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3) Scholarly Communication

Published onJan 14, 2023
3) Scholarly Communication
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The Scholarly Communication Landscape

¤ Agate, Nicky, Gail Clement, Danny Kingsley, Sam Searle, Leah Vanderjagt, and Jen Waller. 2017. “From the Ground Up: A Group Editorial on the Most Pressing Issues in Scholarly Communication.” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 5. https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2196

Agate, Clement, Kingsley, Searle, Vanderjagt, and Waller—in their roles as Editorial Board members from the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication—share their perspectives on scholarly communication. The contributors were asked to consider specific prompts on the subject, and responses ranged from the critical opposition of profit-making publishing to open access (Waller), to the value of working with non-traditional publication formats (Searle), to the business problems of current approaches to open access in libraries (Vanderjagt). Agate takes a marked stance, suggesting that the monetization and corporatization of academic labour is one of the greatest challenges to scholarly communication, whereas Kingsley provides an introspective response to the lack of recognition that scholarly communication gets as a field unto itself. Clement argues that a more mindful approach to collaborating with authors would improve scholarly communication. Overall, this editorial provides a concise, multi-perspective meditation on challenges to scholarly communication in the twenty-first century, and the actions necessary for lasting change.

† Arbuckle, Alyssa, Constance Crompton, and Aaron Mauro. 2014. “Building Partnerships to Transform Scholarly Publishing.” Introduction to Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4). http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/195

Arbuckle, Crompton, and Mauro introduce the proceedings for an INKE gathering in Whistler, Canada, in February 2014. This introduction reflects a network of scholarly communication players and possibilities in Canada. The editors acknowledge the pressing areas of concern around scholarly communication for the authors in the collection, including the fluidity of digital publication, the opportunity for (and challenges of) open peer review, and the effects of rapid technological development on scholarship. Arbuckle, Crompton, and Mauro enumerate suggestions made at the gathering proper, and suggest ways forward for the multi-disciplinary group that came together for this event.

+ Belojevic, Nina. 2015. “Developing an Open, Networked Peer Review System.” Scholarly and Research Communication 6 (2). https://doi.org/10.22230/src.2015v6n2a205

Belojevic presents the Personas for Open, Networked Peer Review wireframe prototype: an open, networked peer-review model initiated by Belojevic and Jentery Sayers in 2013 that was further developed by the Electronic Textual Cultures Laboratory (ETCL), in partnership with University of Victoria Libraries, the Humanities Computing and Media Centre, and the Public Knowledge Project. In this environment, articles undergo open peer review and can be commented on by a specific group of reviewers or the public. The prototyping process followed an approach similar to the one described in Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman’s Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals in which they o­­­utline common game design principles. Belojevic describes how the project moved from iterative prototyping to agile development, an approach that permits researchers to break down the project into smaller chunks. This approach allows stakeholders to ensure that their goals are being met at every stage and scholars and researchers to maintain the quality of the project. Further research will focus on determining the aspects of agile development that are adaptable for the project in order to facilitate a balance between project development and deliverables, while being flexible enough to pursue and integrate novel insights that may appear during the prototyping process.

¤ Canadian Scholarly Publishing Working Group. 2017. “Final Report.” https://www.carl-abrc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/CSPWG_final_report_EN.pdf

The authors of this report outline the current challenges to the Canadian academic publishing system, as well as suggest principles to guide a successful, sustainable system moving forward. These principles include: accountability (to the academy); openness; high-quality publishing practices; well-informed authors; dynamic Canadian publishing opportunities; foundational strengths; flexibility; and adaptability. The authors applaud initiatives like the collaboration between Érudit and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) to bring more open access journals to more libraries. The compilers also draw on Canadian journal statistics to highlight that many journals are under-supported, but state that, of the functioning journals in Canada, many are supported by libraries and/or the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Assistance to Scholarly Journals Fund, and are either gold open access or allow for green open access. Overall, the report’s authors recommend a coordinated and well-funded approach to scholarly publishing in Canada that spans primary research outputs, including journals, monographs, and born-digital artifacts.

† Christie, Alex, INKE Research Group, and MVP Research Group. 2014. “Interdisciplinary, Interactive, and Online: Building Open Communication Through Multimodal Scholarly Articles and Monographs.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4). http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/190

Christie considers the possibilities for uniting text-based scholarship with multimodal content. He focuses on features and platforms that are suitable for both text-based and multimedia scholarship, and suggests that digital scholarly publishing may better facilitate interaction between humanities scholars and the public. For Christie, rethinking scholarly communication in these ways must be supported by advanced cyberinfrastructure. The knowledge products and environments that result must also privilege multimedia, interactivity, user engagement, and implementation. This sort of platform thinking inheres a strategic reconsideration of interactivity, interdisciplinarity, design, and infrastructure investment.

† Cohen, Daniel J. 2012. “The Social Contract of Scholarly Publishing.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold, 319–21. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Cohen remarks on the social contract of scholarly publishing—the contract between the producers (authors, editors, publishers) and the consumers (readers), or the “supply side” and the “demand side.” According to Cohen, individuals on the supply side have become increasingly experimental in recent years, but there has not been enough attention paid to the demand side. Cohen asserts that a thorough consideration of the demand side is necessary for the social contract to endure into the digital age. To accomplish this, academics must think more socially and become increasingly cognizant of the design, packaging, and outreach of their publishing ventures.

+ Erickson, John, Carl Lagoze, Sandy Payette, Herbert Van de Sompel, and Simeon Warner. 2004. “Rethinking Scholarly Communication: Building the System That Scholars Deserve.” D-Lib Magazine 10 (9): n.p. https://www.doi.org/10.1045/september2004-vandesompel

Erickson, Lagoze, Payette, Van de Sompel, and Warner ruminate on transforming scholarly communication to better serve and facilitate knowledge creation. They primarily target the current academic journal system; for the authors, this system constrains scholarly work, as it is expensive, difficult to access, and print biased. Erickson et al. propose a digital system for scholarly communication that more effectively incorporates ideals of interoperability, adaptability, innovation, documentation, and democratization. Furthermore, the proposed system would be implemented as a concurrent knowledge production environment instead of a mere stage, annex, or afterthought for scholarly work.

¤ Eve, Martin Paul, and Jonathan Gray. 2020. Reassembling Scholarly Communications: Histories, Politics, and Global Politics of Open Access. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Eve and Gray draw together various chapters on the current and future state of scholarly communication, especially in relation to open access and open scholarship movements. The editors incorporate perspectives from around the globe, with an emphasis on critical approaches to open scholarship endeavours and activities. For instance, Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou argues that open access can be quite detrimental in Africa, where the pressure to publish in English in a foreign open access journal reinscribes a colonial approach to knowledge production in its waylaying of local and/or Indigenous knowledge creation and sharing. Throughout the collection, the common message seems to be that open scholarship is largely a positive movement, but that there are numerous facets that require careful consideration in order not to replicate existing inequities in academia.

¤ Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. 2011. Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. New York: New York University Press.

