Library Publishing Forum

It’s been a week and my brain is still buzzing from the 36-hour long inaugural Library Publishing Forum.  I saw nothing of Kansas City, unfortunately, but the experience of being transported to a whole community deeply committed to publishing in libraries was so, so valuable. I came away with a lot to think about, and a list of projects I wish to have funded asap (please and thank you).

I am late with this. Others have blogged, Storifyedarchived or shared quicker and better than myself, so I’ve written just a few quick thoughts, and included the entirety of my notes below, should they be of interest.

– Similar to discussion in digital humanities, there’s a tension about the role of the library as service provider versus research partner. An extra layer of complexity is added in that, in addition to libraries building relationships with scholars, there are many instances where libraries collaborate or merge with their university’s press. Questions here are around who manages, who selects and, of course, who pays for the publishing work that go on as parts of these relationships.

– What’s more interesting to me, and more useful to think about since I’m not tied to one school or press, is the publishing that’s going on in libraries as library work – either as service or as in-library scholarship. What became very clear at LPF was that it’s often not possible to distinguish a library publishing effort from a library-managed Digital Humanities project. It’s arguably not necessary either, as long as conversations about publishing and conversations about ‘doing DH’ are not happening separately.

Should libraries and their presses integrate? Should they align but have different foci? Should libraries reject the traditional publishing model completely? Before attending the forum, I had really only thought of libraries-as-publishers in this third sense—and the Forum may have further radicalized me in that direction.  There are a lot of consortial opportunities in that scenario, and I look forward to fleshing them out in the coming months. I’ll also be pushing to formally join the Library Publishing Coalition as soon as it opens to consortium (quite soon!).

Notes below. Some session notes are more fleshy than others, and I’d be happy to clarify or expand with anyone who’s interested.

Organizational Alignment for Library Publishing Services
Alignment with Other Publishers
Beyond the Article: Publishing Essential Content
Panel: Policies Alignment
Alignment with OA Publishing Policies


John Unsworth – digital humanist, English professor, university librarian – Brandeis University

Re: Pubrarians

–       early negotiation – getting the Rosetti archive online, maintained an interest in relationships & collaboration between librarians, publishers, scholars.
–       December 2005, gave a talk to the society of scholarly publishing: “Pubrarians and Liblishers” – new roles for old foes. “Liblishers hasn’t caught on”

  • Was noting emerging and increasing overlap between publishers and research libraries, called for intentional development of cross-training
  • Distinguished by preference for open access, willingness to embrace informal and experimental forms,
  • Compared to Sinclair Lewis’s interest in the rise of the professional class – disinterested objectivity, devotion to public services, professional autonomy, and the rejection of material ambitions (Michael Augspurger). Distinguishes jobs interested in market vs. others – this is a hump we have to get over to work effectively
  • “If you’re in academic publishing…you have a fair claim to having rejected material ambition”

–       Chronic crisis in the humanities, publishing, scholarship…this is our mode of being, it never goes away
–       Article to read: “University presses facing ‘enormous tetonic shift’ in publishing”

  • Recommended as a good round-up of “markers of the current moment”
  • More than 20 presses are reporting through or as part of their libraries, 60 libraries part of LPC – Brandeis is both. Press had reported to vice-president (of what?), now reports through library.

–       Easy to see why you give the library money and they don’t give money back. Less clear why a university press should be subsidized in the same way – local benefit less clear.
–       Libraries, subsidized to produce a local good, don’t want to charge for access to information. University presses, believing in the value of the content they produce, don’t want to think that people might pay for the format in which content is delivered.

–       Nobody is fully funded for innovation or altruism
–       What would we do if we worked together? Work with iSchools to train pubrarians?
–       There’s no business model for preservation by publishers. There’s no mission in libraries to work with authors
–       Commercial publishers are profit-driven, good at capitalizing on new ventures, university presses are not so good on this
–       University Presses are often the only people working outside the university – communities defined by area of interest/discipline. Conversations can break down because library support is so wholly local.

–       New opportunities:

  • Hathi Trust research centre – developing data communities without redundant investments in infrastructure. So much data being pooled “basic infrastructure exists removes a huge barrier to access”
    • Hathi Trust ‘matrix of rights’ – it’s complicated.
    • Example questions: “Can we identify all works dealing with Francis Bacon?” “Which works are fiction?” “Which works have indicies I could analyze?” “Can I define a different kind of similarity?”
  • University Press of New England – sees a strong opportunity here for library publishers – why not give people the opportunity to pay for format? See what people want for free, see what they will pay for. There may be enough interest to make this more sustainable. Interest in books for course adoption, general interest, academic.
  • Knowledge Unlatched

–       Opportunities for LPC:

