NISO Shared E-Resource Understanding Working Group

If you are tired of negotiating a license for every commercial information product that you purchase, there may be hope on the horizon.

The NISO Shared E-Resource Understanding Working Group (SERU), co-chaired by Karla Hahn, Association of Research Libraries, and Judy Luther, Informed Strategies, is addressing this issue.

Here is the group’s charge:

The working group is charged with developing Recommended Practices to be used to support a new mechanism for publishers to sell e-resources without licenses if they feel their perception of risk has been adequately addressed by current law and developing norms of behavior.

The document will be an expression of a set of shared understandings of publisher and library expectations regarding the sale of an electronic resource subscription. Negotiation between publisher perspectives and library perspectives will be needed to develop a useful set of practices.

The working group will build on considerable work to identify key elements of a best practices document already begun during a one-day meeting sponsored by ARL, ALPSP, SSP, and SPARC. All of the participants in that scoping meeting expressed a strong desire to continue to work on this project and form the proposed working group to develop best practices.

A recent article provides more details about SERU as does its FAQ.

There is also a mailing list. Send a message to SERUinfo-subscribe@list.niso.org to subscribe.

American Society for Cell Biology Issues Open Access Position Paper

The American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) has issued an open access position paper ("ASCB Position on Public Access to Scientific Literature").

Here is an excerpt:

The ASCB believes strongly that barriers to scientific communication slow scientific progress. The more widely scientific results are disseminated, the more readily they can be understood, applied, and built upon. The sooner findings are shared, the faster they will lead to new scientific insights and breakthroughs. This conviction has motivated the ASCB to provide free access to all of the research articles in Molecular Biology of the Cell two months after publication, which it has done since 2001. . . .

Some publishers argue that providing free access to their journal’s content will catastrophically erode their revenue base. The experience of many successful research journals demonstrates otherwise; these journals make their online content freely available after a short embargo period that protects subscription revenue. For example, as noted above, the content of Molecular Biology of the Cell is free to all after only two months, yet the journal remains not only financially sound, but profitable. The data clearly show that free access and profitability are not mutually exclusive.

Our goal should be to make research articles freely available as soon as feasible so that science and the public benefit from their expanded use and application. At the same time, it is important that nonprofit societies and other publishers generate sufficient revenues to sustain the costs of reviewing and publishing articles. We believe that a six-month embargo period represents a reasonable compromise between the financial requirements of supporting a journal and the need for access to current research.

New Yorker Google Book Search Article

The New Yorker has published an article about Google Book Search by Jeffrey Toobin in its February 5, 2007 issue ("Google’s Moon Shot: The Quest for the Universal Library").

Here’s a quote from the article:

Google asserts that its use of the copyrighted books is "transformative," that its database turns a book into essentially a new product. "A key part of the line between what’s fair use and what’s not is transformation," Drummond said. "Yes, we’re making a copy when we digitize. But surely the ability to find something because a term appears in a book is not the same thing as reading the book. That’s why Google Books is a different product from the book itself." In other words, Google says that being able to search books on its site—which it describes as the equivalent of a giant library card catalogue—is not the same as making the books themselves available. But the publishers cite another factor in fair-use analysis: the amount of the copyrighted work that is used in the creation of the new one. Google is copying entire books, which doesn’t sound "fair" to the plaintiff publishers and authors.

Blackwell Synergy Based on Literatum Goes Live

Blackwell Publishing has released a new version of Blackwell Synergy, which utilizes Atypon’s Literatum software.

From the press release:

Blackwell Synergy enables its users to search 1 million articles from over 850 leading scholarly journals across the sciences, social sciences, humanities and medicine. The redesign provides easier navigation, faster loading times and improved access to tools for researchers, as well as meeting the latest accessibility standards (ADA section 508 and W3C’s WAI-AA).

Recently, the University of Chicago Press picked Atypon as a technology partner to provide an e-publishing platform for its online journals.

digitalculturebooks

The University of Michigan Press and the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University of Michigan Library, working together as the Michigan Digital Publishing Initiative, have established digitalculturebooks, which offers free access to digital versions of its published works (print works are fee-based). The imprint focuses on "the social, cultural, and political impact of new media."

