrison Inefuku, and I knew some details about their program. With this recent experience and connection in mind, I reached out to Harrison first with the referral inquiry.
First, I contacted Harrison by email to confirm that this monograph was a good candidate for their program and that they were interested in a referral. Only after Harrison responded positively did I contact Ellen and Kyrylo. After confirming that both sides were still interested, I introduced them by e-mail and, expressing my full confidence in Harrison’s program, let the referral do its work.
Publishing the Monograph, by Harrison W. Inefuku, Scholarly Publishing Services Librarian, Iowa State University
Lauren’s initial email came in while I was on vacation, so it took a little over a week for me to respond. The request caught my eye—a group of Ukrainian authors was seeking a digital publisher for a monograph originally published in print by a Ukrainian press and written largely in Ukrainian. The Iowa State University Digital Press has a broad publishing scope, with our services available to authors unaffiliated with Iowa State, so long as the disciplinary focus of the publication is represented in Iowa State’s academic or research programs. As a university with strong STEM programs, Kyrylo’s monograph fit within this scope.
One of the primary goals of the Iowa State University Digital Press is to diversify the voices represented in the scholarly record, including the publication of works in languages other than English. The Iowa State University Library is a signatory to the Helsinki Initiative on Multilingualism in Scholarly Communication, which recommends “equal access to researched knowledge is provided in a variety of languages.” As such, the publication of a monograph written largely in Ukrainian did not present an obstacle and I was in a position to accept the monograph for publication through the Digital Press.
Once I had a chance to respond to Lauren’s inquiry, publication of the monograph moved quickly. By the end of the day, I was in contact with Ellen and Kyrylo, and Kyrylo quickly had the materials ready. Much of the work in putting the monograph was already complete by the time I entered the picture, with English translations of the monograph’s title, abstract, and front matter ready to go. I adapted the cover Kyrylo had created to match the Digital Press’s style and provided Kyrylo with the DOI and ISBN so he could update the copyright page. The book was published using Janeway’s book plugin within a week.
The publication of New Information Technologies, Simulation and Automation shows how our networks, fostered in part by the Library Publishing Coalition, and the flexibility of library publishing allowed us to be responsive to the needs of authors impacted by global events. I am grateful Lauren reached out and connected me with Ellen and Kyrylo, allowing me to participate in the publication of this book.
The capacity to disseminate the work of Ukrainian scholars in challenging times is the result of at least two decades of collaboration and the building of infrastructure, both within and between US universities; IJT reviewers, IJT Editorial Board and IJT staff across the US; and the Library Publishing community. The promise of this robust infrastructure is in realizing exactly this kind of project and connecting researchers in need with the tools and support to publish their work.