  • Engaging digital humanities. We haven’t figured out how to publish born digital humanities scholarship. See: Rotunda from U Virginia
  • Publishing and curating grey literature
  • Publishing faculty-edited journals
  • Experimenting with new business models

[This session screamed “this OCUL-y” to me]

To the top

Organizational Alignment for Library Publishing Services

-This work is in the adolescent stage. Need to think about how we want to be as adults

Faye Chadwell, Oregon State University Libraries and Press

–       University librarian AND press director
–       20 out of 130 AAUPs report to or through library
–       library publish and press publishing still done distinctly, but more collaboration every year
–       Share a joint instance of OJS with University of Oregon
–       Digital Scholarship unit publishes journals in IR
–       Electronic theses and disserations
–       Extensions communictions publications
–       Published first children’s book a year ago
–       Have a Gray Family Chair in Library Innovation – the new one is focused on digital publishing
–       Geographical proximity is important – press is in the library. When they came there, they were on the defensive.
–       “If we’re not tied to the educational mission, we do not exist” – they have an endowed publishing internship.
–       OSU partnership with OER [open educations resources?]: Focus on creating open access textbooks, keeping the cost of education down.

  • Issued an RFP to the campus – wanted their own faculty to produce these textbooks
  • Press brings edition and design, as well as marketing department

–       Lessons learned: focus on shared purpose and good communication. Emphasize respective strengths, consider you capacity for new projects. Market. Promote. Repeat.

John Sherer, University of North Carolina Press

–       UNC: 80% of budget funded by sales. They send out more royalty cheque $$ than they get in subsidie
–       Stable fiscal situation (endowment, backlist, regional books)
–       Affiliated with UNC but not tied to a particular campus
–       Conventional wisdom of UPs: disseminates and connects research done at the university with the reading public – take North Carolina research.
–       Economic and digital disruptions at the same time – challenging
–       Case studies – pilots in progress

  • DOC South Books – spin-off of Mellon Grant around civil rights. 18 slave narratives OA as PDF, print on demand available. Have generated a lot of income for press and library

–       DPLA / NC Live – make books available OA online, charge for print and eBook – an experiment
–       ETDs – pilot with graduate students,
–       ISA Short Monographs – 25,000-30,000 word books OA online, print on demand and eBook for sale. Costs $4000 to publish.
–       New value proposition – remove price barriers for digital content. Permanent, flexible, portable editions remain behind a paywall.

Catherine Mitchell – California Digital Library (“The Rise and Fall of the UC Press”)

–       eScholarship – combined publishing and repository services. Publish books, journals, working papers, conferences – but focus is on journals (have 60), editorial board California-heavy but authors are world-wide. Lots on OA policy on the front page.
–       Value proposition – keep your copyright, reach more readers, publish when you want to, protect your work’s future…all with no fees. Subsidized, run by the library
–       Staffing – publishing director, technical lead (+ 2.5 developers), copyright, product manager, outreach coordinator, office of school com
–       Long history of wanting to work with their press. Shared 2000 files in XML, TEI encoded.
–       “The grand tour of California” – went to every campus, did a huge needs assessment. Discovered that there was a ton of book publishing happening on campus unaffiliated with any presses. They were doing fine with content, but hated selling books. Decided to establish a platform for all schools. Combined value proposition – publish in multiple formats with multiple business models. Focus on scholarly publishing rather than distribution, ecommerce, web platform development, maintain full control over program and process and access real-time sales and access analytics
–       Stresses: no dedicated staff, no efficiences, weren’t working on typical press platform, sales figures low, no advertising. Press collapsed. eScholarship Plus was born.
–       They provide browse-online, Lulu provided means to sell. But Lulu doesn’t brand with university, doesn’t market, no conferences affiliated. Slow to integrate platforms.
–       Lessons learned: not everyone needs or wants a press imprtine. Publishing services should be modular, less platform dependent. Otherwise, how to re-mix content?
–       It’s hard to take chances during financially desperate times.
–       Incompatible business models are deadly.
–       New opportunities: modular, value-added fee-based services, experiment in open peer review, fair APCs, collaborative support for DH, new monograph support

Question period:      How does university bureaucracy get in the way of doing things? The way press vs. library are classified within the system. Publishers want to reject most stuff, libraries want to include most stuff.

–       Why do some not want to collaborate?

