“Reflections on University Press Publishing”

In "Reflections on University Press Publishing," a former University of Toronto Press executive examines the current state of university presses.

Here's an excerpt:

As the revenue from sales of books decreases, there has been a corresponding increase in the need for subventions. The average monetary loss from publication of a scholarly book is in the range of $10,000-$12,000—defined as the shortfall between anticipated revenue and all costs, including all fixed and variable costs. In Canada, the usual subvention for an academic book (provided by the Aid to Scholarly Publications Program) is $8000. Thus there is a need for $2000-$4000 in additional subvention for each book published. Some scholarly publishers are able to find this money from within their own operation—usually from private endowments. Frequently, publishers are asking authors to subsidize their own books—either from research funds or, in some cases, from their own pockets. In some cases, publishers are forced to ask authors to provide books in camera ready form—effectively becoming their own typesetters—to subsidize this cost.

Public Domain Victory in Golan v. Holder

In a victory for public domain advocates, United States District Court Judge for the District of Colorado Lewis T. Babcock has ruled in Golan v. Holder (previously Golan v. Gonzales) that the restoration of copyright to certain foreign works formerly in the U.S public domain that resulted from Section 514 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act violates the First Amendment.

Here's an excerpt from the ruling:

Congress has a legitimate interest in complying with the terms of the Berne Convention. The Berne Convention, however, affords each member nation discretion to restore the copyrights of foreign authors in a manner consistent with that member nation's own body of copyright law. In the United States, that body of law includes the bedrock principle that works in the public domain remain in the public domain. Removing works from the public domain violated Plaintiffs' vested First Amendment interests. In light of the discretion afforded it by the Berne Convention, Congress could have complied with the Convention without interfering with Plaintiffs' protected speech. Accordingly—to the extent Section 514 suppresses the right of reliance parties to use works they exploited while the works were in the public domain—Section 514 is substantially broader than necessary to achieve the Government's interest.

On the basis of the record before the Court, I conclude no evidence exists showing whether the Government's two additional justifications for implementing Section 514—Section 514 helps protect the copyright interests of United States authors abroad; and Section 514 corrects for historic inequities wrought on foreign authors who lost their United States copyrights through no fault of their own—constitute important Government interests, or whether Section 514 is narrowly tailored to meet those interests.

Read more about it in “Court Rules Part Of Copyright Act Unconstitutional” and “URAA Held Unconstitutional.”

Library IT Jobs: Library Systems Officer at Royal Holloway, University of London

Library Services at Royal Holloway, University of London is recruiting a Library Systems Officer (2 year fixed-term post).

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

You will play a vital role in a small team maintaining and developing the suite of Library systems and applications essential to the delivery of vital front-line services in a physical and online Library environment. You will work closely with IT Services on projects to deliver an integrated set of web services linked into key university-wide systems and repositories.

Peter Suber: “A Field Guide to Misunderstandings about Open Access”

Peter Suber has published "A Field Guide to Misunderstandings about Open Access" in the latest issue of the SPARC Open Access Newsletter.

Here's an excerpt:

"OA is about punishing greedy or obstructive publishers."

You can't throw a brick out a university window without hitting a researcher, librarian, or administrator frustrated and furious with a set of TA journal publishers.  For many of them, the problems for which OA is the solution are defined by these frustrating and infuriating experiences.  But it doesn't follow that OA must function as punishment, for anyone.  To pursue it as a punishment is to mistake the goal.

As I put it in my OA Overview:  "The purpose of the campaign for OA is the constructive one of providing OA to a larger and larger body of literature, not the destructive one of putting non-OA journals or publishers out of business. The consequences may or may not overlap (this is contingent) but the purposes do not overlap."

The rise of personal computers in the 1980's may have hurt the typewriter industry, but it doesn't follow that the purpose was to hurt the typewriter industry.  But when you've suffered at the hands of Royal and Olivetti, it's easy to become distracted and take your eyes off the prize.

