Reflections

July 9, 2018

Digital Publishing Your Way: Moving Toward Multimodal, Flexible Platforms

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum. See the whole series

The 2018 Library Publishing Forum preconference, Owned by the Academy, gave participants a chance to learn more about publishing platforms that have a commitment to community-owned infrastructure. Elsevier’s 2017 acquisition of bepress put a spotlight on this issue, so, for many, including myself, this preconference was a welcomed chance to explore both well-established and up-and-coming open source publishing alternatives.

Publishing platforms can be a place where libraries do research and development, finding new partnerships and collaboration opportunities, working with new types of scholarship and methods, and experimenting with new technologies. I thus found the most exciting takeaway from this preconference to be the possibilities of new (and continued) development in open source publishing. Many of these communities are thinking more actively about non-traditional forms of scholarship, multimodal scholarship, and other ways in which academia is embracing, incorporating, and sharing new expressions of scholarship. Many platforms are also emphasizing sustainability and trying to provide multiple ways of engaging in these systems, including options for assisted setup and/or hosting. While no platform is “perfect” (as if such a thing exists), progress towards the next wave of scholarly needs is tangible.

“We all have different services we provide to meet needs on campus, so I find it equally important to have tools that can support us as needs, workflows, and services change. Platforms should support people-based services, not dictate or confine what those services should be.”

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July 5, 2018

What’s it like to be the local host of the Library Publishing Forum?

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum. See the whole series. This post is guest written by Kate McCready and Laureen Boutang, from the University of Minnesota Libraries. 

When we first considered the idea of hosting the Library Publishing Forum at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, we were very excited about the opportunities that could come from being a local host. We saw it as a way to strengthen our relationship with the Library Publishing Coalition, and support the work of the library publishing community. We also hoped that bringing the events to campus would allow our U of MN colleagues to have the opportunity to learn more about library publishing in general, and our program specifically. We thought it would build understanding about why our institution was devoting resources to scholarly publishing activities. Of course, we also wanted a meaningful conference for those attending! All of these hopes were realized and we learned a lot about bringing an event to campus as well.  

As we dove into thinking about logistics and providing on-the-ground knowledge of the location, we realized that for our hopes to succeed, we had a lot of work to do. There were many details that would need our attention if the Forum and affiliated events were to run smoothly. Looking back at our work preparing for the Forum over the last year, it can be loosely categorized in four areas. First, we needed to gain buy-in at our home institution at many levels. Second, we had to work with many constituents (local colleagues, program committee colleagues, event staff, LPC colleagues, etc.) to determine the priorities and requirements for the events. Third, while the Forum is a self-supporting conference and the Library Publishing Coalition provides financial and logistical resources for it, we worked to provide additional local staffing and financial resources to support our priorities as the host institution. Finally, we spent time to get and stay organized. (more…)


June 11, 2018

Challenges and opportunities (but mostly opportunities) for open source infrastructure in library publishing

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum. See the whole series. This post is guest written by Alison McGonagle-O’Connell, Editoria Community Manager and Owned by the Academy presenter. 

As a first-time Library Publishing Forum attendee, presenter, and a participant in the “Owned by the Academy” pre-meeting, I was struck by how truly welcoming and collaborative this group is! These meetings also provided me with a few key takeaways:

  1. Open Source (OS) publishing technologies are proliferating, and are of increasing interest to the broader library publishing community.
  2. These tools and platforms represent one way for the community to reclaim some control of the scholarly communication marketplace.
  3. Hosted service models for OS tools will be necessary for some to take the leap from commercial products.
  4. OS providers need to work together to ensure interoperability, and to effectively map tool capabilities to the unique needs and requirements of the community

The first two takeaways are general observations, largely supported by those who attended, tweeted, and have subsequently discussed the meetings openly. OS technology gives organizations the ability to design and customize platforms to support their own needs and values. There is significant freedom in not being locked in to a commercial solution’s unalterable roadmap. Want to design accessibility into the platform with your user community? Go ahead! Concerned about security? Need support for interactive images including integration with data sets? Want to support multiple languages? Done. Nothing is off the table with this kind of community-driven and -supported infrastructure. (more…)


June 8, 2018

From services to access: Reflections of a first-time Forum attendee

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum. See the whole series. This post is guest written by Talea Anderson, Scholarly Communication Librarian at Washington State University and recipient of a Library Publishing Forum First-Time Attendee Scholarship. 

