Friday, July 13, 2007

Newfound Press: Digital Imprint of the University of Tennessee Libraries

PKP Scholarly Publishing Conference
13 July 2007
9:40-10:40 SFUHC Sauder Industries Policy Room

Linda L. Phillips, University Libraries, University of Tennessee.
Knoxville, Tennessee, United States of America.

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The University of Tennessee Newfound Press is positioned at the start of a new movement in scholarly publishing. Linda L Phillips, Alumni Distinguished Service Professor and Head of the University's Collection Development & Management provided reasons why the library made the move into digital availability of documents and some of the challenges of this move into the digital imprint.

The homepage of the Newfound Press site illustrates the four components of the library's work in web-based document access. Click on the logo to visit the site.

Developing the Newfound Press started with the familiar, the monograph, and lead to the non-traditional, incorporating video-streaming of conference presentations. In the future, journal articles could contain sound clips, video links, and further context to content in the electronic environment - adding value to textual content.

The wide disciplinary background of the Newfound Press editorial board reflects the interdisciplinary work that is possible and thrives with OA products. As the Press moves forward, building on a growing and positive interest by University of Tennessee faculty in OA and OJS publishing, the board is committed to providing a place for high quality and significant scholarly work as well as specialized work that might not be published in a print environment.

Current and ongoing work at the Newfound Press includes:
  • Creating a sustainable labour pool (this includes collection management, learning to use OJS, and transitioning staff)
  • Appropriate funding
  • Documentation
  • Marketing (convincing potential authors that Newfound Press benefits them personally as it benefits the scholarly community)
Phillips' closing anecdote related the reason for the the name of the University of Tennessee's press as a reference to the Newfound Gap between North Carolina and Tennessee. The university library, through digital imprints and digital publishing is venturing into this territory where there are unimaginable possibilities in the field of scholarly communication.

Question from the audience:

In Phillip's presentation, she noted the importance of attracting tenured faculty as authors to contribute to OA and OJS. So, is the perception that OJS and similar ventures are not of yet of value to those in established academic positions?

-Fair statement. Phillips explained that as those with tenure do not face the same pressure to establish their reputations via publication, OJS is not the risk that it might be for newer members of academia. Currently, creating and establishing a publishing persona in the print journal world might be the better option for scholars just starting out in their respective fields. As the perceptions of digital publishing change and if senior tenured faculty continue to contribute to OJS, this reputation bias will change as well.


As Phillips explained, marketing will be key to expanding contributions to OJS and developing the Digital Imprint at the University of Tennessee. Funding for Newfound Press projects has come thanks to librarians using internal leverage within their institutions and building on past grants that suggest there is an interest in funding OA ventures.

The commitment to publishing high quality and significant scholarly work as Newfound Press moves forward should combat the reputation bias (regarding questions of peer-review and the inherent value of articles that are free to access) that can be associated with OJS. Instead of requiring continued funding to access the same material via subscription on-line publications, OA publishing needs the most investment at the idea stage – making possible the presentation of scholarly knowledge to a wide community, not the long-term management of institutional subscriptions.

Scholarly publishing will always be rooted in an economy. Moving from a monetary for-profit publishing scheme to a for-knowledge circulation scheme is possible. (See Paul David’s chapter for a discussion of “Economic Logic” and Dominique Foray's chapter in The Economics of Knowledge) For this to happen, universities can lead the way by recognizing that an initial investment in OJS start-up and maintenance can allow for a greater return to students, faculty, and staff who can freely access and share ideas with colleagues around the world and outside the academic fields. Continuing to pay increasing subscription fees to for-profit publications not only limits the number of projects libraries can fund, it limits the access to ideas that form the basis of the knowledge economy.


The Digital Library Center at the University of Tennessee

Gamut - The Newfound Press online journal for the Music Theory Society of the Mid-Atlantic
This summer marks the journal's adoption of the OJS format and Newfound Press is working to integrate the homepage with the on-line journal format.

Goodness Gracious, Miss Agnes, Newfound Press' first fully digitized monograph available for on-line viewing. The memoirs of Lera Knox, a Tennessee woman who documented life in the state during the Depression and onward.

Newfound Press adds value to textual contents of digital imprints by designing the images like the one at left, producing page-like pdf documents for easy readability, fully editing the monograph, translating documents, and providing authoritative introductions to the works.

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