The objectives of the imprint are to:

  • develop an open and participatory publishing model that adheres to the highest scholarly standards of review and documentation;
  • study the economics of Open Access publishing;
  • collect data about how reading habits and preferences vary across communities and genres;
  • build community around our content by fostering new modes of collaboration in which the traditional relationship between reader and writer breaks down in creative and productive ways.

Library Journal Academic Newswire notes in its article about digitalculturebooks:

While press officials use the term "open access," the venture is actually more "free access" than open at this stage. Open access typically does not require permission for reuse, only a proper attribution. UM director Phil Pochoda told the LJ Academic Newswire that, while no final decision has been made, the press’s "inclination is to ask authors to request the most restrictive Creative Commons license" for their projects. That license, he noted, requires attribution and would not permit commercial use, such as using it in a subsequent for-sale product, without permission. The Digital Culture Books web site currently reads that "permission must be received for any subsequent distribution."

The imprint’s first publication is The Best of Technology Writing 2006.

(Prior postings about digital presses.)

Has Authorama.com "Set Free" 100 Public Domain Books from Google Book Search?

In a posting on Google Blogoscoped, Philipp Lenssen has announced that he has put up 100 public domain books from Google Book Search on Authorama.

Regarding his action, Lenssen says:

In other words, Google imposes restrictions on these books which the public domain does not impose*. I’m no lawyer, and maybe Google can print whatever guidelines they want onto those books. . . and being no lawyer, most people won’t know if the guidelines are a polite request, or legally enforceable terms**. But as a proof of concept—the concept of the public domain—I’ve now ‘set free’ 100 books I downloaded from Google Book Search by republishing them on my public domain books site, Authorama. I’m not doing this out of disrespect for the Google Books program (which I think is cool, and I’ll credit Google on Authorama) but out of respect for the public domain (which I think is even cooler).

Since Lenssen has retained Google’s usage guidelines in the e-books, it’s unclear how they have been "set free," in spite of the following statement on Authorama’s Books from Google Book Search page:

The following books were downloaded from Google Book Search and are made available here as public domain. You can download, republish, mix and mash these books, for private or public, commercial or non-commercial use.

Leaving aside the above statement, Lenssen’s action appears to violate the following Google usage guideline, where Google asks that users:

Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

However, in the above guideline, Google uses the word "request," which suggests voluntary, rather than mandatory, compliance. Google also requests attribution and watermark retention.

Maintain attribution The Google ‘watermark’ you see on each file is essential for informing people about this project and helping them find additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it.

Note the use of the word "please."

It’s not clear how to determine if Google’s watermark remains in the Authorama files, but, given the retention of the usage guidelines, it likely does.

So, do Google’s public domain books really need to be "set free"? In its usage guidelines, Google appears to make compliance requests, not compliance requirements. Are such requests binding or not? If so, the language could be clearer. For example, here’s a possible rewording:

Make non-commercial use of the files Google Book Search is for individual use only, and its files can only be used for personal, non-commercial purposes. All other use is prohibited.

Will Self-Archiving Cause Libraries to Cancel Journal Subscriptions?

There has been a great deal of discussion of late about the impact of self-archiving on library journal subscriptions. Obviously, this is of great interest to journal publishers who do not want to wake up one morning, rub the sleep from their eyes, and find out over their first cup of coffee at work that libraries have en masse canceled subscriptions because a "tipping point" has been reached. Likewise, open access advocates do not want journal publishers to panic at the prospect of cancellations and try to turn back the clock on liberal self-archiving policies. So, this is not a scenario that any one wants, except those who would like to simply scrap the existing journal publishing system and start over with a digital tabula rosa.

So, deep breath: Is the end near?

This question hinges on another: Will libraries accept any substitute for a journal that does not provide access to the full, edited, and peer-reviewed contents of that journal?

If the answer is "yes," publishers better get out their survival kits and hunker down for the digital nuclear winter or else change business practices to embrace the new reality. Attempts to fight back by rolling back the clock may just make the situation worse: the genie is out of the bottle.

If the answer is "no," preprints pose no threat, but postprints may under some difficult to attain circumstances.

