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.
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.
FUNDING & STAFFING
Since 2013 the Library Publishing Directory survey has asked library publishers to report the sources of their funding. Every year thus far the majority of respondents have indicated that at least some of their funding comes from their library’s operating budget. The trend continued this year, with 62 (43.36%) library publishers indicating that 100% of their funding came from the library operating budget and an additional 45 (31.47%) reporting that some of their funding came from the operating budget. Nine (6.29%) respondents reported that all of their funding came from the library materials budget.
Non-library campus budgets funded library publishing activities for 12 library publishers while 14 received funding from grants. No library since 2019 has indicated receiving any funding from licensing revenue, while 11 received some funding through sales and 9 through chargebacks.
Staffing for library publishing continues to vary widely across institutional type and program size. In 2022 only 29 programs (20%) reported any graduate student support, while 27 programs reported undergraduate student staff and 11 programs reported both. This year’s data revealed that the average number of professional and paraprofessional staff involved in library publishing activity remains nearly flat in comparison to 2021, at 2.8 FTE (126 respondents to this question) for professional staff and 2.7 FTE for paraprofessional (50 respondents).
OPEN ACCESS FOCUS
Library publishers continue to strongly support open access publication. Over half (79) reported having a completely open access focus, while an additional 63 reported open access to be very important or important. Only 1 respondent indicated that open access is only somewhat important to their library publishing program.
PUBLICATION TYPES & SCOPE
Overall, library publishers continue to publish large numbers of journals (1,275 total), data sets (1,451), and monographs (1,611). As in previous years, the majority of journals (771) are publications driven by faculty at a particular institution. Respondents reported publishing over 37,000 electronic theses and dissertations and 3,500 undergraduate theses and capstone projects. As always, signs of especially interesting library publishing work are apparent in the “other” category, with library publishers undertaking digital exhibits and exhibit catalogues, student projects and posters, magazines, annual reports, and working papers.
Notably, there was a decrease in the reported number of all publication types for the 2021-2022 year with the exception of journals published on behalf of external groups and datasets, which saw increases of about 3% and 6%, respectively. The total number of published journals decreased by about 7%. With frequent changes in reported data over time, it is difficult to assess the significance of these figures; however, it may be worthwhile to monitor changes over the next several years and the potential impacts of the pandemic (on budgets, staff time, and engagement of partners) on publishing program outputs.
Disciplinary coverage of library publishing programs continues to be rich and varied. History (including subfields such as regional and local history) and education are very common areas of focus; of 444 total responses to this question (including multiple disciplines per institutional respondent) both were listed 33 times. Other disciplines commonly reported include anthropology, engineering, agriculture, and social justice.
Library publishers continue to report ongoing partnerships with faculty and departments/units within their institutions. Eighty-six percent of 2022 Directory respondents indicated that they partner with departments within their organizations, and nearly 21% reported partnering with a university press.
Moreover, nearly 68% of library publishers indicate that they will consider working with external partners so long as there is a tie to their home institution, up from approximately 60% last year. Additionally, nearly 19% expressed an openness to work with any external partner, up from 12.6% in the 2021 Directory. Seven consortial library publishers responded, representing additional publishing activity from institutions that may not be explicitly included in the Library Publishing Directory.
PLATFORMS & TECHNOLOGY
One of the most fluid aspects of library publishing is which platforms and technologies are being used. Publishing platforms and preservation infrastructures are constantly being developed, tested, deployed, and upgraded. The library publishing community appears open to new tools, migrating to new platforms, and supporting community-led projects. For the last several years, almost 2/3 of library publishers reported utilizing multiple platforms and technical solutions across their publication portfolios. OJS (47%), bepress [Digital Commons] (32%), DSpace (29%), Omeka (23%), Pressbooks (23%) and WordPress (25%) appear as the most heavily used platforms, while 13% of library publishers report using locally developed platforms.
Of the 143 survey respondents, only 2% report having no digital preservation services while 20% report discussing which digital preservation services to adopt. Approximately 27% of respondents use in-house preservation systems. Otherwise, the most commonly used preservation services are LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, Amazon S3, and PKP Preservation Network.
SERVICES OFFERED BY LIBRARY PUBLISHERS
Library publishers provide a wide suite of services to their publishing partners. Over 70% of the 2022 Directory publishers indicated that they provide copyright support, metadata services, and DOI assignment, while nearly 70% provide training. Over half provide hosting of supplemental content, analytics, and ISSN assignment, while just under half provide digitization services. While this represents a small decline from last year (52%), as recently as 2016 82% of library publishers were offering digitization services.
ABOUT THE DATA
While the original intent of the Library Publishing Directory was to raise the profile of library publishing organizations and to underline the value of this work, over the course of time the collected directories have become a unique record of the changing nature of the field, both in the activities pursued and the participants involved.
In 2021, the LPC Directory Committee and the LPC Research Committee collaborated on the release of a new resource for researchers interested in the field of library publishing: the Library Publishing Directory research data set (https://librarypublishing.org/lp-directory/).
This resource is primarily composed of the data that underlie the 2014-2022 Library Publishing Directories, in csv format. Researchers will also find the original survey instrument and data dictionary for each year. For those interested in identifying changes to the survey design, a crosswalk file maps field additions and deletions over time. Finally, a readme file provides descriptive, methodological, and licensing information about the data.
The Library Publishing Coalition plans to update the data set on a yearly basis so that it can continue to be an evolving picture of the field. Our hope is that this new resource will be a generative contribution to the growing evidence base informing best practice and demonstrating the impact of library publishing services. We look forward to users of this data sharing their findings with the LPC community as a way to understand the data’s utility and value.