Publishing Practice Award sealThe Library Publishing Coalition is excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for the first annual Publishing Practice Awards. These awards are designed to recognize and raise awareness of effective and sustainable library publishing practices.


The Publishing Practice Awards will highlight library publishing programs that exemplify concepts advanced in the LPC’s An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing and/or in the LPC’s Values statement. While a representative publication must be submitted, the focus of these awards is not on publication content but on the process of publishing the piece. The inaugural award categories are:

  • Accessibility
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

An award will be available in each category, though an award may not be given out in every category, depending on the application pool. Two additional categories—Innovation and Privacy—will be added in subsequent years. 

Award recipients will be publicly recognized by the Library Publishing Coalition, and will receive a digital seal that they may place on their website and on the publication associated with their winning submission. Awardees will also share their publication process with the wider library publishing community through a post on the  LPC Blog, adapted from their application narrative.


Any library engaged in scholarly publishing can apply for an award. Publishers applying for an award need not be affiliated with an LPC member institution. Each publisher may submit only one application per year, in a single category. 


Applications for the 2021 awards should be submitted via the application form. The deadline for submissions has been extended to January 25, 2021.

Applications will include a link to the published work and a short narrative describing the process the publisher undertook to produce an exemplary publication in the category. The narrative should describe how the publisher met the goals of the author(s) and editor(s) while keeping goals related to Accessibility or to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the fore and should highlight any novel techniques or workflows used to accomplish these goals.

Narrative guidelines

  • Language: Application materials must be submitted in English, although fluency of composition in English is not a judging criteria. 
  • Length: The essay should be 500-1,000 words in length and should be formatted as a personal narrative.
  • Narrative: The narrative will describe the publishing process for this publication, and explain considerations addressed that relate to the award category. Describe in what ways the nominated publication is exemplary of publishing practices that address category goals. The narrative should highlight any novel techniques or workflows used to accomplish these category goals. **Please note that awardees will adapt their application narrative into a post for the LPC Blog.**

Representative publication eligibility

  • Date: May have been published at any time within the five years preceding the year of the award (i.e. 2016–2020 for the 2021 awards).
  • Format: We define “publication” broadly and include any work that can be argued to fit the definition of publishing laid out by the Library Publishing Coalition: “Generally, library publishing requires a production process, presents original work not previously made available, and applies a level of certification to the content published, whether through peer review or extension of the institutional brand.”
  • Language: May have been published in any language.
  • Open Access: Must be published in a format that is freely available and accessible online at the time of submission.
  • Peer Review: Given the broad definition of “publication” in this process, submitted works need not have undergone traditional peer review.

Apply for a Publishing Practice Award

Evaluation Guidelines

Each category will be evaluated separately. Applicants may address other categories in their submitted narrative, but the publication and narrative will be evaluated only according to the evaluation guidelines for the category selected for submission.

The LPC Publishing Practice Award Committee will oversee evaluation. Submissions for each category will be evaluated by a panel consisting of Committee members and independent judges selected by the Committee based on their expertise in that category. Recipients will be announced in the spring, before the Library Publishing Forum.

Below are descriptions of this year’s categories with potential questions specific to each. The questions provide a general framework for evaluating the publication and are not meant to be prescriptive or all-inclusive.


The application narrative should address how and when attention to accessibility was incorporated into the publication process. We are especially interested in processes and publications that push the boundaries of accessibility practice. We also encourage submissions of publications that follow current accessibility best practices. The judges for this category will be asking questions such as: 

  • What accessibility best practices are exemplified in the work?
  • Does the work push boundaries in its attempts to address accessibility concerns?
  • What accessibility concerns has the publisher attempted to address in the format for the published work?
  • How was the addressing of accessibility concerns integrated into the publishing process?
  • Was accessibility implemented as an afterthought, or as a necessary part of the production of the work itself?

