Publishing Practice Award seal

The Library Publishing Coalition (LPC) is pleased to support the Publishing Practice Awards, designed to recognize and raise awareness of effective and sustainable library publishing practices. Library publishers may nominate a representative work that highlights and demonstrates their publishing process in one of four categories. The categories are chosen to exemplify concepts advanced in the LPC’s An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing and/or in the LPC’s Values statement. The goal is to nurture and facilitate the actual process and practice library publishers engage in. The nominated work will be evaluated not on its content or its subject matter but for the way it demonstrates the publisher’s process in creating it, so that the library publishing community can learn from the experience and extend those lessons to their own work. The award categories are:

  • Accessibility
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Privacy
  • Innovation

An award will be available in each category, though an award may not be given out in every category. For 2023, the awards added the fourth category, Innovation.

Award recipients are publicly recognized by the LPC, 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 the essay accompanying their application. A list of past awardees may be found at the bottom of this page.


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 2023 awards should be submitted via the application form. The deadline for submissions is January 16, 2023, extend to January 31.

NOTE: The submission period has ended for this year.

Applications will include a link to the published work and a short narrative essay describing the process the publisher undertook to produce an exemplary publication in the category.

Narrative guidelines

  • Language: Application materials must be submitted in English, although fluency of composition in English is not a judging criteria.
  • Length: The preferred essay length is 500-750 words, with a maximum length of 1000 words.
  • Narrative: The narrative essay should describe the publishing process as it pertains to the specific nomination category. The essay should provide clear evidence of specific steps taken by the publisher to prepare the work for publication, highlighting novel features, techniques, workflows, etc. that speak to the chosen award category. 
  • Questions to consider include:
    • How does the work reflect the criteria of the chosen award category? 
    • How do publication decisions for this work align with the criteria of the chosen award category? 
    • What end results or benefits came from considering the award category’s criteria?

Representative publication eligibility

  • Date: Published within five years preceding the year of the award. For the 2023 awards, eligible material must have been published between 2018 and 2022.
  • Format: A “publication” may include any work believed to satisfy the Library Publishing Coalition definition: “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 be published in any language.
  • Open Access: Must be published in a format that is freely available and accessible online at the time of application.
  • Peer Review: Given the broad definition of “publication” in this process, submitted works need not have undergone traditional peer review.

Evaluation Guidelines

Each category will be evaluated separately. Applicants may address other categories in their submitted essay, but the publication and essay 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.

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.


Accessibility practice acknowledges that many readers experience some degree of print disability. A reader with visual disabilities, dyslexia, or motor disabilities can have their ability to read seriously impacted. The application narrative for this award category should address how the design and composition of publications can be adapted so that they can be accessed, understood, and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, background, disability, or any other identifying characteristics. Work in this area may make creative use of open access principles, but open access alone does not create inclusive or equitable access. The application should describe 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 accepted accessibility standards. The judges for this category will be asking questions such as: 

  • What accessibility standards were used in the production of 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?

See Accessibility as described by the LPC’s An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

This award recognizes and celebrates publication practices that seek to address the current predominance of limited diversity in scholarly publishing, in terms of content and/or personnel. The application narrative should address how diversity, equity, and inclusion considerations were incorporated into the publication process. This includes approaches, content, 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 the 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, culture, and/or language? Does it expand racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, religious or political representation? Is this publication available in translation, or does it provide original content in a marginalized or minoritized language?
  • Was review of this publication managed in a way to demonstrate a commitment to diversity, transparency, and inclusivity in scholarly communication? Please describe any review process, along with how reviewers and/or peer reviewers were identified.
  • What policies affected and impacted the diversity, equity, and inclusivity of this publishing effort? (e.g. how did a commitment to recruit more editors/authors with diverse voices influence the publishing program?) How is the program addressing disparities in publishing?

See DEI as described in the LPC’s An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing.


Privacy concerns focus on the collection or harvesting of data about individuals and how that data is managed and used. The application narrative should emphasize how a publication was designed expressly with user privacy in mind. As the Ethical Framework states, “[p]atron privacy is a cornerstone of library practice.” Acknowledging that there may be a tension between the need for assessment and usage metrics with the need for reader privacy, the library publisher might demonstrate policies in place for balancing these needs, or provide evidence of privacy-related practice in effect for the production stages of the publication (aside from traditional review anonymity).

Examples of ways a publisher could demonstrate attention to privacy in its publishing practice:

  • Presenting an easy to find privacy policy in simple, transparent language that explains how usage data is collected.
  • Explaining what analytics services are used and how (what software has been chosen, how it has been configured, and how the data collected is used). Do users have any say in whether or what kinds of data is collected?
  • Giving details about what personal information is collected for authors, editors, and reviewers, and how that information is used.
  • Identifying violations of privacy in standard publishing practices, and implementing privacy-saving alternatives.

See Privacy as described in the LPC’s An Ethical Framework for Library Publishing. 


This award recognizes and celebrates innovators in library publishing at a time when publishing practices are changing rapidly. The award is open to any representative publication that demonstrates excellence in terms of originality and innovation, significance and value to the community, utility, and long-term viability. Note that the award is for innovative publication practice, not innovative treatment of the subject matter of the work. The application narrative for this award category should address a) what is new and original about the conception, design, and/or production workflow of the publication and b) how it might serve as a model that other publishers could follow or adapt. The judges for this category will be asking questions such as:

  • Does the work push boundaries in one or more of the following areas: conception, design, or production workflow? 
  • Where is the innovation most evident—e.g. technology, format, the peer review process, etc.?
  • How easy or difficult would it be for other publishers to implement lessons learned from the publication?


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, Open Educational Resources, or Creative Works?
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: 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, DEI, privacy, or innovation 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.

Q: Can my publication be considered for categories other than the one I apply for?
A: Yes – there is a field where this can be indicated on the application. If you select this option and the committee feels you application might be more suited to another category, we will reach out to the contact person indicated in the application materials.

Q: Isn’t accessibility part of DEI?
A: Accessibility and DEI certainly overlap, but we recognize that these terms are used to refer to distinct (if related) areas. As they are each topics given in the LPC’s Ethical Framework, we feel they are deep enough, and important enough, to warrant their own awards.

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


2023: Innovation: Iowa State University Digital Press
2022: No award
2021, Accessibility: University of Texas at Arlington Libraries – Mavs Open Press
2021, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: University of Cape Town Libraries