It is unlikely that a critical mass of author created postprints (i.e., author makes the preprint look like the postprint) will ever emerge. Authors would have to be extremely motivated to have this occur. If you don’t believe me, take a Word file that you submitted to a publisher and make it look exactly like the published article (don’t forget the pagination because that might be a sticking point for libraries). That leaves publisher postprints (generally PDF files).

For the worst to happen, every author of every paper published in a journal would have to self-archive the final publisher PDF file (or the publishers themselves would have to do it for the authors under mandates).

But would that be enough? Wouldn’t the permanence and stability of the digital repositories housing these postprints be of significant concern to libraries? If such repositories could not be trusted, then libraries would have to attempt to archive the postprints in question themselves; however, since postprints are not by default under copyright terms that would allow this to happen (e.g., they are not under Creative Commons Licenses), libraries may be barred from doing so. There are other issues as well: journal and issue browsing capabilities, the value-added services of indexing and abstracting services, and so on. For now, let’s wave our hands briskly and say that these are all tractable issues.

If the above problems were overcome, a significant one remains: publishers add value in many ways to scholarly articles. Would libraries let the existing system of journal publishing collapse because of self-archiving without a viable substitute for these value-added functions being in place?

There have been proposals for and experiments with overlay journals for some time, as well other ideas for new quality control strategies, but, to date, none have caught fire. Old-fashioned peer review, copy editing and fact checking, and publisher-based journal design and production still reign, even among the vast majority of e-journals that are not published by conventional publishers. In the Internet age, nothing technological stops tens of thousands of new e-journals using open source journal management software from blooming, but they haven’t so far, have they? Rather, if you use a liberal definition of open access, there are about 2,500 OA journals—a significant achievement; however, there are questions about the longevity of such journals if they are published by small non-conventional publishers such as groups of scholars (e.g., see "Free Electronic Refereed Journals: Getting Past the Arc of Enthusiasm"). Let’s face it—producing a journal is a lot of work, even a small journal that only publishes less than a hundred papers a year.

Bottom line: a perfect storm is not impossible, but it is unlikely.

Journal 2.0: PLoS ONE Beta Goes Live

The Public Library of Science has released a beta version of its innovative PLoS ONE journal.

Why innovative? First, it’s a multidisciplinary scientific journal, with published articles covering subjects that range from Biochemistry to Virology. Second, it’s a participative journal that allows registered users to annotate and initiate discussions about articles. Open commentary and peer-review have been previously implemented in some e-journals (e.g, see JIME: An Interactive Journal for Interactive Media), but PLoS ONE is the most visible of these efforts and, given PLoS’s reputation for excellence, it lends credibility to a concept that has yet to catch fire in the journal publishing world. A nice feature is the “Most Annotated” tab on the home page that highlights articles that have garnered reader commentary. Third, it’s an open access journal in the full sense of the term, with all articles under the least restrictive Creative Commons license, the Creative Commons Attribution License.

The beta site is a bit slow, probably due to significant interest, so expect some initial browsing delays.

Congratulations to PLoS on PLoS ONE. It’s journal worth keeping an eye on.

JSTOR to Offer Purchase of Articles by Individuals

Using a new purchase service, individuals will be able to purchase JSTOR articles for modest fees (currently $5.00 to $14.00) from publishers that participate in this service. JSTOR describes the service as follows:

An extension of JSTOR’s efforts to better serve scholars is a new article purchase service. This service is an opt-in program for JSTOR participating publishers and will enable them to sell single articles for immediate download. Researchers following direct links to articles will be presented with an option to purchase an article from the publisher if the publisher chooses to participate in this program and if the specific content requested is available through the program. The purchase option will only be presented if the user does not have access to the article. Prior to completing an article purchase users are prompted to first check the availability of the article through a local library or an institutional affiliation with JSTOR.