Fitzpatrick examines the academic publishing system and outlines its drawbacks and possibilities. In doing so, she participates in larger conversations about the feasibility of current scholarly communication practices, especially in the face of declining library budgets and increasing academic journal subscription costs. Fitzpatrick argues that we need to rethink scholarly communication for the networked world in order to create better research output. She suggests that, in particular, the fixation on the printed monograph in the humanities needs to change. For Fitzpatrick, a revolution in scholarly communication is unavoidable because of the lack of public valuing of humanities work; the untenable nature of the current scholarly communication system, held hostage by commercial academic publishers; and a widespread desire to make scholarship more open and accessible to larger publics through networked technologies. By undertaking such a shift, the academy will become more relevant to the public it serves and could also escape from the restrictive and unsustainable publishing system it currently subscribes to.

† Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. 2012. “"Beyond Metrics: Community Authorization and Open Peer Review.”.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold, 452–59. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Fitzpatrick calls for a reform of scholarly communication via open peer review. She argues that the Internet has provoked a conceptual shift wherein (textual) authority is no longer measured by a respected publisher’s stamp; rather, she contends, the community now locates authority. As concepts of authority change and evolve in the digital sphere, so should methods. Peer review should be opened to various scholars in a field as well as to non-experts from other fields and citizen scholars. Fitzpatrick claims that this sort of crowdsourcing of peer review could more accurately represent scholarly and non-scholarly reaction, contribution, and understanding. Digital humanities and new media scholars already have the tools to measure digital engagement with a work; now, a better model of peer review should be implemented to take advantage of the myriad, social, networked ways scholarship is (or could be) produced.

+ Fjällbrant, Nancy. 1997. “Scholarly Communication—Historical Development and New Possibilities.” In Proceedings of the IATUL Conference. Indiana: Purdue University Library. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/iatul/1997/papers/5/

In order to study the widespread transition to electronic scholarly communication, Fjällbrant details the history of the scientific journal. Academic journals emerged in seventeenth-century Europe, and the first journal, Journal des Sçavans, was published in 1665 in Paris. According to Fjällbrant, the scholarly journal initially developed out of a desire for researchers to share their findings with others in a cooperative forum. As such, the journal had significant ties with the concurrent birth of learned societies (i.e., the Royal Society of London and the Académie des Sciences in Paris). As their primary concern was the dissemination of knowledge, learned societies began seriously experimenting with journals. Fjällbrant lists other contemporaneous forms of scholarly communication, including the letter, the scientific book, the newspaper, and the anagram system. The journal, however, emerged as a primary source of scholarly communication because it met the needs of various stakeholders: the general public, booksellers, libraries, authors who wished to make their work public and claim ownership, the scientific community invested in reading and applying other scientist’s findings, publishers who wished to capitalize on production, and academic institutions that required metrics for evaluating faculty.

¤ Guédon, Jean-Claude. 2001. In Oldenburg’s Long Shadow: Librarians, Research Scientists, Publishers, and the Control of Scientific Publishing. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries.

Guédon assesses the state of academic publishing, including library activities and commercial publisher strategies. He argues that libraries need to take a more prominent role in the dissemination elements of scholarly communication by actively supporting and participating in open archive initiatives. Guédon also suggests that although the emergence of library consortia have proven benefits (e.g., shared resources, heightened impact), they need to work with other stakeholders as well—including researchers—in order to affect real change in current academic publishing practices.

† Guldi, Jo. 2013. “Reinventing the Academic Journal.” In Hacking the Academy: The Edited Volume, edited by Daniel J. Cohen and Tom Scheinfeldt. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv65swj3.7

Guldi calls for a rethinking of scholarly journal practices in light of the emergence and allowances of Web 2.0. She argues that journals can re-establish themselves as forthright facilitators of knowledge creation if they adopt notions of interoperability, curation, multimodal scholarship, open access, networked expertise, and transparency regarding review and timelines. For Guldi, the success of the academic journal depends on incorporating social bookmarking tools and wiki formats. Journals should assume a progressive attitude predicated on sharing and advancing knowledge instead of a limiting view based on exclusivity, profit, and intellectual authority.

Hartley, John, Jason Potts, Lucy Montgomery, Ellie Rennie, and Cameron Neylon. 2019. “Do We Need to Move from Communication Technology to User Community? A New Economic Model of the Journal as a Club.” Learned Publishing 32 (1): 27–35. https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1228

Hartley et al. note that scholarly journals and open access are typically understood in the context of economics, but present a different way of understanding them: not as communication technologies but as “club goods” created by knowledge communities. Understanding articles as communication technologies can justify paying publishers to overcome technical challenges such as production of print journals, distribution in the “desktop era,” and scale in the Internet age. The authors argue that we should instead understand journals through club theory economics, which recognizes a category of “club goods” created by clubs for the benefit of their members, distinct from public and private goods. Journals are goods through which a scholarly community defines itself and its field by including or excluding ideas and members: publishing in certain journals and reading and citing publications in those journals identifies researchers as members, which has social and professional value. The club economics model helps explain the decline of journals that grow too large too quickly, since their lack of exclusivity diminishes the value of belonging to the club. Understanding journals as club goods refocuses attention on their value for knowledge communities and enables a critical examination of current publishing practices. The authors conclude by noting that it is researchers—club members—who benefit most from understanding journals as clubs since their knowledge communities are at stake.

† Hendry, David G, J. R. Jenkins, and Joseph F. McCarthy. 2006. “Collaborative Bibliography.” Information Processing & Management 42 (3): 805–25. https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.ipm.2005.05.007

Hendry, Jenkins, and McCarthy provide an overview of the type of bibliographies published on the web today, and extend the traditional view to encompass participatory practices. By providing a conceptual model for the infrastructure of these practices, the authors demonstrate the process of producing and supporting these collections, both on a theoretical level and through a case study. The ideal result of these participatory policies would involve an environment with collaborative decision-making, a visible workflow and collective shaping of it, and audience discussions. However, they conclude that the realization of this model would require a great investment in systems development, and is not yet sustainable.

Jagodzinski, Cecile M. 2008. “The University Press in North America: A Brief History.” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 40 (1): 1–20. https://doi.org/10.3138/jsp.40.1.1

Jagodzinski presents an outline of the history of university presses in North America, with a strong focus on the US. She argues that university presses, which emerged alongside the growth of universities in the US in the nineteenth century, continue to serve a vital function in the scholarly publishing ecosystem as non-commercial publishers of scholarship, particularly scholarly monographs. They face serious challenges, though, including ever-tightening budgets for the presses and for university libraries and the Open Access movement, which adds budgetary stress. Jagodzinski concludes that how university presses address these challenges and adapt to the evolving scholarly communication ecosystem will decide whether and how they survive.

+ Jones, Steven E. 2014. “Publications.” In The Emergence of the Digital Humanities, 147–77. New York: Routledge.

