Archive for the 'Scholarly Books' Category

Monographs and Open Access: A Report to HEFCE

Posted in E-Books, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Books on January 23rd, 2015

The HEFCE has released Monographs and Open Access: A Report to HEFCE.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

  • Monographs are a vitally important and distinctive vehicle for research communication, and must be sustained in any moves to open access. The availability of printed books alongside the open-access versions will be essential.
  • Contrary to many perceptions, it would not be appropriate to talk of a crisis of the monograph; this does not mean that monographs are not facing challenges, but the arguments for open access would appear to be for broader and more positive reasons than solving some supposed crisis.
  • Open access offers both short- and long-term advantages for monograph publication and use; many of these are bound up with a transition to digital publishing that has not been at the same speed as that for journals.
  • There is no single dominant emerging business model for supporting open-access publishing of monographs; a range of approaches will coexist for some time and it is unlikely that any single model will emerge as dominant. Policies will therefore need to be flexible.

Digital Scholarship | Digital Scholarship Sitemap

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    CNI Executive Roundtable Report: E-Book Strategies

    Posted in E-Books, Publishing, Research Libraries, Scholarly Books on December 3rd, 2014

    CNI has released CNI Executive Roundtable Report: E-Book Strategies .

    Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

    During two separate convenings of this roundtable, we explored questions that these new directions raise for institutions, the strategies that institutions are using to make choices among the available paths, the stakeholders involved, and the new programs and projects that CNI’s members are planning or have implemented. Our emphasis was on breadth rather than deep explorations of very specific issues; often we were most interested in understanding how institutions were shaping the questions and how they were exploring them, since many of these questions are far from resolution. Roundtable participants included representatives from academic libraries and information technology units from research institutions and liberal arts colleges, library associations, publishers, and aggregators/intermediaries.

    Digital Scholarship | "A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher"

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      "A Living Open Book"

      Posted in Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Books on December 2nd, 2014

      Peter Suber has published "A Living Open Book" in Ebooks in Education: Realising The Vision.

      Here's an excerpt:

      This is a case study of my short book, Open Access (Suber 2012a). The book is not "enhanced" in the way that a growing number of digital academic books are enhanced. It has no graphics, no multimedia, and no interactivity beyond links, and does not offer different layers or pathways for readers at different levels. From that point of the view the book is conventional and text-oriented. But it has two other enhancements worth highlighting. First, the full text is open access, which benefits authors and readers, and sometimes also publishers. Second, the book has a companion web site of open-access updates and supplements, which benefits all three groups.

      Digital Scholarship | "A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher"

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        Case Study of a Book Published under a Creative Commons License

        Posted in Creative Commons/Open Licenses, Digital Scholarship Publications, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Books on November 12th, 2014

        Here's a brief case study of how one book under a Creative Commons license evolved and was accessed.

        In 2005, the Association of Research Libraries published my book, the Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals, under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License. With ARL's agreement, I made an open access PDF available on Digital Scholarship.

        In 2006, I converted the book into an open access XHTML website and published the Open Access Bibliography Author Index and the Open Access Bibliography Title Index.

        In 2008, I worked with Open Access Directory staff to convert it to wiki format and publish it as the basis for the Bibliography of Open Access.

        In 2010, I published Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography as an open access PDF file, an open access XHTML website, and a low-cost paperback. All versions of the bibliography were under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License. This derivative work was an updated version of the Open Access Bibliography that was more narrowly focused on scholarly treatments of open access.

        Below are the Digital Scholarship use statistics for the two books as of October 31, 2014. In this analysis, only HTML files or PDF files are counted as "page views"; image files and other supporting website files are excluded. This analysis also excludes spider use.

        • Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals: over 355,000 page views.
        • Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography: over 152,000 page views.

        That's a total of over 507,000 page views. For the measured time period, about 7.9% of all file requests to Digital Scholarship failed. Consequently, I'll eliminate 7.9% of the above page views and estimate that there were over 466,000 successful page views. This tally does not include any access statistics from ARL or the OAD (nor does it include paperback sales).

        If the multi-file HTML versions of the books are eliminated from consideration, the two books still had a total of over 173,000 PDF requests (excluding spider requests), adjusted to an estimated 159,000 plus successful PDF requests.