STARGATE Final Report and Tools

The STARGATE project has issued its final report. Here’s a brief summary of the project from the Executive Summary:

STARGATE (Static Repository Gateway and Toolkit) was funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and is intended to demonstrate the ease of use of the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) Static Repository technology, and the potential benefits offered to publishers in making their metadata available in this way This technology offers a simpler method of participating in many information discovery services than creating fully-fledged OAI-compliant repositories. It does this by allowing the infrastructure and technical support required to participate in OAI-based services to be shifted from the data provider (the journal) to a third party and allows a single third party gateway provider to provide intermediation for many data providers (journals).

To support the its work, the project developed tools and supporting documentation, which can be found below:

Under the Hood of PLoS ONE: The Open Source TOPAZ E-Publishing System

PLoS is building its innovative PLoS ONE e-journal, which will incorporate both traditional and open peer review, using the open source TOPAZ software. (For a detailed description of the PLoS ONE peer review process, check out "ONE for All: The Next Step for PLoS.")

What is TOPAZ? It’s Web site doesn’t provide specifics, but "PLoS ONE—Technical Background" by Richard Cave does:

The core of TOPAZ is a digital information repository called Fedora (Flexible Extensible Digital Object Repository Architecture). Fedora is an Open Source content management application that supports the creation and management of digital objects. The digital objects contain metadata to express internal and external relationships in the repository, like articles in a journal or the text, images and video of an article. This relationship metadata can also be search using a semantic web query languages. Fedora is jointly developed by Cornell University’s computer science department and the University of Virginia Libraries.

The metastore Kowari will be used with Fedora to support Resource Description Framework (RDF) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resource_Description_Framework metadata within the repository.

The PLoS ONE web interface will be built with AJAX. Client-side APIs will create the community features (e.g. annotations, discussion threads, ratings, etc.) for the website. As more new features are available on the TOPAZ architecture, we will launch them on PLoS ONE.

There was a TOPAZ Wiki at PLoS. It’s gone, but it’s pages are still cached by Google. The Wiki suggests that TOPAZ is likely to support Atom/RSS feeds, full-text search, and OAI-PMH among other possible features.

For information about other open source e-journal publishing systems, see "Open Source Software for Publishing E-Journals."

QuickTime Videos and PowerPoints from the Transforming Scholarly Communication Symposium

When I was chairing the Scholarly Communications Public Relations Task Force at the UH Libraries, the task force initiated a series of projects to increase awareness of key issues on the UH campus under the name "Transforming Scholarly Communication": a Website, a Weblog, and a symposium.

I’m pleased to announce that both the PowerPoint presentations and the QuickTime videos of the symposium speeches are now available. Thanks again to our speaker panel for participating in this event.

Ray English, Director of Libraries at Oberlin College and Chair of the SPARC Steering Committee, kicked things off with a talk on "The Crisis in Scholarly Communication" (PowerPoint, QuickTime Video, and "Sites and Cites for the Struggle: A Selective Scholarly Communication Bibliography").

Next, Corynne McSherry, Staff Attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation and author of Who Owns Academic Work?: Battling for Control of Intellectual Property, spoke on "Copyright in Cyberspace: Defending Fair Use" (PowerPoint and QuickTime Video).

Finally, Peter Suber, Research Professor of Philosophy at Earlham College, Senior Researcher at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Open Access Project Director at Public Knowledge, discussed "What Is Open Access?" (PowerPoint and QuickTime Video).

Rice University Press Publishes Its First Open Access Digital Document

The recently re-established Rice University Press, which was reborn as a digital press, has published its first e-report: Art History and Its Publications in the Electronic Age by Hilary Ballon (Professor and Director of Art Humanities at the Columbia University Department of Art History and Archaeology) and Mariet Westermann (Director and Professor at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University).

The introduction notes:

Just as we were finishing our report, Rice University Press announced that it would re-launch itself as a fully electronic press with a special commitment to art history. We were delighted to find Rice willing to partner with the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) to publish our report electronically, with the kinds of hyper-linking, response capability, and print-on-demand options we consider vital to the success of scholarly publication on line. At Rice University Press, Chuck Henry, Chuck Bearden, and Kathi Fletcher generously steered us through the technological and legal process. We received enthusiastic support at CLIR from Susan Perry, Michael Ann Holly, Kathlin Smith, and Ann Okerson.