This misunderstanding has a surprisingly diverse habitat.  You'll find it among some caffeinated academics who are avid for OA.  But you'll also find it among besieged TA publishers who would rather believe that OA is an ideological attack on what they are doing than a serious and sophisticated alternative or supplement to what they are doing.  The lesson for both is that OA would still be an urgently good idea if TA journal prices were low and licensing terms reasonable.  For more along these lines, see my reflections on OA as solving problems and OA as seizing opportunities.


Draft Roadmap for Science Data Infrastructure

PARSE.Insight has released Draft Roadmap for Science Data Infrastructure.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The draft roadmap provides an overview and initial details of a number of specific components, both technical and non-technical, which would be needed to supplement existing and already planned infrastructures for scientific data. The infra-structure components are aimed at bridging the gaps between islands of functionality, developed for particular purposes, often by other European projects. Thus the infrastructure components are intended to play a general, unifying role in scientific data. While developed in the context of a Europe-wide infrastructure, there would be great advantages for these types of infrastructure components to be available much more widely.

Services for Small OA Publishers: OpenAccessSolutions.com Launched

Co-Action Publishing, Datapage and T Marketing have launched OpenAccessSolutions.com, a publishing support service for small open access publishers.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

OpenAccessSolutions.com addresses the needs of a growing segment within Open Access scholarly publishing. The Open Access journals market is growing quickly, and currently represents approximately 9% of the refereed journals listed in Ulrich's Periodical Directory. A number of these journals are operated by single editorial teams, societies or university presses. OpenAccessSolutions.com allows these publishers to combine independence with behind-the-scenes professional support on virtually any aspect of journal development and the publishing process.

"We recognize that many scholars and societies wish to remain independent of a publishing house as they transition a current subscription journal to Open Access or launch a new journal," stated Caroline Sutton from Co-Action Publishing, adding "By teaming up with Datapage and T Marketing, we are able to offer these publishers access to the same professional skill and know-how that large publishers take advantage of everyday in a format that is scalable to their needs."

Nisha Rahul, Operations Manager for Datapage, further commented, "Datapage has been providing typesetting and pre-press services to publishers worldwide since 1987. Our ultimate aim is to make ourselves "easier to do business with". Through OpenAccessSolutions.com we make publishing easier for small publishers by providing seamless solutions from several vendors, allowing each publisher to create an optimal service package.

T Marketing Founder Natasha White shared her thoughts on the launch, stating, "After having worked at some of the world's largest publishers, I am now working daily with smaller businesses. Like Datapage and Co-Action Publishing, T Marketing welcomes the opportunity to work together with small-scale scholarly publishers to augment the skills and competencies of their in-house teams."

NEH Preservation and Access Research and Development Grants

The National Endowment for the Humanities is soliciting applications for Preservation and Access Research and Development grants, with an 7/30/09 deadline.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

Preservation and Access Research and Development grants support projects that address major challenges in preserving or providing access to humanities collections and resources. These challenges include the need to find better ways to preserve materials of critical importance to the nation's cultural heritage—from fragile artifacts and manuscripts to analog recordings and digital assets subject to technological obsolescence—and to develop advanced modes of searching, discovering, and using such materials. . . .

NEH especially encourages applications that address the following areas:

  • Digital Preservation: how to preserve digital humanities materials, including those for which no analog counterparts exist;
  • Recorded Sound and Moving Image Collections: how to preserve and increase access to the record of the twentieth century contained in these formats; and
  • Preventive Conservation: how to protect and slow the deterioration of humanities collections through the use of sustainable preservation strategies.

World Digital Library to Launch on April 21, 2009

The World Digital Library will launch on April 21, 2009.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

UNESCO and 32 partner institutions will launch the World Digital Library, a web site that features unique cultural materials from libraries and archives from around the world, at UNESCO Headquarters on 21 April. The site will include manuscripts, maps, rare books, films, sound recordings, and prints and photographs. It will provide unrestricted public access, free of charge, to this material.

The launch will take place at a reception co-hosted by UNESCO Director-General, Koïchiro Matsuura, and U.S. Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington. Directors of the partner institutions will also be on hand to present the project to ambassadors, ministers, delegates, and special guests attending the semi-annual meeting of UNESCO’s Executive Board.