Jones explores the current state of scholarly publishing and the role of the digital humanities. He argues that now, more than ever, academic practitioners are able to take the means of producing scholarly work into their own hands. Rather than relying on scholarly communication systems already in place, researchers can now experiment with different modes, media, and models of publication. Jones considers digital publishing and engagement of academic work to be symptomatic of the deep integration and interplay of computational methods with contemporary scholarship in general, and with digital humanities in particular.

* Jordan, Catherine M. 2010. “Redefining Peer Review and Products of Engaged Scholarship.” In Handbook of Engaged Scholarship: Contemporary Landscapes, Future Directions: Institutional Change (vol. 1), edited by Hiram E. Fitzgerald, Cathy Burack, and Sarena D. Seifer, 295–305. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press.

Jordan addresses the issue of peer review and scholarly outcomes within the context of community-engaged scholarship. She argues that, as the movement for more engaged academic institutions grows, the debate on how knowledge is disseminated becomes more important, and states that promotion and tenure processes should consider non-traditional products for faculty members as a strategy for more collaborative works. The author shows some examples of peer-reviewing platforms for non-traditional products of education and health disciplines. Jordan concludes by proposing an action plan for achieving rigorous peer review of community-engaged scholarship products, and for recognizing them in the process of promotion and tenure.

¤ Laakso, Mikael, Juho Lindman, Cenyu Shen, Linus Nyman, and Bo-Christer Björk. 2017. “Research Output Availability on Academic Social Networks: Implications for Stakeholders in Academic Publishing.” Electronic Markets 27 (2): 125–33. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12525-016-0242-1

Laakso, Lindman, Shen, Nyman, and Björk study the role of Academic Social Networks (ASNs) in the scholarly communication landscape. In particular, the authors look at the popular, commercial platforms ResearchGate and academia.edu, and the amount of full-text access they provide, compared to the total research output of an institution. Laakso et al. argue that the impact and prominence of academic social networks are often ignored in open scholarship conversations, even though the authors’ study proves that they are the most prevalent source for full-text publications (from researchers at the Hanken School of Economics, Finland). Laakso et al. use the prominence of academic social networks to suggest that institutional repositories could benefit from becoming better service providers for their users as well as from linking to other institutional repositories more readily. As it stands, each institutional repository is relatively siloed, providing a gap for commercial ventures like academia.edu and ResearchGate to fill by providing access to research from many different authors and their many different institutions.

¤ Lorimer, Rowland. 2014b. “Open Access Publishing and Academic Research.” In Dynamic Fair Dealing: Creating Canadian Content Online, edited by Rosemary J. Coombe, Darren Wershler, and Martin Zeilinger, 177–88. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Lorimer glosses the state of open access academic publishing, with a specific focus on the humanities. He draws attention to the pragmatic question of how university libraries can keep up with mounting subscription costs, as well as the philosophical question of who should dictate the terms of research production and dissemination. Lorimer’s review method is to survey the history of corporate journal publishing, the resulting emergence of open access, and the current state of open access humanities research in Canada. This narrative approach provides a historical background to the current tensions between open access and non-open access academic publishing.

¤ Lynch, Clifford A. 2010. “Imagining a University Press System to Support Scholarship in the Digital Age.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 13 (2): n.p. https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0013.207?view=text;rgn=main

Lynch proposes a vision for the future of scholarly communication: a world where all universities have a university press of their own, not least at all for reasons of publishing their faculty’s more esoteric work. Lynch is adamant that a coordinated system across university presses would be beneficial, as it would streamline processes and be more economically viable than a collection of boutique institutions with idiosyncratic needs. He also makes some proposals for the future of the monograph, which he sees as stuck in a fetishistic print mode, even if online. Rather, Lynch suggests, monographs should take advantage of the possibilities of electronic forms and networked technologies, and institutions should support rather than punish such experimentation. Lynch acknowledges that he does not provide guidance on how to move from the current state of scholarly communication to this ideal future; rather, he urges a reconsideration of the current business and organizational problems endemic to academic publishing and suggests that collective action could lead to a more efficient and sustainable scholarly communication future.

† Maxwell, John. 2014. “Publishing Education in the 21st Century and the Role of the University.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 17 (2). http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0017.205?view=text;rgn=main

From his perspective within the Canadian Institute for Studies in Publishing at Simon Fraser University, Maxwell ruminates on the current state of university-level training in publishing studies, as well as its future role. He considers the shifting economy and the rise of digital media and practices to be major factors influencing the current Canadian academic and non-academic publishing scene. Maxwell suggests that the university has a pivotal role to play in reinvigorating publishing by encouraging a supportive community of practice as well as openness to creativity, innovation, and flexibility. Overall, Maxwell underlines the importance of academic publishing studies in the evolving publishing scene.

Maxwell, John, Erik Hanson, Leena Desai, Carmen Tiampo, Kim O’Donnell, Avvai Ketheeswaran, Melody Sun, Emma Walter, and Ellen Michelle. 2019. Mind the Gap: A Landscape Analysis of Open Source Publishing Tools and Platforms. PubPub. https://doi.org/10.21428/6bc8b38c.2e2f6c3f

Maxwell et al. survey the landscape of open source publishing tools and platforms and provide a catalogue with profiles of more than 50 of them. The authors emphasize the need to view these tools as part of the complex system of digital publishing infrastructure and explain the role of open source software within the Open Access movement. Explaining that the goal of this survey is to help institutions and individuals involved in digital publication to choose the tools and platforms that will best fit their needs, the authors argue that these open source tools have the potential to form community infrastructure that could replace the commercial one. Although the authors set out to identify functional gaps in the digital publishing system, they conclude rather that a lack of coordination and integration of the existing tools and platforms is the more salient issue: many are developed in isolation to address a specific institutional or project need, and funding structures and other resource paths tend to favour the develop of new things rather than the integration, maintenance, and preservation of existing ones.

¤ O’Sullivan, James, Christopher P. Long, Mark A. Mattson, and Ray Siemens. 2016. “Dissemination as Cultivation: Scholarly Communications in a Digital Age.” In Doing Digital Humanities: Practice, Training, Research, edited by Constance Crompton and Richard J. Lane, 384–97. London and New York: Routledge.

O’Sullivan, Long, and Mattson focus on the optimistic possibilities of digital scholarly communication. The authors argue that the digital age brings opportunities for new ways to communicate the same work (in this case, humanities scholarship), but that such novel pursuits must be tempered by careful attention to appropriate medium and tone. O’Sullivan, Long, and Mattson share various examples of scholars participating in online spaces: publishing on digital platforms like Scalar, blogging, experimenting with peer-review methods (e.g., with the Public Philosophy Journal), and engaging with social media.

ζ Ovadia, Steven. 2013. “When Social Media Meets Scholarly Publishing.” Behavioral & Social Sciences Librarian 32 (3): 194–98. https://doi.org/10.1080/01639269.2013.817886

Ovadia differentiates between ResearchGate and Academia.edu, which he identifies principally as academic social networking sites, and citation management sites such as Mendeley, Zotero, and CiteULike (which went offline in 2019). Focusing on the former type of platform, he argues that reputation management via alt-metrics (i.e., non-traditional bibliometrics), such as Academia.edu’s document view feature or ResearchGate’s “RG Score,” is one of the most valuable aspects of academic social networking sites—despite the fact that such alt-metrics have not been adopted evenly across institutions. Additionally, Ovadia observes that these platforms facilitate potentially valuable research-sharing and informal interactivity between researchers, though he acknowledges that copyright issues must be taken into account at all times. Overall, he cautiously advocates for the use of academic social networking sites while suggesting that not all users will find them worthwhile for the same reasons, and others might do best to avoid them altogether.