In May I attended my first Library Publishing Forum with support kindly provided by LPC. The conference was filled with meaningful experiences for me. I’d mention in particular the time I was able to spend with the editorial staff of Kairos as part of KairosCamp and the opportunity I had later in the week to participate in the first pilot of the Library Publishing Curriculum. I manage a small, service-focused scholarly communication program at Washington State University, and these two workshops provided a glimpse of the editorial services that help keep journals running. On my campus, we are currently moving forward with supporting faculty who would like to create and publish open educational resources and I came away with a better understanding of the kinds of needs these faculty members may have when it comes to preparing, editing, and publishing their work.

These workshops were a great introduction to editorial work and publishing services, but for me the most meaningful part of LPF came on the first day when Catherine Kudlick spoke about web accessibility (slides coming soon). Kudlick invited us as library publishers to build accessibility into our workflows from the start, and to see this work not as punitive but as a service to all people, including disabled communities. This message is certainly important but I connected to it on an unexpectedly personal level. I learned, on introducing myself to Kudlick after her keynote, that we share the same eye condition and face similar challenges when it comes to doing things like presenting to audiences and reading texts on mobile devices. I rarely encounter others who can relate to the way I see—it’s rarer still to find people in academia who cope with vision loss while engaging with publishing and scholarly communication. The brief chat I had with Kudlick was, to say the least, a special opportunity for me. In the end, thanks in part to this encounter, I came away from LPF feeling inspired to continue improving access to information for everyone, including people like me and Kudlick and many others who benefit from inclusive publishing practices.

Talea Anderson
Scholarly Communication Librarian
Washington State University


June 7, 2018

What do we value in academic ownership?

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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of reflections by community members on the recent Library Publishing Forum and Owned by the Academy: A Preconference on Open Source Publishing Software. See the whole series

When I learned that this year’s Library Publishing Forum preconference was called “Owned by the Academy,” I knew right away that I had to attend. I was just beginning my new job as Scholarly Communications Librarian at West Virginia University, and our Dean had recently mentioned to me the idea of academically-owned publishing. So the preconference presented a perfect opportunity to learn more about an area of interest at my new institution.

I anticipated that I would learn about lots of different open source publishing platforms, and leave the conference better informed to make recommendations as to which of these would be a good fit for my library, and this certainly happened. But since returning from Minneapolis, I’ve also been spending a lot of time reflecting on owned by the academy as a concept, and so I’m going to dedicate this post to sharing some of my thoughts on this issue.

Prior to the preconference, the phrase owned by the academy brought to my mind open source publishing software built and supported by a community of academic librarians, IT and development staff, and academically-oriented non-profits. I imagined that under an “academically-owned” setup, the software and infrastructure would be hosted at the institutional or consortial level and that commercial entities would not have a role to play.

But in light of my experience at the Owned by the Academy Preconference (and the Library Publishing Forum as a whole), I’ve been reconsidering what owned by the academy really means. At the preconference, there were representatives from colleges, universities, and non-profits, but some for-profit businesses were represented as well. So I’ve been thinking a lot about whether for-profit involvement is compatible with academic ownership. (more…)


February 7, 2018

Predatory publishing from a global south perspective

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Fellows Journal text over an image of a desktop

The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program 

The unilateral determination of a definition of predatory publishing, by Jeffrey Beall, has sent the research publishing world into a tizz. Even though Beall has withdrawn his list, unfortunately in the current technological age this list is not cleared from the web archive nor is there a prevention of the rehashing of the list by someone else. Nor, has there been subsequently an adequate reconceptualization of predatory publishing to ensure that it is not discriminatory to open access or the global south.

Writing as a Fellow of the LPC from the global south, I feel a sense of obligation to follow the call that African academics and intellectuals (not that I am either), on the continent and in the diaspora, play a role in countering the prejudice and misinformation about Africa. Be that as it may, I think there are significant lessons for both the global south and north by interrogating the concept of predatory publishing. The recently published article by Olivarez and others (2018) highlight the need for interventions to remedy the insensitive generalization of predatory publishing. (more…)


December 14, 2017

Thinking about accessibility and sustainability in scholarly communication

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program.