        To put these use statistics in perspective, in 2005, Willis Regier (Director of the University of Illinois Press) estimated that the typical university press book sold between 400 to 800 copies.

        Digital Scholarship | "A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher"

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          Faster and Cheaper: Can a Digital-Centric Workflow Transform the Book Review?

          Posted in Publishing, Scholarly Books on August 28th, 2014

          Ithaka S+R has released Faster and Cheaper: Can a Digital-Centric Workflow Transform the Book Review?.

          Here's an excerpt:

          In July 2014, the American Anthropological Association (AAA) received funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Digital Information Technology Program to help underwrite the development of a new digital prototype for book reviews. This prototype will be a website that supports a digital workflow from the publisher's electronic files all the way through to online publication of the review.

          Digital Scholarship | "A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher"

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            Innovation in E-book Lending

            Posted in E-Books, Publishing, Scholarly Books on July 8th, 2014

            The International Publishers Association has released Innovation in E-book Lending.

            Here's an excerpt:

            This special report assesses recent developments in e-lending, both in the trade and the academic sector, studying innovative approaches from the US, France, Sweden and Brazil. What these different projects have in common is that they are based on licenses which provide libraries with the conditions to acquire and lending e-books while putting publishers in control of lending terms. This allows publishers not just to protect their revenue streams, but to expand them.

            Digital Scholarship | "A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher"

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              Preserving eBooks

              Posted in Data Curation, Open Data, and Research Data Management, E-Books, Publishing, Scholarly Books on July 7th, 2014

              The Digital Preservation Coalition has released Preserving eBooks.

              Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

              Written by Portico's Amy Kirchhoff and Sheila Morrissey, and published in association with Charles Beagrie Ltd., this report discusses the current developments and issues with which public, national and higher education libraries, publishers, aggregators and preservation institutions must contend to ensure long-term access to eBook content.

              Digital Scholarship | "A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher"

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                A Quarter-Century as an Open Access Publisher

                Posted in Bibliographies, Digital Scholarship Publications, Open Access, Publishing, Scholarly Books, Scholarly Communication, Scholarly Journals, Social Media/Web 2.0 on June 23rd, 2014


                Twenty-five years? It's hard to believe I've been doing this since Madonna's "Express Yourself" was in the top 40. I don't typically write about personal matters in DigitalKoans, but here's a mini-memoir, so please indulge me.

                Here are the highlights of my open access publishing activities since June 1989. A full chronology is also available.

                PACS-L and the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review

                Twenty-five years ago I went to the ALA Annual Conference and passed out a few leaflets announcing the Public-Access Computer Systems Forum (PACS-L), a LISTSERV list intended to foster discussion on the then-revolutionary idea that library users could access digital information themselves instead of submitting database search requests to librarians. At the time, PCs were being used to provide access to databases on CD-ROMs and some avant-garde libraries were providing access to "locally-mounted databases" on minicomputers. In 1989, librarians were reading papers such as "Library Applications of CD-ROM"; "Loading Local Machine-Readable Data Files: Issues, Problems, and Answers"; and my "Public-Access Computer Systems: The Next Generation of Library Automation Systems."

                I was particularly interested in the emergence of public-access computer systems because the University of Houston, where I worked as the library's Assistant Director for Systems, had a President who envisioned a bold new age of digital information access. One of my first tasks when I a took the job in 1987 was to flesh-out, in a couple of weeks, the details of this vision for a very substantial grant proposal. By the summer of 1989, I had spent a considerable amount of time reviewing the literature on "electronic publishing" and grappling with how to make the potential real. The library's visionary director, Robin N. Downes, was very supportive of my starting PACS-L (and of my subsequent digital publishing efforts at UH).

                My expectations at ALA were modest; however, the timing was right and PACS-L was one of the first lists to focus on a broad topic rather than a single library automation system. Moreover, PACS-L soon morphed into a list that dealt with the nascent Internet and its implications for libraries and electronic publishing. Consequently, it grew rapidly, and, within a year, had over 1,400 subscribers (at its peak, it had over 10,000 subscribers).

                In this uber-interactive age, it is difficult to convey the early excitement that the development of this new digital community held, especially as it became more international. In short order, I began to consider the possibility of launching an e-journal, and I floated the idea on PACS-L.

