Moderator: Patricia Renfro, Columbia University
Nathan MacBrien, Publications Director, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley [ SLIDES ]
Mark Newton, Digital Collections Librarian, Purdue University Libraries [ SLIDES ]
Ventura Pérez, Assistant Professor of Bioarchaeology, UMass Amherst
Wendy Robertson, Digital Resources Librarian, University of Iowa [ SLIDES ]
The University of Iowa has had a digital repository since 2009 and has provided e-publishing services through the library. “We consider e-publishing a core part of our department’s services to collect, promote and preserve the intellectual output of our institution,” said Wendy Robertson, digital resources librarian. She works with various departments to provide a framework for online publishing and helping develop products that are not just text-based, but also includes images and video.
Takeaways from the U of I experience:
- Determine how you will select possible titles and prioritize projects. Consider new research areas, titles that are not commercially viable, and fields with a strong commitment to Open Access, and journal of small societies. The U of I has a particular interest in publishing online journals connected to our institutional strengths.
- Make it clear what you will do and what editors will do. Talk with editors about goals of the publication and make sure you have real support. Write up a memo of understanding about who will be responsible for what between the library and the department.
- Standardize your policies and basic set-up as much as possible, while allowing journals to have their own look and feel.
- Look at other sites for policies, editor expectations, site design and standard features in the field.
- Do all the general set up for editors and then ask for feedback toward the end of the process before publication.
- Focus on those areas where the library staff as expertise and draw in other partners as needed.
- There may be a learning curve and some challenges to publishing online. Just because editors know their content, doesn’t mean they are tech savvy. Editors can change so be prepared to do some retraining and positions turn over.
At Purdue University, the library and the press have a shared repository platform for population and publication. Mark Newton, digital collections librarian at the Purdue University Libraries, offered some insights into his campus’ experience:
- Given the shared context and client communities, working in collaboration with the press had an appeal. The approach relays to campus leadership that depositing work digitally is just part of the continuum of scholarly publication and not merely a library issue. The press lends legitimacy to the library’s efforts and the message is resonating with faculty.
- Find allies early. When a new Global Policy Research Institute opened on campus, the library and press made a collaborative appeal soon after the creation of the institute that they were positioned to facilitate its communication needs.
- Work to target readers in specialized fields. The library and press have also worked with established entities on campus, such as the Plant Growth Facility, reaching targeted readers through the digital repository.
- It’s been a long, iterative process from identifying opportunities to the final proposal. And it’s a difficult reporting challenge, both practically and conceptually. The state agency sponsorship requires careful layout of service, value and rationale. Yet, Newton said the collaborative approach that is opening up possibilities.
Ventura Pérez, assistant professor of bioarchaeology at UMass Amherst, is the founder on an online journal with an interdisciplinary approach to violence. He started the publication because the topic was spread across several subfields, such as sociology, political science, and anthropology. After hosting a conference on the topic in 2008, enough excitement was generated that Perez decided to launch and open-access, peer-reviewed journal that took an interdisciplinary look at violence. Some challenges and tips for starting a new journal:
- Be prepared for a big time commitment. Between finding an audience, developing a list of reviewers and other start-up task, it won’t happen overnight and one person should not carry the weight.
- Recruit a good editorial board with high-profile, busy professionals who are engaged in their communities, attend conferences and will influence their peers to support the journal. Look to senior faculty with experience and a willingness to lend their support. Avoid those who would just be figureheads.
- Be aware that time devoted to starting a journal could impact your tenure chances. Be prepared to demonstrate the need for the project, how it raises the exposure of the university and encourages collaboration with other academics.
- Sell the benefit of online journals as a way to help junior faculty get published faster and prepare graduate students to become more marketable. There are also enormous benefits to research as it provides opportunities for collaboration with colleagues all over the world.
The University of California, Berkeley, is involved in open-access book publishing through a collaboration between the library and press. The university believes in supporting specialized research – those in areas with small markets and that might struggling, but reflect the priorities of the home institution, said Nathan MacBrien, publications director for the Institute of International Studies and editor of the Global, Area, and International Archive (GAIA). Supporting specialized research requires collaboration, in terms of distribution of resources, costs, and responsibilities; flexibility and ongoing experimentation with partners and research communities; and an emphasis on institutional ties.
Here are some highlights from the open-access book publishing program on campus at UC Berkeley:
- With the collaborative approach, the library serves as the submission channel and is able to get good quality, peer reviewed finished products. The press provides distribution and acquisition services and helps continue publishing in small markets.
- The e-scholarship provides users with searchability and allows the university to reach audiences in different ways.
- To attract faculty to get involved in digital publishing, the collaborative team was at first too ambitious and ultimately decided to focus on books.
- It was a challenge to get people to sign up. Many authors, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, were nervous initially, about Open Access, and didn’t see their projects as candidates. But attitudes have changed. Authors want their books to be not just discoverable, but also visible and printed for validation.
- As the press and library collaboration deepened, GAIA’s publication needs were better served.
- GAIA’s financial survival has been dependent on collaboration with diverse partners and funding sources, low overhead, flexibility to shift editorial mission, and valued imprint