Working Together or Apart: Promoting the Next Generation of Digital Scholarship

The Council on Library and Information Resources has released Working Together or Apart: Promoting the Next Generation of Digital Scholarship: Report of a Workshop Cosponsored by the Council on Library and Information Resources and The National Endowment for the Humanities

Here's an excerpt from the Executive Summary:

On September 15, 2008, CLIR, in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), held a symposium to explore research topics arising at the intersection of humanities, social sciences, and computer science. The meeting addressed two fundamental questions: (1) how do the new media advance and transform the interpretation and analysis of text, image, and other sources of interest to the humanities and social sciences and enable new expression and pedagogy?, and (2) how do those processes of inquiry pose questions and challenges for research in computer science as well as in the humanities and social sciences?

Working Together or Apart considers these two questions. The volume opens with an essay by CLIR Director of Programs Amy Friedlander, which contextualizes and synthesizes the day's discussion. It is followed by six papers prepared for the meeting, and a summary of a report on digital humanities centers commissioned by CLIR and written by Diane Zorich.

DOAJ and e-Depot to Preserve Open Access Journals

With support from the Swedish Library Association, the Directory of Open Access Journals and the e-Depot of the National Library of the Netherlands will preserve open access journals.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Long-term preservation of scholarly publications is of major importance for the research community. New formats of scholarly publications, new business models and new ways of dissemination are constantly being developed. To secure permanent access to scientific output for the future, focussed on the preservation of articles published in open access journals, a cooperation between Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ—www.doaj.org), developed and operated by Lund University Libraries and the e-Depot of the National Library of the Netherlands (www.kb.nl/e-Depot) has been initiated.

The composition of the DOAJ collection (currently 4000 journals) is characterized by a very large number of publishers (2.000+), each publishing a very small number of journals on different platforms, in different formats and in more than 50 different languages. Many of these publishers are—with a number of exceptions—fragile when it comes to financial, technical and administrative sustainability.

At present DOAJ and KB carry out a pilot project aimed at setting up a workflow for processing open access journals listed with DOAJ. In the pilot a limited number of open access journals will be subject to long term preservation. These activities will be scaled up shortly and long term archiving of the journals listed in the DOAJ at KB’s e-Depot will become an integral part of the service provided by the DOAJ.

U.S. 2008 Book Sales: $24.3 Billion, Down 2.8%

The Association of American Publishers has released 2008 book sales figures for the U.S. Sales totaled $24.3 billion, down 2.8% from 2007.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

Trade sales of adult and juvenile books fell 5.2 percent from 2007 to $8.1 billion, CAGR fell to 2.1 percent. Growth was found in paperbound books for children and adults, with growth rates of 6.4% and 3.6% respectively. Sales in the hardcover fell 12.4% in children's hardcover and 13% in adult hardcover. . . .

Educational titles had a mixed year. Sales in the Elementary (El-Hi) category, those books produced for K-12 education, fell 4.4% to $6.1 billion in 2008, CAGR for this category was 0.8%. The Higher Education category, which includes sales of college textbooks, fared better. Total sales reached $3.8 billion this year up 2.7% on 2007. This brought the CAGR for college textbooks to 3.8%. . . .

Audio book sales for 2008 totaled $172 million, down 21% on the prior year, CAGR for this category is still healthy at 3.1%. E-books continue to grow significantly, sales reached $113 million in 2008, up 68.4%

Wikimedia Commons Gets 250,000 Creative Commons Licensed Images from Saxony-State and University Library Dresden

The Land Library of Saxony-State and University Library Dresden has agreed to make 250,000 image files available on the Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

As the first German library, the Land Library of Saxony-State and University Library Dresden (SLUB) has concluded a cooperation agreement with Wikimedia Germany e.V. In a first step, the German Photo Collection of the SLUB makes available ca. 250,000 image files from its repository for free use to Wikimedia Commons, a sister project of Wikipedia.