To the top

Alignment with Other Publishers [transcribed from hand-written, so a bit scarce]

Lisa Bayer – University of Georgia press (integrated in to the library in 2010)
Toby Graham – Deputy University Librarian, head of repository and archives, other stuff too

Partners – Civil Rights Digital Library, Galileo, Georgia Humanities Council, Georgia Review, others

–       Press moved physically and administratively in to the library in 2010
–       Press manages their own budget, but it sits within the library budget
–       “loosely aligned” with the library
–       Purdue & Michigan are models of full integration
–       Toby: If the press is merged with the library, what’s wrong with it? Actually, nothing. The press did well, but it was vulnerable, an auxiliary service – same status as the bookstore. The move protected it from political scrutiny
–       Saved U of G press rent money – but also brought them on campus, and made them a part of an organization that is highly, actively valued. U of G press highly regarded as well, and adds distinction to the library
–       Presses and libraries are not funded to innovate. What about philanthropy? May be able to connect to the passions of people who care about education, books, culture. Merger allowed a collapse of fundraising, market author funds and book series to potential donors
–       Work on cultural programming together: i.e. Georgia Writers Hall of Fame, Georgia Review literary conference—could have been collaborative before but now it’s so much easier.
–       Schol. Comm models: Press is invested in alternatives, has a stake in the library budget not being stretched too thin by serials budget.
–       Faculty are starting to approach re: repository. Press brand is associated with quality and the tenure process
–       Open textbook publishing through the press: lend cache to something faculty are nervous about

To the top

Beyond the Article: Publishing Essential Content

Jake Carlson, Purdue University
Karen Estlund, University of Oregon

–       journals have a specific structure, are meant to be read and digested by humans. Most data looks very different from other kinds of data. Much looser structure.
–       What is data? Govt definition: “Research data is defined as the recorded factual material commonly accepted in the scientific community as necessary to validate research findings” – too science-y – “information structured by methodology”
–       Data cycle useful for having conversations – create a data curation profile. But there’s a disconnect between ideal life cycle and how researchers actually work. No standardized practice for data generation, worry that researchers won’t see their own work in a model.
–       Case study from Oregon State – documenting craft in China. Primary data included videos, broader contextual multi-media. They just wanted to make it available.
–       Not helpful to just stick it in the archive.
–       Categories of data: published materials, supporting materials, supplemental, fieldwork, administrative. Important that faculty own categories
–       IR wasn’t enough, did not provide the context they needed.
–       Timeline – been 5 years and it’s still coming together.
–       Possible considerations: Storage space, can we handle the file system, rights to make accessible, is there a curated set (is it ready to be shared?) has the data been accurately described? Can we add extra value? Can we present it in a way for others to use it?
–       Cost of providing archival level descriptions vs. Dublin Core?

[We then broke in to groups to work through a publishing scenario. We were tasked with identifying questions for the researcher, naming possible stakeholders, and  sketching out a plan for the possible publication. Issues around copyright, accessibility, and sustainability were highlighted. A lively discussion ensued.]

To the top

Panel: Policies Alignment
Chaired by Kevin Smith, Duke University

A Holistic Approach to Library-wide and University-wide Academic publishing

Tom Hickerson – University of Calgary vice provost and university librarian

–       open access author fund was one of the first – committed $100,000 a year, now $200k – and taken from collections budget
–       Host 21 journals, 16 are full open access – was originally part of university press, but has been moved to Schol Comm Centre. A hosting service, driven by Synergies
–       Office of copyright management – includes student union, bookstore, graduate student association, university IT. Approve everything that is used in the classroom.
–       University of Calgary press – 30 years old, came to the library in the 1990s but was run as a separate unit until recently. Fully open access press. Copyright office working through the backlist. Incorporated into collections policy – provost has given more $$ for demand-driven acquisition, copyright-compliant classroom list,

Lisa Macklin, Emory University

–       Library & IT merged
–       LITS – Library, Emory Centre for Digital Scholarship (ECDS – pulls together faculty, grad-students services…central point of contact), Research IT (health care focused), IT
–       Goal is not to expand silos – LITS has 700 people. Don’t have a university press, but host OA journals, digital projects, IR, open educational resources initiatives
[unfortunately I seem to be missing notes from the rest of Lisa’s talk. I’m not sure why that is, but see questions below for more of her insights. She is a lawyer and a copyright expert, and had much to say on the role of the library in pushing fair use were ]

Cyril Oberlander, SUNY Geneseo

–       5300 students, 31 library employees
–       20% staff dedicated to the publishing team – use OMP to publish older collections (OA with POD)
–       Publish textbooks for all of SUNY
–       Just published “Digital Throes:…” Walden manuscripts?
–       “are we procuring content as-is at the expense of our staff? Or are we going to create?”
–       “Academic-friendly publishing model”
–       Huge vision!
–       How are we different? It’s hard to tell! We’re still figuring out where convergence will happen
–       Library publishing and other kinds are ‘awkwardly moving towards the same thing’ (Maybe?). We have a chance to shape that conversation
–       “We’re not going to be a university press. They don’t need the pressure, and we want to try something different.”
–       Reprints – give them to donors, help raise money for special collections
–       Library toolkits – “efficiency & community”
–       Publishing is the place where college/library missions align best
–       Open SUNY textbooks – powerful opportunity to raise costs, support faculty authorship, enhance learning.
–       Anecdote: Expensive paper textbook – students don’t write in them b/c then the bookstore won’t buy them back. Open texts annotated on an iPad


