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.
THE 2023 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.
As in previous years, the overwhelming majority of respondents are from academic libraries, with 92% reporting this institution type. This year, 73% of respondents reported that their program is established, a slight increase over last year’s 68%, while 23% report their program as early. Just over half of respondents (n = 80) report that their program was established before 2010; similar to the 2022 survey, 68% of respondents report that their programs have been in operation for at least a decade.
Open access remains a priority for most reporting library publishers, as 85% defined open access as central to their mission, with 58% of respondents reporting that all of their publications are open access and 31% reporting that most of their publications are open access.
ORGANIZATION AND STAFFING
The numbers reported for the organizational structure of library publishing are consistent with last year. This year, 70% of respondents reported that their services are centralized within a unit or department in the library (60% in 2022), and 18% reported that their services are distributed across units within the library (22% in 2022). The number of library publishers that reported working with an advisory or editorial board was 41, up from 34 in 2022 and 28 in 2021.
Since 2013, the Library Publishing Directory has asked library publishers to report the sources of their funding. Every year thus far, the majority of respondents have reported that at least some of their funding comes from their library’s operating budget. This trend continued in 2023 with 84% of respondents reporting the library operating budget as either fully or partially funding their publishing programs. The next most common source of funding is the library materials budget (26%). Other sources of funding included grants (17%), non-library campus budgets (15%), chargebacks/cost sharing (12%), sales revenue (13%), author fees (7%), charitable contributions (7%), and endowment income (7%). About 70 respondents reported only one source of funding, while 78 respondents reported multiple sources.
Staffing of library publishing programs continues to vary, with a small number of large programs reporting very large staff. In 2023, 28% of respondents reported employing graduate students, and 29% noted that they employ undergraduate students. These numbers indicate a slight increase in student employment from 2022. The median numbers of professional and paraprofessional staff involved in library publishing activity was 2 FTE (151 respondents to this question) and 3 total staff (147 respondents).
PUBLISHING ACTIVITIES AND DISCIPLINARY SPECIALTIES
The most common material types reported in 2023 were journals (89%), conference papers and proceedings (80%), theses and dissertations (75%), educational resources (66%), and monographs (60%). Under half of respondents (46%) reported publishing datasets. Other material types reported include gray literature, newsletters, multimedia, expansive digital publications, and databases.
This year saw a slight increase in the total number of journals published by all respondents (1,282) and a decrease in the total number of monographs (1,240). The majority of journals published by respondents are peer-reviewed (917), and just under half are faculty-created journals.
Library publishing programs continue to support a broad range of disciplinary specialties representing fields across the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Education and history continue to be the top reported disciplinary specialties among respondents, with 41 and 37 respondents respectively.The next most commonly cited discipline was law, but it was a distant third (17 respondents).
Library publishers continue to report that they have partnerships with faculty (79%) and other departments or programs within their institutions (84%). Over half of the respondents reported partnerships with students, with 57% working with graduate students and 44% working with undergraduates.
The majority of respondents (76%) represent the only publishing unit administered by their library, while slightly less than a quarter have other publishing units within their libraries. At the institutional level, 57% of respondents reported that their unit is one of multiple publishing units at their parent institution, and 41% reported that they are the only publishing unit at their parent institution.
A majority of respondents (57%) indicated that they are willing to work with an external partner, provided there is tie to their institution. This is down significantly from 2022 when 68% of respondents indicated the same willingness. Additionally, 22% of respondents indicated a willingness to work with any external partner, which represents a continued increase in these types of partnerships from 2022 (19%) and 2021 (13%).
PLATFORMS AND TECHNOLOGY
The most commonly reported media types supported by library publishers are text (95%), images (71%), video (59%), data (58%), and audio (55%). Other reported media types include multimedia or interactive content, concept maps or other visualizations, and modeling.
Open Journal Systems (50%), DSpace (33%), and bepress Digital Commons (28%) continue to be the most widely used platforms in the library publishing space. This result is consistent with years past, with the exception of a slight increase in Pressbooks usage, which could correspond to library publishers’ increased interest in open educational resources.
The majority of respondents (86%) indicated that they either use or are considering some form of digital preservation. The most common approach to digital preservation is the use of an in-house system, with 30% of respondents reporting this method. Other commonly used preservation platforms are Amazon S3 (20%), LOCKSS (18%), PKP Preservation Network (17%), CLOCKSS (16%), and Portico (11%).
SERVICES OFFERED BY LIBRARY PUBLISHERS
Library publishers provide a wide suite of services to their publishing partners. Over 80% of respondents provide copyright support and DOI assignment. Over half provide metadata services (71%), author advisory services (66%), training (66%), ISSN registry (64%), hosting of supplemental content (60%), cataloging (56%), and analytics (55%). The decline in the number of library publishers providing digitization services holds steady with 49% of respondents in 2023 identifying it as one of their services. This percentage is the same as in 2022, when just under half of respondents reported this service. As recently as 2016, 82% of library publishers reported providing digitization services. Fewer than 10% of respondents reported offering budget preparation or business model development services.
The policies section is newly added this year and expands on information collected last year about diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). This year, data collection was expanded to include multiple types of potential policies and to ask for information about which policies library publishing programs may use as reference points or which they believe represent best practices. This year, information gathered determined that library publishers have implemented a wide range of policies that guide their programs’ work. These policies are set, suggested, or drafted at both the program level and the publication level. The majority of respondents indicated that they have policies in the following areas: accessibility, antiracism, author rights/copyright, authorship/contributorship, compensation/royalty, conflict of interest, DEI, editorial boards, ethics, name changes, open access, and retraction/correction.
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 dataset (https://librarypublishing.org/lp-directory/).
This resource is primarily composed of the data that underlie the 2014-2023 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 dataset 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.