The photos, the corresponding captions and further meta data will be uploaded to Commons during the coming months by voluntary helpers of Wikimedia, then connected step-by-step with personal identification data and the relevant Wikipedia articles. Apart from that, the metadata supplied by the German Photo Collection can be enriched, commented on and supplied with geographical detail by Wikipedia users. All results of this work are flowing back to the database of the German Photo Collection. In this way, the SLUB too directly profits from the new collaboration.

No rights of third parties concerning the image material supplied are standing in the way of using it under the free license "Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0". The cooperation will, in the words of Dr Jens Bove, the director of the German Photo Collection, "enhance the publicity and reach of the photographic treasures of the German Photo Collection". At the same time, the SLUB is a clear testament to the support of the international Open Access Initiative, which seeks open access to scientific information.

Digital Library Jobs: Digital Data Coordinator at Penn

The University of Pennsylvania Libraries are recruiting a Digital Data Coordinator (two-year appointment with the possibility of extension).

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

RBML [Rare Book & Manuscript Library] is currently seeking qualified applicants for the position of Digital Data Coordinator. Working under the supervision of the Curator of Manuscripts, the Digital Data Coordinator will be a member of a project team digitizing the Rare Book & Manuscript Library's pre-1601 European Manuscripts.

Library IT Jobs: Director of Information Technology at Rutgers

The Rutgers University Libraries are recruiting a Director of Information Technology.

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

  • Reports to the Associate University Librarian for Digital Library Systems.
  • Provides vision, leadership, and management of the Integrated Information Systems Department, a 14-person department.
  • Is responsible for policies, procedures, selection, installation, and management of integrated information systems hardware and software, including integrated library system software, Windows networking, digital mass storage, servers, workstations, and peripherals for a three-campus library system.
  • Leads cross-departmental teams in specifying, selecting, purchasing, and installing hardware and software to meet the diverse research and education needs of the libraries' users-the faculty and staff of Rutgers University.
  • Manages the libraries' main computer facility, housing systemwide servers and digital mass storage system.
  • Has primary responsibility for the design, implementation, and management of the libraries' Drupal-enabled website, the SirsiDynix Integrated Library System, and the production Fedora repository system.
  • Proposes policy and sets procedures for information management, including security and maintenance of the libraries' digital information resources.
  • Leads the web services team and will provide leadership in a large-scale redesign of the website to reflect the user experience.
  • Provides leadership to the libraries' preparations for migration to an open library management system in the next two years.

Faced with 20% Sales Drop, University of New Mexico Press Cuts Jobs and May Outsource More

In "U of New Mexico Press Downsizes," Rachel Deahl reports that the University of New Mexico Press is cutting jobs, and it may outsource warehouse/customer service operations to cope with a 20% sales decline.

Read more about it at “Most. Revealing. Press Release. Ever“; “UNM Press Announces Reorganization“; and “UNM Press to Fire Three Employees.”

Digital Library Jobs: Scholarly Communication Librarian at City of Hope Graff Scientific & Medical Library

The City of Hope Lee Graff Scientific & Medical Library is recruiting a Scholarly Communication Librarian.

Here's an excerpt from the ad:

The City of Hope Graff Scientific & Medical Library seeks an innovative and enthusiastic Scholarly Communication Librarian to provide leadership in the emerging area of scholarly communication. Responsibilities include: developing and maintaining institution-wide policies and procedures to comply with the National Institutes of Health Public Access Policy; educating staff about publishing models and author rights; monitoring and reporting on global scholarly communication trends and related legislative issues; building and sustaining an institutional repository; and developing and supporting sustainable models of scholarly communication.

National Science Digital Library Releases EduPak Version 1.0

The National Science Digital Library has released EduPak version 1.0.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

EduPak version 1.0 is a lightweight version of the NCore open-source digital library platform specifically designed to meet the needs of national educational organizations and institutions focused on establishing specialized digital collections, conducting educational research, or providing students, teachers and instructors with discipline-oriented pedagogical products and tools that require basic technology for educational digital repositories. Built with NCore components, EduPak is an all-in-one, educational digital repository solution that provides a general platform for building digital libraries united by a common data model and interoperable applications.

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