+ Rodriguez, Julia. 2014. “Awareness and Attitudes about Open Access Publishing: A Glance at Generational Differences.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 40 (6): 604–10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2014.07.013

Rodriguez surveys faculty members at a mid-size American university to determine the current awareness and perception of open access publishing. The majority of the respondents were from the faculties of arts, humanities, and social sciences. Overall, the data demonstrates a growing trend toward self-reported knowledge of open access accompanied by very little engagement with open publishing: while 61.7% of the respondents knew what open access was, only 28.2% had published with an open access venue. This demonstrates a gap between attitude and behaviour, a gap Rodriguez attributes to habits and institutional culture. In order to bridge this divide, she suggests educating faculty members early and revisiting this discussion often.

¤ Salo, Dorothea. 2013. “How to Scuttle a Scholarly Communication Initiative.” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 1 (4): n.p. https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.1075

Salo offers a tongue-in-cheek accounting of the various ways one could systematically destroy a scholarly communication initiative—especially an open access scholarly communication initiative. She writes from the library perspective, but her comments resonate with those who are involved in scholarly communication in any role. Beyond Salo's satire, which is certainly poignant for many, she provides useful guidelines for what not to do in pursuing scholarly communication initiatives.

+ Shearer, Kathleen, and Bill Birdsall. 2002. The Transition of Scholarly Communications in Canada. http://www.moyak.com/papers/scholarly-communications-canada.pdf

Shearer and Birdsall analyze the impact of technology and economy on the scholarly communication process and outline a conceptual framework for the latter, along with corresponding actors, drivers, and issues. They start by addressing the scholarly communication system and emphasizing the economic and social importance of knowledge. The authors also discuss the actors within the process, whom they categorize as researchers, publishers, libraries, and users. Shearer and Birdsall identify technology, globalization, economics, changing patterns of research, increasing quantity of scholarly publications, and public policy as “external forces [to], or drivers” of, the system (4). They address issues such as changing knowledge needs, alternative publishing models, copyright, licensing, intellectual property, interoperability and technical infrastructure, and access and retrieval. The authors conclude that there are many transformations occurring in the scholarly communication system that may have various impacts that are yet to become clear, which calls for a multidisciplinary research agenda.

† Siemens, Ray. 2002. “Scholarly Publishing at Its Source, and at Present.” Introduction to The Credibility of Electronic Publishing: A Report to the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada, compiled by Raymond G. Siemens, Michael Best, Elizabeth Grove-White, Alan Burk, James Kerr, Andy Pope, Jean-Claude Guédon, Geoffrey Rockwell, and Lynne Siemens. Text Technology 11 (1): n.p. https://web.archive.org/web/20151012065051/https://web.viu.ca/hssfc/Final/Overview.htm

Siemens’ introduction to this report focuses on the rethinking of scholarly communication practices in light of new digital forms. He meditates on this topic through the framework of ad fontes—the act, or conception, of going to the source. Siemens argues that scholars should look at the source, or genesis, of scholarly communication. The source, for Siemens, includes more than the seventeenth-century inception of the academic print journal; it also includes less formal ways of communicating and disseminating knowledge (i.e., verbal exchanges, epistolary correspondence, and manuscript circulation). In this way, scholars can look past the popular, standard academic journal and into a future of scholarly communication that productively involves varied scholarly traditions and social knowledge practices.

¤ Veletsianos, George. 2016. Social Media in Academia: Networked Scholars. New York and London: Routledge.

Veletsianos aims to nuance the conversation around academics’ participation on social media networks such as Facebook or Twitter. Contrary to the common narrative, the author urges his readers to consider the role of social media for academics as individuals. Social media is usually discussed in relation to increasing publication citation counts or one’s status as a public intellectual. Instead, Veletsianos contests that we should think of academic uptake of social media as a symptom of those involved with higher education; that is, academics want to connect and share aspects of themselves more broadly, so they turn to social media—social media does not cause them to connect and share more. Veletsianos repositions the human subject as an active rather than passive agent in the larger realms of social media and networked scholarship.


Libraries and Open Scholarly Communication

+ Bailey, Charles. 2007. “Open Access and Libraries.” Collection Management 32 (3–4): 351–83. https://doi.org/10.1300/J105v32n03_07

Bailey examines the major components of the Open Access movement. He analyzes the validity of open access strategies, discusses the rationale behind the Open Access movement, addresses the movement’s impact on libraries, and considers whether and how open access policies will transform jobs. Bailey takes up several open access case studies, including the Berlin Declaration, as a means of describing the field. He defines open access as freely available, online literature that is royalty-free and can be used with minimal restrictions. While Bailey acknowledges that the Open Access movement is only one of many potential solutions to the serious problems libraries face when it comes to scholarly communication and research support, he argues that it is a very important one and that the voices of libraries need to be more prominent in the debate. If libraries were to embrace open access to a greater degree, Bailey believes that graduate students could be involved in creating new, valuable, and authoritative digital resources.

¤ Bailey, D. Russell. 2017. “Creating Digital Knowledge: Library as Open Access Digital Publisher.” College & Undergraduate Libraries 24 (2–4): 216–25. https://doi.org/10.1080/10691316.2017.1323695

Bailey comments on the possibilities for university libraries in the digital age. He argues that there are increasing opportunities for libraries to facilitate or even produce open access digital scholarship. Bailey walks his readers through three examples of digital scholarship projects led by Providence College: a multimedia monograph and two online journals. He concludes that open access digital publishing in higher education is not only increasingly prevalent, but feasible, useful, and scalable as well.

+ Chang, Yu-Wei. 2015. “Librarians’ Contribution to Open Access Journal Publishing in Library and Information Science from the Perspective of Authorship.” Journal of Academic Librarianship 41 (5): 660–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2015.06.006

Chang examines how librarian authors participate in open access publishing. In particular, the author studies librarians who contribute articles to journals in the field of library and information science. Chang’s case study took up 19 open access library and information science journals in which 1,819 articles were published between 2008 and 2013. Of the 1,819 articles, 55.6% of the authors were librarians (the next highest category was scholars at 33.5%), and 53.7% of the articles were co-authored or collaborative. The majority of these partnerships were librarian–librarian collaborations, but librarian–scholar co-authorships ranked second highest. Overall, the results demonstrate that open access publishing offers an opportunity for librarians to move from the more typical research support role into more of a knowledge creation role. Chang concludes that more authors need to publish on open access platforms in order for them to survive.

