LPC Blog

The Library Publishing Coalition Blog is used to share news and updates about the LPC and the Library Publishing Forum, to draw attention to items of interest to the community, and to publish informal commentaries by LPC members and friends.

In February 2019, we are publishing our second series of member profiles. These profiles showcase the wide variety of publishing work happening at member institutions, and celebrate our community’s contributions to the wider publishing landscape. This series will also spotlight resources the profiled institutions have contributed to the Shared Documentation library. Many thanks to the members who volunteered to answer our questions! See all of the published profiles, and look for a new one each week in February. 

This post was written by Sarah Hare and Jenny Hoops

To learn more about their program, check out Indiana University’s latest Library Publishing Directory entry.

Tell us a bit about your publishing program.

Indiana University Bloomington has been publishing journals using the Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal Systems platform since 2008. The Office of Scholarly Publishing, a strategic partnership between IU Press and IU Libraries Scholarly Communication Department to support publishing at IU broadly, was created in 2012. The program centers on access: journals only need an Indiana University affiliation to participate in the library publishing program. 50 journals currently participate in the publishing program in some capacity. This includes formally peer-reviewed faculty publications, student journals, informal serials like newsletters, active journals, and journals that are no longer active but have an extensive, open access back list. Journals receive hosting and operational publishing services at no cost, with the exception of more resource-intensive services like copyediting and print on demand.

IU Libraries’ journal publishing program is part of a larger suite of services centered on “open scholarship” and ensuring that all IU affiliates can make their scholarly outputs–including journal articles, book chapters, media, data, and learning objects–open, regardless of the level of openness they are interested in. Other services the library provides include data management planning, assistance finding and creating OER, repository deposit, and consultation on demonstrating impact. These services contribute to the journal publishing program, giving IU affiliates a comprehensive support structure for engaging with openness.

Tell us something you have accomplished with your program that you’re proud of – big or small.

We have reached a major milestone of 50 total journal publications. While our journals were initially focused on folklore, history, and education, we now host journals on university administration, public affairs, optometry, art, and several other subjects, with journals published by faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students across several schools and departments. We take pride in making our legacy journals with comprehensive backlists more discoverable. For example, recently we have been providing metadata clean up and article-level discoverability, ensuring open access back lists are appearing in searches.

Our program also completed a major platform upgrade last year, updating our instance of Open Journal Systems from 2 to 3. OJS 3 provides our editors with an enhanced, user-friendly interface and customizable editorial workflows. We’ve worked with our editors to help them adapt to the new system and take advantage of the new features while providing support for journal indexing and website design. As we continue to onboard new journals, we hope to publish and support innovative scholarship for a diverse set of editors and disciplines.

Looking ahead, what are you excited about, or what’s on the horizon for your program?

For Open Access Week 2018, we held a workshop on starting an open access journal with IU Libraries. We also interviewed editors of journals we currently publish and our new Open Scholarship Resident, Willa Liburd Tavernier, to learn more about their passion for open access. We hope to continue to use these materials when promoting the program but we are also excited to start to promote our program more systematically. We’re currently working with marketing and communications experts within the Libraries to create more promotional and informational material about our journal publishing program. Right now, editors learn about our program by word of mouth or by interacting with our team through another service. More systematic promotion will enable us to reach IU affiliates that are unaware of our program and are interested in creating or “flipping” a journal to open access.

Photo of seven library staff members at Indiana University Bloomington
Pictured from left to right: Willa Liburd Tavernier, Richard Higgins, Jamie Wittenberg, Jenny Hoops, Sarah Hare (top row), Allison Nolan, and Brian Watson (bottom row)


Tell us about an obstacle you are facing in your work or one that the field is facing as a whole.

Part of our work as library publishers is to support innovative publishing practices and empower editors to take advantage of every affordance digital publishing gives us. This includes full-text publishing, integrating 3D objects and media, experimenting with new forms of peer review, offering rolling publication, and presenting content and additional resources in a non-linear way. Sometimes there are technical or system constraints to doing this work. We realize that this is unmarked territory and there isn’t always consensus or best practices for making these innovations possible over the long term. It’s something we’re still grappling with, particularly within the confines of limited resources. We, as a community, are continually discussing scale and sustainability and the balance between experimentation and sustainability is a difficult one to strike.

Tell us about your experience participating in the community of library publishers. Has that experience influenced you or your work?

Being part of a community of practice has been fundamental to the overall development of our program. Conferences like the Library Publishing Forum and OpenCon have inspired us and we always leave reinvigorated by the shared passion our colleagues have. It has been exciting to share our work with others in these forums, including a publishing course we teach to undergraduates and our recent shift to OJS 3, but it’s even more exciting to learn from those around us. These events are often about more than the presentations given; they provide ideas that shape our day-to-day work in ways big and small while helping us find solidarity and community in the shared challenges library publishers face. We have been proud to participate in conferences that are attempting to broaden access to library staff at every point in their career and at all types of institutions. We also participate heavily in subcommunities of the larger library publishing community–one example of this is that we are Public Knowledge Project members and OJS users–which informs every part of our program, from documentation to outreach.

We see LPC’s shared documentation portal as an extension of the community. It’s a space where library publishers can share ideas, polished and unpolished, with the hope that others will respond or re-mix for their own local context.

Tell us about a resource you have contributed to the Shared Documentation library. How has it been useful internally? What made you decide to share it?

We have shared our “New Journal Toolkit,” an interactive Qualtrics form (shared here as a PDF) designed to onboard new and existing journals to our Open Journal Systems publishing platform. This toolkit makes our publishing program more clear and accessible to new and interested editors. It also documents the division of responsibilities between editors and library staff by requiring editors to confirm that they have read a section on the duties to be completed solely by the editorial team, such as publishing and the editorial workflow; tasks that fall to IU Libraries staff, such as maintaining the overall OJS platform; and a list of collaborative duties between these two groups.

The form walks editors through the basic metadata and policy requirements for starting and maintaining a journal, including crafting an explicit copyright policy, prompting reflection from the editorial team. In this way, the toolkit promotes library values, including a commitment to author rights and open access, as the copyright samples provided are non-exclusive and Creative Commons licenses. All fields on the form correspond with a field in OJS, making journal set up easy for library staff. The form also addresses DOAJ indexing requirements, ensuring that editors consider policies needed to be included in the DOAJ from the beginning.

Our overall goal with the toolkit was to eliminate barriers and confusion experienced by first-time editors by sharing extensive education and documentation on publishing terminology and requirements. The New Journal Toolkit is available under a CC-BY-NC 4.0 license and we encourage other library publishers to adapt and remix the tool to their local context.

Thanks to Shayna Pekala and Richard Higgins for developing the first version of the New Journal Toolkit.