Monday, July 9, 2007

"Beyond the Experiment: The Scholarly Publishing Office and the Maturation of Library-Based Publishing"

PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference 2007 1:45-2:45 July 12, 2007

Maria S. Bonn, University of Michigan University Library


Maria S. Bonn and Shana Kimball spoke about different aspects of their experiences of building a publishing model in relationship with the University Library. The Scholarly Publishing Office (SPO) was formed in 2001. Maria spoke about the history that propelled the development of library publishing and Shauna spoke on the experience of practicing a Library open access publishing model.

The University of Michigan became involved with scholarly publishing in order to develop lower cost publications, scalable mechanisms for publishing online and distributing the journals, and other digital scholarly material. They currently produce 40 publications, most of which are open access but they also do publish other types of publications. The SPO is located in the University. They are 40% funded by the library and 60% from other funding endeavors. The try to work with other libraries as well. They depend on the finance department for other costs and are able to spread their costs out. They operate on the edges of the library system but feel they are a business model as well.

The reasons for developing a publishing office in cooperation with a library is to off set the cost of publishing, reducing the risk and increase the sustainability of individual publishing (for examples journals started by grad students who eventually leave or the person whose passion it was moves on). The Library can make a difference and bring stability to these endeavors. The SPO publish a lot of journals (20), partner with scholarly journals, and smaller journals, publish some small books, work with digital culture books, and sell reprints from collections on demand. They also help build subscription on demand models for other projects and journals.

Over time they have grown and matured as a publishing group. Initially when the SPO was started M. Bonn would have predicted the demise of print. Now with the past experience she believes both should and will continue to exist. They have found that even though publications are available on-line, many readers still prefer print.

Open Access publishing is an economical means which meets the needs of the authors, and the reader, it answers the moral obligation for the dissemination of scholarly work and creates pressure for publishers to re-evaluate their subscription prices. Although there are concerns about the peer review process morphing into something else, there are reasons to question the older model of peer review as well. There are different types of review possible like recruitment, post publication, and public commentary. Further, an author can hold onto copyright for their article. This holding of copyright by individuals may make it difficult to run reprints if the author cannot be found but generally it is a positive thing for authors to be able to stay connected with the use of their publications. Credibility is now negotiated between editors, publisher, author and readers.

The role of publisher fits in with many of the skills required to be a librarian. There are more skills to learn and master but with time and experience these can be developed and pursued. Librarians already pursue selecting , acquiring and soliciting material. They are also often involved in editing, designing and help produce publications.

An important aspect of pursuing publishing is to have an articulated rationale for what to and what to not publish.

Comments: to be added later.

Building A Digital Library: The Stories of the Making of America
A Report on the Peak Experiment: Context and Design
A case study in library-based scholarly publishing: the University of Michigan Library's Scholarly Publishing Office
A Report on the PEAK Experiment


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