+ Hampson, Crystal. 2014. “The Adoption of Open Access Funds Among Canadian Academic Research Libraries, 2008-2012.” The Canadian Journal of Library & Information Practice & Research 9 (2): 1–14. https://doi.org/10.21083/partnership.v9i2.3115

Hampson summarizes and analyzes the adoption of open access publishing funds in Canadian institutional libraries. Open access publishing funds are allocated monies set aside to support the open publication of scholarly research. Hampson explores the emergence of this policy by studying previously published surveys between 2007 and 2012. She examines the surveys in light of the Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT) in order to determine whether these types of funds are becoming standard in Canadian academic research institutions. According to the results, the trend of open access funds in Canada closely resembles the S-curve anticipated in positive Innovation Diffusion Theory studies. Overall, Hampson argues that this demonstrates a pressure for continual support of open access funds and the need to closely evaluate the effectiveness of these monies. Hampson’s research forms part of the conversation that is pushing for the continued adoption of open access funds among Canadian academic research institutions.

+ Lorimer, Rowland. 2014a. “A Good Idea, a Difficult Reality: Toward a Publisher/Library Open Access Partnership.” Scholarly and Research Communication 5 (4). http://src-online.ca/index.php/src/article/view/180

Lorimer comments on the state of scholarly publishing in Canada. He argues that, while open access policies are accepted in principle, they are not abided by in practice due to a lack of understanding and a need for the publishing sector to maximize revenue. The dynamics of open access are difficult and many individuals refuse to acknowledge this by claiming that a mere shift in business model will right scholarly production. Lorimer asserts that bold action in the implementation of open access practices across the community would be both irresponsible and self-defeating at this time. Instead, he advocates for deeper engagement by academic consumers who can exert more power in the marketplace as part of the shifting dynamics of print and digital publishing. He suggests seven best practices for proceeding into the new world of scholarly communication. One of these is to maintain effective and efficient records of research studies by disinterested researchers into the full potential and dynamics of open access.

+ Lorimer, Rowland. 2013. “Libraries, Scholars, and Publishers in Digital Journal and Monograph Publishing.” Scholarly and Research Communication 4 (1): n.p. https://doi.org/10.22230/src.2013v4n1a43

Lorimer briefly details the last 40 years of scholarly publishing to explicate the current state of affairs. He asserts that a reorganization of the academic publishing infrastructure would greatly encourage forthright contributions to knowledge, especially concerning academic journals and monographs. The splitting of the university press from the university (except in name), coupled with funding cuts and consequent entrepreneurial publishing projects, has hampered the possibilities of academic publishing. By integrating all of the actors of digital scholarly communication in an inclusive collaboration—libraries, librarians, scholars on editorial boards, technologically inclined researchers, programmers, digital humanists, and publishing professionals—digital technology could bear significant benefits for the future of scholarship and knowledge creation.

+ Peekhaus, Wilhelm, and Nicholas Proferes. 2015. “How Library and Information Science Faculty Perceive and Engage with Open Access.” Journal of Information Science 41 (5): 640–61. https://doi.org/10.1177/0165551515587855

Peekhaus and Proferes conduct the first systematic exploration of North American library and information science faculty’s awareness of, attitudes toward, and experience with open access scholarly publishing. Following a thorough literature review, the authors argue that the sustained annual growth in journals in the past five decades has resulted in a contemporary multibillion-dollar scholarly publishing industry that is dominated by a handful of commercial behemoths who receive resources and funding from the wealthiest higher education institutions. Their survey indicates that while 80% of respondents had submitted an article to a subscription-based journal in the last year, only 37% had done the same in an open access journal. Further, just over half of the respondents had ever published with an open access journal. In terms of using institutional repositories, 35% of the respondents had deposited an article. Overall, engagement with open access is related to perceptions of faculty rank and promotion. While experience with open access platforms alleviates some concerns, a substantial bias remains.

+ Rath, Prabhash Narayana. 2015. “Study of Open Access Publishing in Social Sciences and Its Implications for Libraries.” DESIDOC Journal of Library & Information Technology 35 (3). https://doi.org/10.14429/djlit.35.3.8720

Rath discusses how, in India, the Open Access movement was initially confined to science, technology, and medical fields. Her study identifies and analyzes 60 open access social science journals in India. Most of Rath’s findings consist of quantitative data compiled from the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and she notes that only 15 out of 60 open access journals in the social sciences were published under a Creative Commons license in India. The article concludes with several recommendations: that social science departments in India make publicly funded research available via open access, that research institutes encourage and fund their own repositories, that scholars deposit post-print copies of their research papers, and that a central advisory board monitors open access journals and encourages scholars to submit research papers to select publications in order to increase visibility of Indian publications worldwide.

† Van House, Nancy. 2003. “‘Digital Libraries and Collaborative Knowledge Construction.’” In Digital Library Use: Social Practice in Design and Evaluation, edited by A. P. Bishop, B. Buttenfield, and Nancy Van House, 271–96. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Van House reminds her readers that libraries are more than just storehouses; libraries comprehensively support and foster knowledge creation. Consequently, she claims, designing and building effective digital libraries depends on a thorough understanding of knowledge work. For Van House, the emergence of digital libraries represents a significant shift in how individuals and communities create knowledge. Digital libraries often foster transgressive, situated, distributed, and social networks of research and knowledge production. Notably, she reinforces the concept that artifacts are not knowledge in and of themselves; knowledge is a complex social phenomenon rooted in contact, daily practice, and partial mediation by artifacts. As such, digital libraries function differently than as mere conduits—digital libraries are boundary objects, and they affect knowledge work significantly by introducing variation in terms of manipulability, credibility, inscription, access, and organization.

+ Vandegrift, Micah, and Josh Bolick. 2014a. “‘Free to All’: Library Publishing and the Challenge of Open Access.” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 2 (4): 107–16. https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.1181

Vandegrift and Bolick examine the role of library publishing in the Open Access movement. From the outset, Vandegrift and Bolick maintain that libraries should identify as “library publishers” and not “publishing libraries” in order to keep in line with the “free to all” policy. Further, the authors assert that clear distinctions should be made between university publishers, libraries, and commercial publishers. They argue that the goal of the library publisher should be to produce high quality scholarship that can be accessed by anyone. The authors see the primary issue facing open access as a question of alliance rather than compliance, and one that demands publishers to reconsider open access as a freedom, rather than a requirement or restriction. Moving toward this open access policy as a core principle of library publishing could shift allegiances, dissolve organizational categories, influence policy, and grow the community.


Publication Models and Subscription Practices

+ Adema, Janneke. 2010. “Overview of Open Access Models for EBooks in the Humanities and Social Sciences.” OAPEN Project Report. https://pureportal.coventry.ac.uk/files/4014078/ademaoapen2comb.pdf

Adema provides an overview of current open access publishing models being experimented with by organizations and institutions in the humanities and social sciences. The author intends to find strategies for making open access book publishing a sustainable enterprise, with funding and profit for all parties involved. Adema explores a variety of business models and publishing processes that make up what she terms the “experimental phase” of open access book publishing. She touches on the motives—both monetary and missionary—behind the Open Access movement, compares various presses and press partnerships, and explores the different practices and collaborations that make open access sustainable.

