Category: All Posts

96 Things Publishers Do (2016 Edition)


Kent Anderson has recently released his updated list of “Things Publishers Do”


Source: Guest Post: Kent Anderson UPDATED — 96 Things Publishers Do (2016 Edition)


Here’s some background on the list:

The first version of this list was created back in the summer of 2012, at a time when publishers were being repeatedly challenged to prove they added value beyond managing peer review and some basic copy editing and formatting. The first post outlined 60 things publishers do. The post was revised again in 2013 to reflect 13 more things, bringing the total to 73. In 2014, it was updated once more, to add nine more things and update others, bringing the total number of things most publishers do to 82. Now, after more than a year since its last revision, here we are with a new post, adding yet more things to what publishers often do for authors, readers, and as part of their work.

It’s worth noting that we are adding an average of just more than 12 new items per year. While some of this is capturing things I failed to include in prior lists, some of these additions represent efforts and work that was once hardly noticeable but which has quickly grown. At this rate, we will be doing more than 200 things by 2025. How pushing more work into the publishing enterprise squares with reducing costs and increasing efficiency remains a conundrum.

The past few years have introduced a new level of infrastructure building – ORCID, CHORUS, and FundRef are just a few examples. Moving more of the publishing workflow and infrastructure online is also creating opportunities for entrepreneurs like Publons and Overleaf. Publishers are constantly monitoring, integrating, and advising these groups, a new level of activity with unclear payback for publishers, but clear added costs to the publishing endeavor.

Often, authors are the ones asserting that journal publishers do so little, which is understandable, as authors only experience a small part of the journal publishing process, and care about the editing and formatting bits the most, making those the most memorable. In fact, publishers’ service mentalities often include deliberately limiting the number of things authors have to worry about, which further limits their view of what it actually takes to publish a work and remain viable to publish the next one.

While I do not hope to downplay the realities of scholarly publisher profit margins in the face of stagnant and dwindling library budgets, it is vital to be aware of the role publishers play in the scholarly communication ecosystem. This list explicates the multitude of invaluable functions that publishers play in the dissemination, access, and discovery of scholarly literature. I consider some of the most relevant items on the list for librarians, especially those exploring the possibility of library and consortial based publishing, involved the publisher’s role in maintaining technologies and digital infrastructure.

Introduction to Lever Press

Lever Press is an exciting new initiative that launched in late 2015:

Nearly forty member libraries of the Oberlin Group have committed to creating and funding a new, peer-reviewed, open access, digital-first pathway for scholarship in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

As of December 4, 2015, nearly 40 liberal arts college libraries have committed to contribute more than $1 million to the work of Lever Press over the next five years. Librarians and faculty members at these institutions will also comprise the press’s Oversight Committee and Editorial Board. Supported by these pledges, Lever Press aims to acquire, develop, produce and disseminate a total of 60 new open-access titles by the end of 2020.

Lever Press website

This collaborative effort to bring library publishing to small and liberal arts institutions has drawn a lot of attention. In her column, Library Babel Fish, Barbara Fister spoke with several members of Lever Press’s Oversight committee, who outlined the ways in which Lever differentiated itself from other initiatives:

  • The funding model doesn’t rely on authors scrounging up funds to support the publication of their work. Instead, libraries will do what they’ve always done – manage resources to support shared access to information – but will do so in a way that benefits everyone, not just their local communities.
  • The participating libraries and institutions aren’t simply writing checks to support work organized and directed by a third party. Librarians and faculty at the participating institutions will be involved in setting the agenda and defining the identity and the future of the press.
  • Connected to that, the press will have a liberal arts focus. What exactly that will mean still has to be determined by participants, but from the start the idea is to publish work with readers in mind, not just specialists and tenure committees.
  • There is also space reserved for innovation. A significant percentage of the list will be devoted to expanding our definition of “book” by giving digital scholars a sturdy and sustainable platform for new kinds of publications, filling a gap in what publishers currently offer and giving our digital scholars opportunities to publish differently.

-“Reflections on Lever Press” by Barbara Fister, 1/14/16

And, finally, scholarly publishing blog The Scholarly Kitchen conducted an interview with Lever Press members, inquiring about the collaborative nature of the Press, as well as its view of open access and what their plans are for bringing the scholarly monograph to the 21st century:

I think it would be wrong to characterize Lever as just a publisher of scholarly monographs. We expect the Press’s products to appear in a range of forms, optimized to serve the particular ambitions of the authors. Like most university presses, University of Michigan Press receives a large number of monograph submissions from liberal arts college authors and these are often some of our best books, perhaps because of the clarity of expression that teaching small classes of bright undergraduates encourages. Lever is focused on the sorts of project that for various reasons faculty members don’t feel fit the university press model. Perhaps they will be projects with digital components that can’t easily be represented  between two covers; maybe they will involve deep collaborations with student authors. I’m excited by the wealth of untapped publishing creativity we’re finding within the liberal arts college community.