Like all digital works to be published by the press, this one is under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 license. At this time, it does not appear that a print-on-demand version of the work is available from Rice University Press.

The Ohio State University Press Open Access Initiative

The Ohio State University Press is providing free access to over 30 out-of-print books that it has published as part of its open access initiative. Chapters and other book sections are provided as PDF files. The books remain under traditional copyright statements.

Examples include:

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 11: Other Digital Presses

Here are brief descriptions of eleven more digital university/library presses, bringing the total number of presses covered by this series of postings to 21.

  1. Clemson University Digital Press: "The Clemson University Digital Press was established in 2000 to exist within the college of Architecture, Arts, and Humanities at Clemson. . . . The press generally publishes two books per annum, in addition to maintaining its flagship journals, the semiannual South Carolina Review, and the annual Shakespeare journal, The Upstart Crow." (See the publication list.)
  2. EPIC: "The Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC) is a groundbreaking new initiative in digital publishing at Columbia University that involves Columbia University Press, the Libraries, and Academic Information Systems. Its mission is to create new kinds of scholarly and educational publications through the use of new media technologies in an integrated research and production environment. Working with the producers of intellectual property at Columbia University and other leading academic institutions, it aims to make these digital publications self-sustaining through subscription sales to institutions and individual users."
  3. eScholarship Repository: The eScholarship Repository publishes both journals and peer-reviewed series (see the publication list). eScholarship works in partnership with the University of California Press, which has an active digital publishing program. Notable efforts include eScholarship Editions, the University of California International and Area Studies Digital Collection, and University of California Publications.
  4. Digital Library and Archives, Virginia Tech University Libraries: "The Scholarly Communications Project (SCP) expanded its resources and services and merged with Special Collections to become the university’s Digital Library and Archives in July 2000. SCP began working with members of the university community in 1989 to help them create online resources such as electronic journals, and to use library services such as electronic reserve with its centralized access to online course materials." (See the journal list.)
  5. Praxis (e)Press: "Praxis (e)Press is an open access e-book publishing house located simultaneously at Okanagan University College, Vernon, and the University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada." (See the book list.)
  6. Project Euclid: "Project Euclid’s mission is to advance scholarly communication in the field of theoretical and applied mathematics and statistics. Project Euclid is designed to address the unique needs of low-cost independent and society journals. Through a collaborative partnership arrangement, these publishers join forces and participate in an online presence with advanced functionality, without sacrificing their intellectual or economic independence or commitment to low subscription prices. Full-text searching, reference linking, interoperability through the Open Archives Initiative, and long-term retention of data are all important components of the project." (See the journal list.)
  7. Project MUSE: "MUSE began in 1993 as a pioneering joint project of the Johns Hopkins University Press and the Milton S. Eisenhower Library at JHU. Grants from the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities allowed MUSE to go live with JHU Press journals in 1995. Journals from other publishers were first incorporated in 2000 . . . .Today, MUSE is still a not-for-profit collaboration between the participating publishers and MSEL, with the goal of disseminating quality scholarship via a sustainable model that meets the needs of both libraries and publishers." (See the journal list.)
  8. Rice University Press: "Using the open-source e-publishing platform Connexions, Rice University Press is returning from a decade-long hiatus to explore models of peer-reviewed scholarship for the 21st century. The technology offers authors a way to use multimedia—audio files, live hyperlinks or moving images—to craft dynamic scholarly arguments, and to publish on-demand original works in fields of study that are increasingly constrained by print publishing."
  9. Scholarly Publishing Office, University of Michigan Library: "The office supports the traditional constructs of journal and monographic publication in an online environment, as well as publishing scholarly work expressly designed for electronic delivery. . . . It is currently developing a set of services in journal, monograph and multimedia publishing in two related, but distinct, ways. It provides cost-effective services to all members of the campus community, as resources and capacity allow. It also actively recruits scholarly journals, monographs and projects of exceptionally high quality. . . . Among these are projects that draw on the significant digital collections already available at the University Library." (See the publications and projects list.)
  10. Sydney University Press: "Sydney University Press was restarted in 2003 as a digital and print ‘on demand’ publisher. . . .SUP draws on the digital library collection of the University of Sydney Library’s Scholarly Text and Image Service (SETIS). . . .SUP provides the ability to purchase a print copy of selected texts to anyone, anywhere. SUP has partnered with the Copyright Agency Ltd (CAL) to bring out-of-print Australian novels back into circulation. . . . SUP publishes new work based on teaching and research from the University of Sydney and other Australian academic institutions." (See the book list.)
  11. The University of Texas Houston Electronic Press: "The U.T. Houston Electronic Press exists to advance knowledge in the health sciences by electronically disseminating the results of scholarly activities for the furtherance of education, research and service. It is an open access digital resource."

