May 15, 2024 | 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. | Memorial Hall

Title: Are We a Publisher?

Presenter: Jessica Kirschner (she/her), Digital Publishing Coordinator, VIVA

Description: Library publishing programs support the creation and dissemination of scholarly works. But should libraries with publishing programs consider themselves the “publisher” of the works they help produce? Traditional publishers, such as commercial academic publishers or university presses, are known for standardized services, workflows, and publishing outputs. Library publishing programs, however, don’t always mimic this standardization. Some library programs share resources in institutional repositories, some offer hosting services for publishing platforms, some provide services and workflows resembling those of traditional publishers, and many other programs fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Although vast effort is required to support library publishing programs regardless of the services, workflows, or publishing outputs they support, without standardization and a full scope of services, can or should these varied programs consider themselves publishers?

Inspired by conversations at my own institution, this birds of a feather session invites attendees to consider if or when library publishers should label themselves as the publisher of the works they support and why this matters–or if it should. Questions considered could include:

  • How is the label of “publisher” viewed by content creators, parent institutions, and the greater scholarly communication landscape?
  • Is there a certain threshold of services a library publisher must provide before listing themselves as the work’s publisher?
  • How is the designation designation viewed by faculty and/or the institution?
  • What are the benefits or disadvantages of labeling the program or institution a “publisher”?
  • How does this designation (or lack thereof) impact the reception of the works supported by the library publishing program?

While we don’t expect to reach definite answers, we hope to begin to develop a community understanding of what is a “publisher.” We also hope attendees will leave with a better understanding of their own publishing program and whether they wish to label the program as “publisher.”