* Beall, Jeffrey. 2012. “Predatory Publishers Are Corrupting Open Access.” Nature 489 (7415): 179. https://doi.org/10.1038/489179a

Beall reports that frauds perpetrated by publishers is an increasing problem in scholarly open access publishing. He argues that the switch of the customer role from the librarians to the authors has removed the incentive to quality; predatory publishers exploit the “market need” of scholars and scientists to publish quickly as a way to earn money from them, in most cases without initially declaring the fees involved. Beall bases his observations on the cases he monitors through the blog “Scholarly Open Access” to observe that fraudulent journals and publishers are often easy to identify; however, in many cases the authors are also to blame for willing to take these shortcuts despite unethical procedures. He concludes by calling for scholars to recognize publishing frauds and avoid them, and for librarians to remove predatory publishers from their catalogues. Failing to do so will continue to cause damage to honest scholars and scientists, legitimate open access publishers, and to science itself.

¤ Eve, Martin Paul, Saskia C. J. de Vries, and Johan Rooryck. 2017. “The Transition to Open Access: The State of the Market, Offsetting Deals, and a Demonstrated Model for Fair Open Access with the Open Library of Humanities.” In Expanding Perspectives on Open Science: Communities, Cultures and Diversity in Concepts and Practices. Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Electronic Publishing, edited by Leslie Chan and Fernando Loizides, 118–28. Amsterdam: IOS Press Ebooks.

Eve et al. explore gold open access practices, especially in the Netherlands. They point out that commercial publishers worldwide are still guaranteeing their journal revenue in open access scenarios, either by subscriptions to hybrid journals, article processing charges (APCs), or some combination thereof. The authors then offer a case study alternative to such practices: LingOA, a group of linguistics journals that have agreed to fair open access practices. Eve et al. argue that the current approach to open access has led to a confusing and uncoordinated system; one that has done nothing to recoup library budgets currently monopolized by journal subscriptions. The authors suggest that in order to “flip” to a fully open access system, the LingOA model may be implemented, based as it is on consortial agreements, fair practices, and copyright remaining with authors.

* Eysenbach, Gunther. 2006. “Citation Advantage of Open Access Articles.” PLoS Biology 4 (5): 692–98. https://doi.org/journal.pbio.0040157

Eysenbach investigates whether open access articles increase or accelerate the dissemination of research findings, considering it in terms of citation numbers. He notes that previous studies with the same aim have serious limitations for not considering biases of the samples, particularities of the article subjects, or article characteristics such as the number of authors or journal impact factors. Through a longitudinal bibliometric analysis of a cohort study of open access and non-open access articles published in the same journal, Eysenbach finds that open access articles are more likely to have more citations, and also that they tend to be cited much faster than non-open access ones. He believes that this results in an accelerated recognition and dissemination of research findings, thus benefiting science and knowledge production. Nevertheless, the author acknowledges that by only using citations as a parameter, the study focuses on the impact on research users, not on knowledge users, such as consumers, professionals, and policymakers.

¤ Harnad, Stevan. 2015. “Optimizing Open Access Policy.” The Serials Librarian 69 (2): 133–41. https://doi.org/10.1080/0361526X.2015.1076368

Harnad offers an overview of the current open access landscape as well as suggestions for how to achieve worldwide open access to research. He argues for a coordinated, multi-step approach across all funding bodies and institutions; specifically, Harnad suggests that the most effective path to universal open access is via mandated institutional repositories or green open access. He demonstrates how the article processing charge model has perpetuated the current unsustainable scholarly communication norms rather than offered a tenable alternative, as many universities now pay article processing charges for authors as well as maintain their subscriptions to journals. By contrast, green open access reduces the amount of capital flowing to external publishers, and gives authors and institutions more bargaining power, as they also hold public copies of research content and the means to share it. Harnad suggests that all funding bodies and universities must mandate green open access in order to achieve it.

+ Lowe, Megan. 2014. “In Defense of Open Access: Or, Why I Stopped Worrying and Started an OA Journal.” Codex 2 (4): 11. http://journal.acrlla.org/index.php/codex/article/view/86/0

Lowe outlines the general principles of open access publishing and discusses and defends the merits of her own production: the open access journal Codex. Codex operates by giving its authors full rights, except that the journal retains the right of first publication. Lowe claims that Bohannon’s 2013 study draws rather broad conclusions regarding peer review of open access journals and that authors seeking publication in open access journals should examine other venues, such as Codex. She declares that it is a mistake to pit the conventional model of publishing against the open access model. Furthermore, Lowe asserts, librarians should act as advocates for what open access means and share knowledge of its benefits with new patrons. Codex was started with the aim of helping librarians demystify the publication process, and to give new authors a chance to publish and gain experience in the field. She acknowledges issues of occasional fraud and scandal in open access publications, but argues that prioritizing accountability of information providers and upholding publisher ethics will help open access to become a mainstream vehicle for scholarly production.

¤ Morrison, Heather. 2017. “From the Field: Elsevier as an Open Access Publisher.” The Charleston Adviser 18 (3): 53–59. https://doi.org/10.5260/chara.18.3.53

Morrison explores Elsevier’s current open access practices, and the feasibility of transitioning Elsevier to a full open access publisher. She concludes that although Elsevier has boosted its quantity of full and hybrid open access journals substantially in recent years (511 full open access and 2,149 hybrid open access journals), it is unlikely that the publisher will become a fully open access venture, as it would miss out on substantial revenue that could not feasibly be recovered through article processing charges (APCs) alone. Further, Morrison draws attention to copyright practices that she considers to be deceptive: Elsevier employs a nominal author copyright, which in effect positions the author as a third-party user of their own research and still retains all copyright to the work. Overall, Morrison warns that pursuing a global flip to open access via committing to article processing charges is unlikely to succeed and should be considered more cautiously.

¤ Solomon, David J., and Bo-Christer Björk. 2013. “Publication Fees in Open Access Publishing: Sources of Funding and Factors Influencing Choice of Journal.” Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 63 (1): 98–107. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.21660

Solomon and Björk share the results of their study on authors who have recently paid article processing charges to publish open access journal articles. Their goal is to ascertain what the likelihood is of article processing charges becoming a common, successful practice for open access journals. To do so they survey authors who have published in academic journals recently, and they compare their findings to previous surveys of a similar nature. Solomon and Björk develop a matrix to determine the most important factors for author choice of journal and conclude that authors prioritize journals that are within the scope of their research and that are perceived to be of high quality. Whether a journal is open access is less important to the group sampled. By surveying authors Solomon and Björk attempt to present an evidence-based case for the future success of article processing charges.


Open Monographs

+ Asmah, Josephine. 2014. “International Policy and Practice on Open Access for Monographs.” Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. https://www.congress2013.ca/sites/default/files/aspp-oa-appendix.pdf

Asmah focuses primarily on monographs in the open access system. She draws together a comprehensive study of open access policies concerning monographs from around the world, including case studies from Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Australia, Belgium, France, the United States, Brazil, South Africa, Japan, and Canada. Asmah finds that Europe has the highest number of monograph open access policies and details the regulations and implementations of such policies.