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The application narrative should address how diversity, equity, and inclusivity considerations were incorporated into the publication process. This includes approaches, activities, or policies which demonstrably increase equity between the historically centered and the historically marginalized, provide inclusive access to a traditionally exclusive space, or increase the diversity of your publishing program. The judges for this category will be asking questions such as: 

  • Does the publication expand diversity and inclusion in the published record? Specifically, did the publisher solicit diverse content and provide equitable opportunities for participation by authors and/or editors of diverse backgrounds?
  • Does this publication expand representation of geography and/or language? Is this publication available in translation, or does it provide original content in a marginalized or minoritized language?
  • If the publication was subject to peer review, was peer review for this publication managed in a way to demonstrate commitment to diversity, transparency, and accessibility in scholarly communication? For example, was the publishing process made accessible to authors and/or editors working in multiple languages, regardless of the language of the final publication?
  • If the publishing program has an existing commitment to diversity and inclusion, how did that affect/impact the publication? (aka if you had a commitment to recruit more editors and authors with diverse voices, how did that commitment impact/influence the development of this publication. OR, was this publication part of a larger programmatic initiative around DEI?)

Additional Resources

The LPC Publishing Practice Awards Committee held a community call to present details about the awards and answer questions. Resources from that call are included here:

  • A video of the presentation (mp4, about 12 and a half minutes)
  • Slides from the presentation (PDF)

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Who is eligible to apply for the awards? 
A: Any library or library consortium engaged in scholarly publishing. 

Q: Does the award go to an individual or to their publishing program? 
A: The award is given to the publishing program. 

Q: What is a “representative publication?”
A: Although the award recognizes publishing practice, it does so via a single publication that is used to demonstrate the work of publishing. 

Q: What types of publications are eligible? Is it just for traditional, peer-reviewed scholarly publications? What about digital projects/databases?
A: We use the LPC’s definition of library publishing as a basis for our work (you can see it at the bottom of our home page), but the short answer is that we are taking a very expansive view of what constitutes a “scholarly publication.”  If you consider it a scholarly publication, we would be happy to consider it for the award. 

Q: What about Open Educational Resources?
A: While OERs aren’t typically considered scholarly resources, they are a very important component of library publishing, and we are happy to consider them for this award. 

Q: If my representative publication is a journal, should I submit an article, an issue, a volume, or the whole journal title? 
A: Any of the above! If you can provide a citation to it, it can be submitted for the award. 

Q: LPC’s definition of library publishing refers to “original” scholarship. What about reprints, translations, and other new publications based on existing content? 
A: We welcome applications based on new publications of existing scholarship, especially if the work done on the publication in question involved improvements to accessibility or otherwise furthered the goals of the category. 

Q: How will you evaluate the content of the representative publication? 
A: The short answer is that we won’t. The award is focused on publishing practice, rather than quality or significance of content. That said, publishing practice is a broad area, and may include things like decisions on who to partner with and what types of publications to take on. If you want to apply with a representative publication on the topic of the category you are submitting to (e.g. a book on accessibility), you will need to make the argument in your narrative about how the process of publishing that work also advanced accessibility. 

Q: My program worked hard to incorporate accessibility or DEI into our publishing work, but I’m sure there’s someone else out there who is doing it better! Should I still apply? 
A: Absolutely! We all have work to do in these areas. These awards are not meant to identify the perfect, shining examples of publishing practice, but rather to highlight meaningful work and innovation. Your work may not be perfect, but it can still inform and inspire others!

Q: What if we didn’t do something innovative, but just carefully followed all applicable best practices? Can we still apply? 
A:  Yes! The application of standards and best practices to library publishing is still a work in progress, and we need examples of how it’s being done. 

Q: Can we apply in more than one category?
A: Nope – you can only submit one application per year, in a single category. 

If you have additional questions about the Publishing Practice Awards, please email us at


2021, Accessibility: University of Texas at Arlington Libraries – Mavs Open Press
2021, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: University of Cape Town Libraries