-Charles Watkinson in “An Interview with Lever Press” by Rick Anderson, 1/25/16

Though Lever Press has its initial partners set, they say they will be looking for additional collaborators in the future, particularly if the 60 publications they’re planning in the next 5 years are successful. We’re all keeping an eye on this one to see how the model works and what we might be able to adopt for smaller consortia, too!

OAPEN-UK Final Report: A Five-Year Study into Open Access Monograph Publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The results of OAPEN-UK’s Five-Year OA Monograph study was released in late January, 2016.


Source: OAPEN-UK Final Report: A Five-Year Study into Open Access Monograph Publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

Examining the attitudes and perceptions of funders, researchers, publishers, learned societies, universities and libraries, our study reiterated the deep strength of feeling and connectedness that each group has with the monograph, especially in terms of identity and reputation. It also found that while many think open access is a good idea in principle, there is uncertainty about how easy it would be to implement the necessary policies and systems to support OA monographs.

Read More

Via DigitalKoans

As major stakeholders in the sustainability of access to scholarly monographs, librarians, especially those from smaller institutions, should take particular interest in this report. With dwindling collections budgets coupled with the perennial increases in cost for monographs, open access is frequently championed as a viable alternative to the increasingly unsustainable model of traditional scholarly publishing. While OA is gaining traction in periodicals publishing (through a combination of Green and Gold models), monograph publishing is an entirely different animal. The OAPEN-UK report highlights some of the major challenges to Open Monograph implementation in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In addition to reporting on attitudes and perceptions of numerous stakeholders, the report details the implication of policies, systems and processes as well as business models for sustained OA Monograph creation and dissemination. The report also highlights the roles stakeholders (including librarians) can play in supporting the future of OA monographs. Through a combination of advocacy, experimentation with alternative collection models, and better understanding how OA can support student needs, academic librarians could aid in laying the groundwork for a more sustainable model for the creation and dissemination of scholarly monographs.


Peripleo: a Tool for Exploring Heterogeneous Data through the Dimensions of Space and Time



Source: Peripleo: a Tool for Exploring Heterogeneous Data through the Dimensions of Space and Time

By Rainer Simon, Leif Isaksen, Elton Barker, Pau de Soto Cañamares

Abstract from Authors:

“This article introduces Peripleo, a prototype spatiotemporal search and visualization tool. Peripleo enables users to explore the geographic, temporal and thematic composition of distributed digital collections in their entirety, and then to progressively filter and drill down to explore individual records. We provide an overview of Peripleo’s features, and present the underlying technical architecture. Furthermore, we discuss how datasets that differ vastly in terms of size, content type and theme can be made uniformly accessible through a set of lightweight metadata conventions we term “connectivity through common references”. Our current demo installation links approximately half a million records from 25 datasets. These datasets originate from a spectrum of sources, ranging from the small personal photo collection with 35 records, to the large institutional database with 134.000 objects. The product of research in the Andrew W. Mellon-funded Pelagios 3 project, Peripleo is Open Source software.”

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Via Code4Lib


White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages

Source: White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages

The Department Of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force has released White Paper on Remixes, First Sale, and Statutory Damages.

Here’s an excerpt:

The U.S. Department of Commerce has played a key role in addressing Internet policy-related issues since it launched the Internet Policy Task Force in April 2010. Two years ago, the Task Force published a Green Paper on Copyright Policy, Creativity and Innovation in the Digital Economy—the most comprehensive assessment of digital copyright policy issued by any Administration since 1995. The review process that culminated in this White Paper serves as a testament to the importance the Administration has placed on the development of updated and balanced copyright law in the digital environment.

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via DigitalKoans




Library Publishing and Diversity Values: Changing Scholarly Publishing through Policy and Scholarly Communication Education

Charlotte Roh has published “Library Publishing and Diversity Values: Changing Scholarly Publishing through Policy and Scholarly Communication Education” in College & Research Libraries News.

Here’s an excerpt:

What are the consequences of this lack of diversity in publishing, librarianship, and faculty? We know already that privilege can bias access to material, which is part of why the open access movement exists, to alleviate the barriers that cost can create for researchers. However, one possible consequence is a feedback loop in scholarship that privileges and publishes the majority voice, which is often white and male.

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via DigitalKoans