¤ Adema, Janneke. 2021. Living Books: Experiments in the Posthumanities. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Adema considers the contemporary scholarly book and how it could transition from a fixed, bound object to a more fluid and evolving entity. She argues that humanities scholars should reconsider their role as authors and strive to engage with knowledge production in more open, critical, and experimental ways. Adema challenges new media scholars (such as Lev Manovich and John Bryant) and print historians (such as Elizabeth Eisenstein and Adrian Johns) for their perpetuation of the book as an unchangeable, authored object. Adema complexifies her discussion of book history and new media by considering the importance of more radical approaches to open scholarship that do not reify the commercial control of academic knowledge production. Overall, Adema advocates for a more processual, experimental, ethical, and conscientious approach to scholarly communication in the twenty-first century.

¤ Adema, Janneke. 2015. “The Monograph Crisis Revisited.” Open Reflections 29 (January). https://openreflections.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/the-monograph-crisis-revisited/

Adema critiques a report written by Geoffrey Crossick for the Higher Education Funding Council for England titled Monographs and Open Access. Crossick argues that there is no crisis in monograph publishing, and that rhetoric to that end has been overblown. Primarily, he bases this argument on the fact that four major commercial British publishers have increased their monograph production in recent years. Adema contests this argument by pointing out that increased production does not actually acknowledge the heart of the monograph crisis issue: that specialized, niche, or first books are not able to be published because they will not generate enough interest, and thus profit. Adema also argues that one of the main causes of the crisis in monograph publishing is that commercial publishers have edged out university presses and smaller presses around the world—so the continued success of a handful of British commercial presses does not speak to the issues at hand. Further, Adema exposes that Crossick is biased toward the status quo—that is, to maintaining the large profit margins of commercial publishers. For instance, even though he acknowledges the importance of open access, he warns that it should only be employed in such a way that benefits profit-generating stakeholders.

Adema, Janneke. 2019. “Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs.” Knowledge Exchange. https://doi.org/10.5281/ZENODO.3238545

This report shares findings from a two-day event Stakeholder Workshop on Open Access and Monographs, held in Brussels in 2018 and hosted by the Knowledge Exchange. It shares some best practices developed and articulated at the workshop relevant for different stakeholder groups. Recommendations for funders include the development of policy to drive the shift toward open access monographs; universities are likewise encouraged to support it through mandates, incentives policies, and community engagement. Recommendations for publishers include greater transparency about the cost of open access publishing and the development of funding models not reliant on publishing charges. The need for technical infrastructures is also emphasized, including standards for technical requirements and discoverability.

+ Bath, Jon, Scott Schofield, and INKE Research Group. 2014. “The Digital Book.” In The Cambridge Companion to the History of the Book, edited by Leslie Howsam, 181–95. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bath and Schofield reflect on the rise of the e-book by contemplating the various moving parts involved in its history and production. They focus on, and contribute to, the scholarly engagement with e-books, and they provide a comprehensive survey of theorists, including Johanna Drucker, Elizabeth Eisenstein, N. Katherine Hayles, Matthew Kirschenbaum, Jerome McGann, D. F. McKenzie, and Marshall McLuhan. Bath and Schofield integrate these theorists into a larger argument that suggests that both a nuanced understanding of book history and a comprehensive familiarity with digital scholarship are necessary to fully grasp the material and historical significance of the e-book. The authors conclude with a call to book history and digital humanities specialists (“scholar-coders”) to collaborate and develop new digital research environments together.

† De Roure, David. 2014. “The Future of Scholarly Communication.” Insights 27 (3): 233–38. https://doi.org/10.1629/2048-7754.171/

DeRoure discusses how social machines provide a lens into the future developments in scholarship and scholarly collaboration. He considers the enhancement of the article as a mode of scholarly discourse, in ways that do not restrict innovation. De Roure examines scholarship at scale, as well as shifts in scholarship due to digital research and societal engagement. He continues to examine research objects and social machines in order to understand the evolution of digital scholarship. DeRoure concludes that the article, the monograph, and the book need to be defamiliarized, and that the focus should shift to future practice.

¤ Elliott, Michael A. 2015 “The Future of the Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 18 (4): n.p. https://doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0018.407

Elliott’s goal is to explore the viability of an alternative publishing model for monographs within the context of the shifting scholarly communication environment. He argues that the best path forward is a model in which universities fund the open access, digital publication of monographs, with print-on-demand possibilities. This report is based on the deliberations of a working group at Emory University, who met over 2014–2015 to parse through possibilities for the monograph and its publication, moving forward. Among other ruminations, Elliott argues that the digital monograph must incorporate several features that both advance scholarship and dovetail with existing humanities practices: robust peer review, ample marketing, conscientious design, flexible licensing, provisions for sustainability and preservation, printability, annotation, searchability, and hyperlinking.

† Ellison, J., and T. K. Eatman. 2008. Scholarship in Public: Knowledge Creation and Tenure Policy in the Engaged University. Syracuse, NY: Imagining America. https://imaginingamerica.org/wp-content/uploads/TTI_FINAL.pdf

Ellison and Eatman discuss how the administrative side of American universities lags behind in terms of tenure and promotion policies, despite the increase in publicly engaged academic work. Through a series of interviews and substantial research, the authors clearly outline the current position of scholars doing work in publicly engaged fields and the anxieties involved in pursuing this work, including the strong discouragement by many universities themselves. The report serves as a guide for members of the university to change the position of publicly engaged scholarship so as to make it appropriate for career development by adapting policies regarding tenure and promotion. Ellison and Eatman address the importance of adjusting university policies according to informed graduate student demands, so that publicly engaged scholars of the future will stay and thrive on campus. The authors also acknowledge that adjusting policies is only part of the process; they offer a pathway to a larger change with regard to present conceptions of “peer” and “publication” that would make the production of knowledge more inclusive on campus and in the community.

¤ Grimme, Sara, Mike Taylor, Michael A. Elliott, Cathy Holland, Peter Potter, and Charles Watkinson. 2019. “The State of Open Monographs.” Digital Science. Report. https://doi.org/10.6084/M9.FIGSHARE.8197625.V4

Grimme, Taylor, Elliott, Holland, Potter, and Watkinson survey the open monograph landscape as of 2019. They argue that although there has been an increase in open access monographs produced, there are further activities that could be undertaken to improve and support the production and proliferation of such texts. Namely, the report compilers suggest that publishers improve their digital asset management practices for open monographs by ensuring all digital monographs are assigned a digital object identifies (DOI) upon publication, that there is sufficient metadata linked to each monograph, and that XML is integrated into the publication workflow. Overall, Grimme et al. suggest that the state of open monographs looks promising but there is room for improvement as well.