–       Lisa: Why do we call it library publishing? Based on library values. (see LP Forum description). There is something important about core library values
–       Example: Voyages: Transatlantic slave-trade database:
–       Who would preserve this, long-term?
–       “The public deserves access to this material, and they deserve access to it right now. We should assume that the role of distributing is valued and valuable part of our role.”
–       Tom: Presses require subsidies, but then access often limited. Why not spend same money to make available more widely.
–       Have to develop proof-reading and editing capacities within the library. Use librarians, paid student interns at SUNY. Daunting: another program to manage. Need balance and role clarity between service, position, function.
–       Academic-friendly publishing model: have to clarify our value as colleges are being pressured to change (scale up and control costs).
–       “Access is value”
–       Collection priorities  – how do you decide what you will and will not publish?
–       i.e. requests from journals that have no affiliation
–       We should not be the selectors – faculty and subject specialist review
–     Lisa –  Copyright policy alignment with your mission.
–       “If the library is the heart of the university, then the fair use policy is our lifeblood”
–       Passing copyright to a publisher is entirely misaligned with university’s mission – we need to solve this.  Faculty incentive will likely have to change
–       Author processing fees are raising – too big
–       Alumni interested in publishing – who decides that? Where are the boundaries of this?

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Alignment with OA Publishing Policies

Open Access Publishing at Pitt: Alignment with Local and Global OA Policies
Tim Deliyannids

–       Confusion over business model and quality issues.
–       Long range strategic plan: innovation in school com, help scholars in production, rapid dissemination
–       advocate nationally and internationally whenever possible
–       measure and mark success: altmetrics project
–       Why should we become a publisher? To incentivize open access. Goal is to increase number of OA journals until we reach a tipping point and distribution model changes
–       Journal publishing program: 35 peer-reviewed OA journals. Host 45 more journals that they aren’t the publishers. CC-BY license is standard. Goal is to change publishing model completely.
–       Use OJS, editorial teams are around the world, 6 journals are multilingual
–       Services provided: production hosting, iSSN registration, DOI assignment, consultion on editorial workflow, advice on best practices in e-publishing, graphic design, custom article template. The look is important
–       Host back issues, assist in getting them mounted on the platform
–       Once the first issue is published, they start worrying about marketing and promotion, getting it abstracted & indexed. Have agreements with Ebsco discovery, Summon, Primo for indexing.
–       Journals have to be self-sufficient after first issue. Economies of scale keep costs down
–       Quality assurance: journal proposal form. 25-30 Qs about the journal. Make recommendations to publications advisory board.
–       Experimenting with open peer-review – Dialogic Pedagogy. Conducting open & blind peer review in tandem
–       Plum Analytics: track an article and harvest metrics from across the web. Aggregate them and visualize. UPitt uses a widget on the abstract screen of every journal article
–       Scholarly Exchange – not branded with UPitt logo, hosting only, less rigorous selection criteria.
–       Alignments that help them achieve their goals: Founding member of LP Coalition. Member of Compact for OA Publishing Equity (COPE), Major development partner with PKP. Member, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, DOAJ.
–       OASPA has many purposes. Essential in development and defense of standards. Helps us discuss and respond to concerns. Has a code of conduct. Must have some Gold OA. Helps clarify policy, improved transparency.
–       Law Reviews insisted on CC BY-NC-ND, some humanities as well
–       STEM journals had no trouble using CC-BY
–       DOAJ Seal criteria – two levels. One is for a listing, one is for SOAJ-Seal


Pwning Open Access

–       Preservation & Access as core values of libraries
–       Thesis – library as publisher is our opportunity to change the model open access
–       Our heritage is ‘access for all’
–       Current discussions: focused on processes, practicalities – but we aren’t talking about principles.
–       Is open access a core principle of libraries? It is a statement
–       We need to think about the way we talk about it – library publishing services vs. library as publisher.
–       Library publishing services = response to changing needs on campus. Not necessarily thinking about access side of it
–       Vs. ‘Library as Publisher’  re-casts library’s role as access agent
–       We need to return to a place of advocacy. Started as response to serials crisis. We are a research production partner
–       How do we rewrite the narrative? How to be proactive in writing the story of publishing
–       Do we impose our values on our publishing partners?
–       Principles: Open access has been dictated by other worlds.
–       Copyright Clearance Centre has voting rights at OSAPA. Publishers are still defining the rules
–       Too much talk of open access at the end of the life cycle
–       Where do our allegiances lie? Publishers have self interest, libraries have a public interest
–       “We need to be bold in pushing our agenda”
–       Let’s not align with, or conform to, OA policies. Let’s mold and shape them.

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