                Although the technological infrastructure of the time was primitive at best, on August 16, 1989, I announced the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review, an e-journal whose articles would be distributed as ASCII text files using a LISTSERV server. Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

                The Public-Access Computer Systems Review will contain short articles (1 to 7 single-spaced pages), columns, and reviews. PACS Review will cover all computer systems that libraries make available to their patrons, including CAI and ICAI programs, CD-ROM databases, expert systems, hypermedia systems, information delivery systems, local databases, online catalogs, and remote end-user search systems. All types of short communications dealing with these subjects are welcome. Articles that present innovative projects in libraries, even those at an early stage of their development, are especially welcome. Proposals for regular (or irregular) columns will be considered on an ongoing basis. There will be a section for reviews of books, journal articles, reports, and software.

                A call for papers was issued in October, and the first issue was announced in January 1990. The journal became peer-reviewed in November 1991.

                Starting with its first issue, The Public-Access Computer Systems Review was freely available, allowed noncommercial use, and allowed authors to retain their copyrights. There was no established theoretical or legal context for doing so. The concept of "open access" wouldn't be articulated until the Budapest Open Access Initiative declaration in February 2002, and the Creative Commons wouldn't release its first license until December 2002.

                Needless to say, the journal was product of many hands, including its hardworking editorial staff, its very engaged editorial board, its risk-taking authors, and its columnists.

                From 1994 through 2005 (the only years that data is available), The Public-Access Computer Systems Review had over 3.5 million file requests.

                In the early 1990s, I also cofounded and coedited Public-Access Computer Systems News, which published short news items, and founded and moderated the PACS-P list, which announced new e-serials issues for publications such as Current Cites.

                The Public-Access Computer Systems Review and Public-Access Computer Systems News are preserved in the Internet Archive. The University of Houston has a partial archive of the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review (only ASCII versions of articles, not the HTML website or HTML versions of articles published from 1995 onwards) and a complete archive of Public-Access Computer Systems News. After the University of Houston deleted the PACS-L archive in 2013, it is no longer publicly available.

                For more details about PACS-L and The Public-Access Computer Systems Review, see:

                Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography

                The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography evolved out of three bibliographies about "electronic publishing on networks" that I published in The Public-Access Computer Systems Review. I was motivated to write them because it was difficult to track this emerging trend using conventional indexes, and I thought that making this information more accessible would foster the further development of digital publishing.

                The final bibliography in this series, "Network-Based Electronic Publishing of Scholarly Works: A Selective Bibliography," was the result of an experimental publishing strategy that I tried in the journal: the option for authors to update their articles. This article was updated 26 times between March 1995 and October 1996.

                By its final version, the bibliography had outgrown the article format, and I transformed it into an electronic book: the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography. Since the literature never stopped changing, I decided that the book wouldn't either: it would be updated periodically. And so it was: 80 times from October 1996 through October 2011. Always freely available, I put it under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License in July 2004.

                Over the course of its evolution, it was distributed as PDF files, printed books, a website, and Word files. By the time the last print version was published in early 2011, it was over 460 pages long. Along the way, a directory of related resources ("Scholarly Electronic Publishing Resources, which was published from 2000 though 2009) and a weblog that listed new works (the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog, which was published from 2001 through 2013) were added to the bibliography.

                The Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography is archived at Digital Scholarship and the Internet Archive. The University of Houston Libraries no longer maintains an archive of the e-book.

                From October 1996 through December 2005, the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography had over 5.5 million file requests.

                For more information about the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, see:

                Digital Scholarship

                By 2005, I felt that the technological infrastructure had evolved to the point where it was feasible for a single individual to perform all the functions of a digital publisher, and I established my own open access digital press, Digital Scholarship. As you know, it provides information and commentary about digital copyright, digital curation, digital repositories, open access, scholarly communication, and other digital information issues. Its publications are under versions of the Creative Commons Attribution or Attribution-Noncommercial Licenses. I also established DigitalKoans that year to provide timely coverage of those topics.

                In November 2006, I resigned my position as Assistant Dean for Digital Library Planning and Development at the University of Houston Libraries, and I migrated the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography to Digital Scholarship.