Prior postings on this topic:

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 10: Parallel Press

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries’ Parallel Press publishes "print-on-demand books that parallel online publications, as well as chapbooks featuring the work of regional poets and UW historians." Many of the books are reprints of out-of-print works. It appears that the Parallel Press was established in 1998.

The relationship between the press and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries’ digital collections is described as follows:

While managed independently of the Parallel Press, the UW-Madison Libraries’ digital collections are inexorably linked with the press’ print-on-demand publishing operations as the original source of all reprinted material. If enough interest is shown, nearly any of these online resources could be the basis of a future Parallel Press print publication.

While the chapbooks are only available in low-cost print editions, the books have a freely available digital version. Examples of books include (links are to the digital versions):

Prior postings on this topic:

Open Access Update Web Page: New Aggregate Feed

The Blogdigger feed was not updating properly, and it has been deleted.

I’ve created a MySyndicaat Feedbot feed to replace it. The aggregate feed provides recent postings for the current week for selected Weblogs and other sources (currently 14 sources). The Open Access Update page’s feed has been switched to the MySyndicaat feed and the number of possible postings increased to 50. The MySyndicaat Feedbot Web page is now available as well.

Although the MySyndicaat Feedbot is set to the shortest update cycle, keep in mind that there are bound to be some feed update delays.

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 9: University of Cincinnati Digital Press

Established in 1995, the University of Cincinnati Digital Press is a service of the Digital Projects Department of the University of Cincinnati Libraries.

The mission of the University of Cincinnati Digital Press is described as follows:

The University of Cincinnati Digital Press is devoted to the electronic publication of original documentation of the Transmississippi West for use in research and instruction. The Press developed out of an effort to preserve special materials in the University Libraries and to increase their accessibility using new technologies. Collection strength and staff interest in Western Americana provided a subject focus for these efforts. The Libraries’ mission as well as staff experience and expertise in the requirements and technology of information access provided the concentration on collections of primary documentation. The Press came into being when it became clear that electronic publications resulting from these efforts would be of interest and use beyond the University of Cincinnati.

The press has two staff members, plus student assistants.

The press publishes both research publications and online publications.

Research publications are described as follows:

Research publications of the University of Cincinnati Digital Press are collections of primary documentation incorporating high resolution images, databases, texts, and supporting documentation with a software interface offering maximum opportunities for searching, examination, and analysis of the contents. The cataloging, organization, and electronic presentation of materials offers the means for comprehensive searching and detailed examination of a vast array of documentation from rare and often unique sources in widely separated collections.

The press distributes its research publications on CD-ROM for a fee, and it utilizes the locally developed Windows-based CUrator software, which has the following capabilities:

Individual items are displayed in multiple resolution images.

These images are incorporated into a database offering 85 fields for physical and bibliographic description as well as notes for all formats of materials.

Links can be made to associated documents in various formats including maps, charts and texts.

Database records are presented in several displays: list, brief record, full record, image contact sheet.

There are multiple searching capabilities: keyword, boolean, and geographic as well as filtering by format.

Searches can be conducted across multiple databases.

The software is easy to use and context sensitive online help is provided.

With the exception of monographs (partial contents accessible), online publications are freely available. They are categorized as bibliographies, exhibits, monographs, and Web sites.

For further information:

Kohl, David F. "Starting a Library-Based University Press." Reference Services Review 27, no. 1 (1999): 4-12. (Abstract)

Guernsey, Lisa. "Digital Presses Transform Librarians into Entrepreneurs." The Chronicle of Higher Education, 22 May 1998, A27-A28.

