ARL Publishes Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing

The Association of Research Libraries has published Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing by Karla L. Hahn.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

To foster a deeper understanding of an emerging research library role as publishing service provider, in late 2007 the Association of Research Libraries surveyed its membership to gather data on the publishing services they were providing. Following the survey, publishing program managers at ten institutions participated in semi-structured interviews to delve more deeply into several aspects of service development: the sources and motivations for service launch, the range of publishing services, and relationships with partners.

The survey verified that research libraries are rapidly developing publishing services. By late 2007, 44% of the 80 responding ARL member libraries reported they were delivering publishing services and another 21% were in the process of planning publishing service development. Only 36% of responding institutions were not active in this arena.

These libraries are publishing many kinds of works, but the main focus is journals; 88% of publishing libraries reported publishing journals compared to 79% who publish conference papers and proceedings, and 71% who publish monographs. Established journal titles dominate this emerging publishing sector and are the main drivers of service development, although new titles are also being produced. Although the numbers of titles reported represent a very thin slice of the scholarly publishing pie, the survey respondents work with 265 titles: 131 are established titles, 81 are new titles, and 53 were under development at the time of the survey. On average, these libraries work with 7 or 8 titles with 6 currently available. . . .

Peer reviewed works dominate library publishing programs and editors or acquisitions committees typically maintain their traditional roles in identifying quality content. Libraries often provide technical support for streamlined peer review workflows, but they are not providing peer review itself. The manuscript handling services provided by some publishing programs were a significant attraction to the editors of established publications.

Library publishing program managers report substantial demand for hosting services. Libraries increasingly are positioned to provide at least basic hosting services. Open source software such as the Public Knowledge Project’s Open Journal Systems and DPubs along with new commercial services such as those offered by The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) through Digital Commons allows libraries to support basic journal hosting relatively easily.

Advice and consulting regarding a variety of publishing practices and decisions are perhaps even more popular services. There are pressing demands for information and advice about issues such as moving print publications into electronic publishing, discontinuing print in favor of electronic alternatives, publishing works with limited revenue-generating capability, revenue generation, standards of various sorts, markup and encoding, metadata generation, preservation, contracting with service providers, and copyright management.

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