                Until 2009, Digital Scholarship only published digital works. In May of that year, I published the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography: 2008 Annual Edition as a low-cost paperback with an open access digital version.

                To date, Digital Scholarship has published the following works:

                Not unexpectedly, the most popular books, aside from the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography, have been those about open access:

                • Open Access Bibliography: Liberating Scholarly Literature with E-Prints and Open Access Journals: 0ver 627,000 file requests.
                • Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography: Over 637,000 file requests.

                During the time it was published by Digital Scholarship, all digital versions of the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Bibliography had over 7.1 million file requests, bringing the total number of file requests to over 12.6 million.

                From April 2005 through May 2014, Digital Scholarship had over 13.7 million visitors from 230 counties and over 66.8 million file requests.

                By analyzing Digital Scholarship log data with Weblog Expert, it is possible to separate out spider requests, to break out page views (a page view would be for a Epub, HTM, HTML, PDF, text, or Word file), to determine the number of unique IPs, and to gauge bandwidth use.

                Here's the breakdown for the same period:

                • Total file requests: Over 66.8 million
                • Spider file requests: Over 26.2 million (about 39% of file requests)
                • Total page views: Over 47.7 million (about 71% of file requests)
                • Total unique IPs: 1.4 million
                • Total bandwidth: Over 1,700 GB


                In the age of Google, bibliographies may seem antiquated. Digital Scholarship's use data argues otherwise. Certainly, the scholarly information that users are seeking is typically on search engines, but extracting it can be a time-consuming and vexing process. For example, in the early days of the open access movement, Google search results for this topic were replete with papers about surgical procedures, restricted access to beaches, and other false drops.

                My publishing efforts have been driven by advocacy. I write to foster the development of causes that I care about. I hope that my contributions have had a positive impact on them.

                As to the future of Digital Scholarship, I haven't taken a lengthy publishing vacation in 25 years, so it may be time for a sabbatical. I've become increasingly involved in creating digital art, and that taking up more of my time. We'll see.

                Preservation-wise, I've put the major works in the Internet Archive, but, as an individual unaffiliated with a university, can't do much beyond that. As you would imagine, I have extensive digital work files and publication use data dating from the dawn of open access, but I'm not sure how to archive them.

                So, onward, and, hopefully, upward. Thanks for your interest and support over the last quarter-century.

                And a special thanks to the The Public-Access Computer Systems Review editorial staff, editorial board, and columnists:


                • Pat Ensor (1997-2000)
                • Thomas C. Wilson (1997-2000)


                • Leslie Dillon, Associate Editor (1990) and Associate Editor, Columns (1991-1997)
                • Elizabeth A. Dupuis, Associate Editor, Columns (1997-2000)
                • John E. Fadell, Copy Editor (1998-2000)
                • Andrea Bean Hough, Associate Editor, Communications (1997-2000)
                • Mike Ridley, Associate Editor (1989-1990) and Associate Editor, Reviews (1991)
                • Dana Rooks, Associate Editor, Communications (1991-1997)
                • Robert Spragg, Associate Editor, Technical Support (1996-2000)
                • Roy Tennant, Associate Editor, Reviews (1992-1993)
                • Ann Thornton, Associate Editor, Production (1995-2000)

                Editorial Board:

                • Ralph Alberico (1992-2000)
                • George H. Brett II (1992-2000)
                • Priscilla Caplan (1994-2000)
                • Steve Cisler (1992-2000)
                • Walt Crawford (1989-2000)
                • Lorcan Dempsey (1992-2000)
                • Pat Ensor (1994-1996)
                • Nancy Evans (1989-2000)
                • Stephen Harter (1997-2000)
                • Charles Hildreth (1992-2000)
                • Ronald Larsen (1992-2000)
                • Clifford Lynch (1992-2000)
                • David R. McDonald (1989-2000)
                • R. Bruce Miller (1989-2000)
                • Ann Okerson (1997-2000)
                • Paul Evan Peters (1989-1996)
                • Mike Ridley (1992-2000)
                • Peggy Seiden (1995-2000)
                • Peter Stone (1989-2000)
                • John E. Ulmschneider (1992-2000)


                • Priscilla Caplan (1992-1998)
                • Walt Crawford (1989-1995)
                • Martin Halbert (1990-1993)

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                  Digital Scholarship

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