Hill, Tom. 2020. “Four Reports on the OA Monograph: Review.” Learned Publishing 33 (3): 345–47. https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1311

In this review essay, Hill looks at four reports on the state of open access monograph publishing: The State of Open Monographs by Grimme et al (2019), The Future of Open Access Books by Pyne et al. (2019), Open Access and Monographs by Universities UK’s Open Access Monographs Group (2019), and Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs by Adema (2019). He identifies some common themes, including the idea that sustainable business models and funding are essential and that print will remain an important medium for monographs. Another theme to come out of the reports is that the licensing context is different for monographs than for open access articles, so open accessibility will need to be balanced with protecting the authors’ intellectual property and the integrity of their work. As well, the infrastructure needed to support open access monographs must be built and maintained. Noting that the scholarly monograph remains vitally important for long-form scholarship, Hill argues that the appearance of these four reports in the same year indicates growing interest in addressing the unique challenges facing open access monograph publication.

† Jankowski, Nicholas W., Andrea Scharnhorst, Clifford Tatum, and Zuotian Tatum. 2013. “Enhancing Scholarly Publications: Developing Hybrid Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences.” Scholarly and Research Communication 4 (1). https://doi.org/10.22230/src.2013v4n1a40

Jankowski, Scharnhorst, Tatum, and Tatum present a report on their project, Enhancing Scholarly Publishing in the Humanities and Social Sciences (2011), an attempt to develop interlinked, comprehensive digital versions of humanities and social sciences texts. They detail their guiding activities and principles for developing enhanced scholarly publications, and explain how they enacted these principles: providing identifiers and citation information; using popular file formats; achieving adequate technical quality; considering legal issues; addressing availability and sustainability; considering ownership and responsibility; indicating peer review or ranking; balancing complexity with utility; and demonstrating the connection between objects. For Jankowski et al., this project revealed the need to extend the theoretical understanding of current scholarly publishing transformations. They recommend the development of an empirical research agenda that relates to such a theoretical understanding.

¤ Maron, Nancy, Kimberly Schmelzinger, Christine Mulhern, and Daniel Rossman. 2016. “The Costs of Publishing Monographs: Toward a Transparent Methodology.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 19 (1): n.p. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0019.103/--costs-of-publishing-monographs-toward-a-transparent?rgn=main;view=fulltext

Maron, Schmelzinger, Mulhern, and Rossman tackle the issue of how best to fund open access monograph publication. They argue that if monographs do need to transition, en masse, to an open access model, then monograph production costs must be accounted for even as they oscillate between university presses. Maron et al. present extensive data on the monograph production costs of 382 titles from 20 university presses in the 2014 fiscal year. After studying this data, the authors conclude that the average cost per monograph is $28,747 USD. In seeking and compiling this information, the authors pursue a tripartite goal of providing a comprehensive list of the activities needed in order to produce high-quality digital monographs; generating actual data on the current cost of monograph production for university presses; and offering recommendations for general principles to guide said presses in potentially establishing price points for author-side payments for open access digital monographs, one of the proposed funding solutions.

¤ Maxwell, John. 2013. “E-Book Logic: We Can Do Better.” Papers of the Bibliographical Society of Canada 51 (1): n.p. https://doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0020.101

The e-book is often considered a product of the twenty-first century; but Maxwell contests that there has in fact been roughly four decades of electronic, or electronically facilitated, book writing and publishing. He subverts the myth of newness that surrounds e-books, and suggests instead that what is new are the publishing industry’s strategies to control user interaction and consumption of book-based media. He outlines how corporations (namely Amazon) have created a system of isolated, proprietary e-books. By contrast, Maxwell argues, e-books should be open, networked, web-based artifacts.

¤ Maxwell, John, Alessandra Bordini, and Katie Shamash. 2017. “Reassembling Scholarly Communications: An Evaluation of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Monograph Initiative.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 20 (1): n.p.

Maxwell, Bordini, and Shamash report on a 2014–15 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation scholarly communication initiative that supported 13 monograph-focused grants. The authors’ stated goal is to “identify the points of interconnection, congruence, and tension among these proposals, with the hope of providing perspective on both the individual projects, and the Foundation’s initiative itself” (n.p.). Maxwell, Bordini, and Shamash’s primary method is to organize and present the projects in four unique categories: 1) studies of monograph publishing processes and economics; 2) projects that enhance monograph publishing at university presses; 3) projects that develop digital publication capacity for faculty; and 4) projects that develop digital capacity at university presses. Throughout the report they also argue that monograph publication is a multipurpose endeavour: it simultaneously incorporates institutional knowledge production, the endowment of accreditation or status on authors, and small-scale industrial activity. As such, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for monographs in the digital age.

¤ Neylon, Cameron, Lucy Montgomery, Alkim Ozaygen, Neil Saunders, and Frances Pinter. 2018. “The Visibility of Open Access Monographs in a European Context: Full Report.” Open Access Publications in Europe in Areas for Social Sciences and Humanities. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1230342

Neylon et al. study the visibility of open access monographs, particularly in Europe. They argue that it is currently difficult to track the usage of open access monographs, due to poor metadata standards and a lack of robust digital asset tracking. Neylon et al. come to this conclusion by studying the publishers involved in the OPERAS network. They map the visibility of the network’s open access monograph output, consider technical challenges in regard to metrics and impact, and suggest how OPERAS might play a leading role in standardizing metadata and information collection practices for open access monographs.

Pyne, Ros, Christina Emery, Mithu Lucraft, and Anna Sophia Pinck. 2019. “The Future of Open Access Books: Findings from a Global Survey of Academic Book Authors” (June). https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.8166599.v1

This report shares the results of a survey of book authors conducted by Springer Nature in 2019 in order to gather their feedback about open access scholarly books (monographs and edited collections). The survey found that most authors support the idea of open access scholarly books and want to reach a wide audience, but that a publisher’s reputation is a key factor in their decision about where to publish, and most wanted their book to be available in print as well as online. The barriers they reported to publishing their books open access include a lack of familiarity with open access, concerns about prestige and perceptions of quality, and a lack of funding for publication charges. They also expressed concerns about licensing and reuse. The report offers some recommendations based on the survey findings, which include increasing awareness about open access book publishing and funding support, and building support within the scholarly community by assuaging fears about scholarly quality and prestige.

Universities UK. 2019. “Open Access and Monographs: Evidence Review.” https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/policy-and-analysis/reports/Pages/open-access-monographs-evidence-review.aspx

This report is part of a series developed by the Universities UK Open Access Monographs Group, which assesses developments toward open access monograph publishing. The issue has become more pressing as the United Kingdom’s Research Excellence Framework’s open access policy moves toward requiring monographs to be open access as well as articles. The report notes that the definition of what counts as a monograph must be clarified—for instance, to exclude scholarly/trade crossover titles. Policies must also recognize the international landscape of scholarly publishing and the various open access policies to which publications may be subject, and have provisions for co-authored works. In addition, care must be taken to allay fears that open access monographs will be perceived as lower quality, and authors’ concerns about licensing and reuse must be addressed. Funding must be available to support open access publication, and the necessary digital infrastructure must be developed to support it. Strong leadership and community buy-in is needed to drive this shift.

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