Also see the Articles & Reviews page.

Prior postings on this topic:

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 8: Monash University ePress

Established in 2003, the Monash University ePress publishes both digital scholarly books and journals, primarily in the humanities and social sciences. Some works are also available in print format via print-on-demand technology.

The aims of the press are to:

  • advance scholarly communication by reducing the costs of and barriers to scholarly publications
  • provide a more direct link between readers and writers of scholarly material
  • promote the best of Monash University’s research activities and intellectual capital
  • provide a sustainable electronic publishing model that facilitates the identification and pursuit of commercial opportunities
  • use innovative information technology to capture, publish, retrieve, read and present scholarly material
  • lead by example and provide a body of expertise within the university

The press, which charges for its publications, has a two-year embargo period after which materials are freely accessible; however, access may be through a different interface than paid content. The press issues digital documents in either or both HTML and PDF formats, depending on the publication. There is a time-limited pay per article/chapter option. Use of content by individuals is governed by a license agreement as is use by institutions.

Monash University ePress manager Michele Sabto outlines the economic model of the press as follows:

The ePress has also now moved towards a fee-for-service model that guarantees a minimum income from each title, underwritten by the author/journal editor. Basically it is a publication fee offset by sales income.

She further describes the involvement of the press in journal editorial functions as follows:

The ePress does not undertake the traditional publishing functions of copyediting or managing the submission and refereeing process: there are no inhouse journal editors or copyeditors. The academics editing the journals are responsible for managing these functions themselves, with support from the ePress that includes high-level editorial advice, an online submission and refereeing system, and assistance with scheduling and manuscript preparation to ePress specifications. The ePress produces proofs and takes in proof corrections, publishes online and in print and markets and sells the journals. The ePress doesn’t deal directly with authors of individual articles—the sole ePress contact for journals is the journal’s editor.

There two full-time staff members and a twelve-member advisory board that "advises on operational and strategic questions, but also makes the final call on the decision to publish particular titles."

The press currently publishes four journals:

  • Applied GIS, which is "an online peer-reviewed ejournal that publishes articles covering specific applications of GIS, demonstrating the deployment of spatial sciences in a wide range of environmental and social science contexts."
  • Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, which is "the journal of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia."
  • History Australia, which is "the official journal of the Australian Historical Association (AHA), a professional association of historians in Australia which links practitioners in universities and schools with those in museums, galleries and the heritage industry."
  • Monash Business Review, which "publishes the latest thinking and research from leading Australian and international academics and business executives, and identifies major trends influencing and shaping business."

It also publishes four books:

For further information, see "A University ePress" by Michele Sabto or the "About Monash University ePress" Web page.

Prior postings on this topic:

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 7: HighWire Press

Established in 1995, Stanford University Libraries’ HighWire Press publishes over 967 journals in digital form, with more planned for future release. Working with scientific societies and other partners, the press focuses on producing high-impact STM (science, technology, and medicine) digital journals. It makes a significant portion of the articles it publishes freely available:

As of 8/30/06, we are assisting in the online publication of 1,403,007 free full-text articles and 3,648,630 total articles. There are 22 sites with free trial periods, and 34 completely free sites. 223 sites have free back issues, and 851 sites have pay per view!

The press provides sophisticated digital publishing services:

Under the guidance of its publishing partners, HighWire’s approach to online publishing of scholarly journals is not simply to mount electronic images of printed pages; rather, by adding links among authors, articles and citations, advanced searching capabilities, high-resolution images and multimedia, and interactivity, the electronic versions provide added dimensions to the information provided in the printed journals.

More information about these digital publishing services is available, such as the Web page about journal hosting services and the Bench>Press Web page.

The My HighWire Press page offers registered users a wide variety of customized journal access features, such as a favorite journals page and e-mail or RSS table of contents alerts.

Headed by Michael A. Keller, the press has a large staff, which appears to include a significant number of dog owners.

Given its long history and its success, a number of articles have been written about the HighWire Press.

Prior postings on this topic:

Digital University/Library Presses, Part 6: UTSePress

Established in January 2004, the University of Technology, Sydney’s UTSePress publishes e-journals and conference proceedings. The university’s DSpace institutional repository is also under the UTSePress.