In addition to my duties as a scholarly communication librarian, one of my roles at the University of San Francisco is liaison to the Migration Studies program. It’s a relatively new program in a relatively new field, so search terms are still evolving. For example, one of the common roadblocks that students encounter is that research data is available under “refugees” rather than “migrants.” This search term confusion is easily remedied, but there are also problematic descriptors such as “illegal” and “undocumented”. One of the questions that came up this past year was, What do you call someone who has valid legal immigration status but who is deported or detained? (People in the class agreed “illegal” is unacceptable, and “undocumented” is inaccurate.) Since many of the students in the program have a personal stake in these issues, these conversations around naming are not taken lightly.

In addition to these discussions in the classroom, naming and authority are, of course, important to librarianship as well. More recently, I have been thinking about “accessibility” and “sustainability” as terms that are heavily used both in my work as a scholarly communications librarian and more broadly outside of my professional niche. 

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December 6, 2017

What library publishing looks like in 2017 – Excerpt from the Library Publishing Directory

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Cover image of the 2018 Library Publishing DirectoryIf you haven’t yet checked out the latest edition of the Library Publishing Directory and the new, searchable online platform, well…they’re pretty cool! See our previous post for the full announcement. While we are super excited about the online platform, the one thing it doesn’t have is the Directory‘s front and back matter, which is more interesting than you’d think.

Each year, the Directory‘s introduction includes a ‘state of the field’ based on that year’s data. It highlights trends and new developments in library publishing as reported by the programs that contribute their information. We wanted to share this year’s on the blog to make it easier to find and discuss. The following is an excerpt from this year’s Directory, written by Melanie Schlosser, Liz Hamilton, Joshua Neds-FoxTom Bielavitz, and Alexandra Hoff.

LIBRARY PUBLISHING LANDSCAPE 2018

Each year, the Directory Committee mines the Directory data set in order to highlight trends and unique aspects of library publishing. In our fifth year, the trends and tendencies pointed out in previous introductions have started to reveal themselves as enduring characteristics and essential features of the library publishing landscape. We believe this reflects both the growing data set and the maturing of the field itself. This introduction highlights that continuity (“The Song Remains the Same”) and draws out two of those essential features for consideration (“Openness” and “Publishing and Pedagogy”).

THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME

This year’s data is remarkably consistent with what we have seen in past Directories. Most of the numbers are very similar to last year or within range from previous years. Of the two areas where there are noticeable changes—services and digital preservation—one of them is in line with previously noted trends.

Partnerships

Partnerships remain important to library publishing programs, and individual faculty and campus departments are still our most common partners. We continue to see significant numbers of partnerships with graduate and undergraduate students, and the number of university press partnerships continues to rise slowly. The only substantial change from last year was a jump in partnerships with graduate students (from 72% last year to 77% this year).

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October 6, 2017

Meet Reggie Raju, 2017-18 LPC Fellow

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The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program.

I am Reggie Raju, currently the Deputy Director: Research and Learning Services at the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. I am originally from an east coast city in South Africa called Durban. I am the son of indentured labourers who were brought from India to work the sugar cane farms on the east coast of South Africa. Coming from a struggle background in which some members of my family were either exiled or imprisoned, the struggles against the apartheid system had taught me important lessons in life one of which was the drive for social justice. (more…)


September 25, 2017

Meet Charlotte Roh, 2017-18 LPC Fellow

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Fellows Journal text over an image of a desktop

The Fellows Journal is a forum for the current Library Publishing Coalition fellows to share their experiences and raise topics for discussion within the community. Learn more about the Fellowship Program. Charlotte Roh is the Scholarly Communications Librarian at the University of San Francisco and recipient of the 2017 LPC Award for Outstanding Scholarship in Library Publishing. Charlotte is one of two inaugural fellows in the Library Publishing Coalition Fellowship Program, and her goals for the fellowship include advancing social justice and diversity in library publishing.

At the start of this fall semester, one of the professors on my campus asked me to come talk to his copyediting class about academic publishing as a career. My usual audience is librarians and faculty, so I always welcome a chance to talk with undergraduates. It’s an entirely different conversation, and an opportunity to essentially indulge in nostalgia and my own hard-won knowledge about the New York publishing industry. (more…)