There is a Steering Group whose role is to:

  1. Establish the scope of UTSePress, making recommendations on organisational structure including the terms of reference and composition of the UTSePress Board.
  2. Take steps to protect the name UTSePress, relevant Internet domains and any associated intellectual property.
  3. Develop the initial guidelines for the operation of UTSePress including the criteria for approval of imprints and publications.
  4. Identify the initial imprints and publications of UTSePress.
  5. Guide the first phase of the development of the infrastructure for UTSePress including the establishment of the Technical Committee.
  6. Make any other necessary recommendations for the future operation and development of UTSePress.

The UTSePress uses Open Journal Systems to publish five e-journals:

  • African Journal of Information & Communication Technology, which is "an international journal providing a publication vehicle for coverage of topics of interest to those involved in computing, communication networks, electronic communications, information technology systems and Bioinformatics." It is peer reviewed.
  • Portal Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, which is "a fully peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the publishing of scholarly articles from practitioners of international, regional, area, migration and ethnic studies, and it is also dedicated to providing a space for the work of cultural producers interested in the internationalization of cultures."
  • Public History Review, which "is concerned with nature and forms of public history: with ideas as to what constitutes the ‘public’ in history making, with the means by which history is communicated to a range of audiences and with the ways in which the past operates in the present." It is peer reviewed.
  • Transforming Cultures eJournal, which is "a journal for the study of cultural and social transformations." It is peer reviewed.
  • Unscrunched, which "publishes writing from students in the Writing and Cultural Studies Area of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney."

The copyright statements for these e-journals vary. The most common one says:

Authors submitting a paper to UTSePress publications agree to assign a limited license to UTSePress if and when the manuscript is accepted for publication. This license allows UTSePress to publish a manuscript in a given issue.

Articles published by UTSePress are protected by copyright which is retained by the authors who assert their moral rights. Authors control translation and reproduction rights to their works published by UTSePress.

UTSePress publications are copyright and all rights are reserved worldwide. Downloads of specific portions of them are permitted for personal use only, not for commercial use or resale. Permissions to reprint or use any materials should be directed to UTSePress.

The UTSePress has published one conference proceeding: International Conference on Wireless Broadband and Ultra Wideband Communications. It appears that Open Conference Systems is being used to support this function.

These documents provide further information about the UTSePress: (1) "UTSePress Breaks Boundaries in Online Publishing" (press release) and (2) "UTSePress: UTS Advancing Scholarly Publication."

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Digital University/Library Presses, Part 5: Internet-First University Press

Established in January 2004, Cornell University’s Internet-First University Press is described as follows:

These materials are being published as part of a new approach to scholarly publishing. The manuscripts and videos are freely available from this Internet-First University Press repository within DSpace at Cornell University.

These online materials are available on an open access basis, without fees or restrictions on personal use. All mass reproduction, even for educational or not-for-profit use, requires permission and license.

There are Internet-First University Press DSpace collections for books and articles, multimedia and videos, and undergraduate scholarly publications. There is a print-on-demand option for books and articles.

There are DSpace sub-communities for journals and symposia, workshops, and conferences. One e-journal is published by Internet-First University Press, the CIGR E-Journal (most current volume dated 2005). A print journal, Engineering Quarterly, has been digitized and made available.

There appears to be no further information about the Internet-First University Press at its DSpace site; however, the "Internet-First Publishing Project at Cornell Offers New and Old Books Free Online or to Be Printed on Demand" press release provides further background information.

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Digital University/Library Presses, Part 4: Singapore E-Press

Launched in September 2004, the Singapore E-Press is part of National University of Singapore Publishing. It "aims to provide a platform for online, open-access publications from Singapore-based research teams."

Using Open Journal Systems for many of its publications, the Singapore E-Press publishes electronic journals, supplemental material to books, and reference material.

The current publications of the press are:

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Digital University/Library Presses, Part 3: Newfound Press

The editorial policy of the Newfound Press states that:

Newfound Press is a digital imprint of the University of Tennessee Libraries. The purpose of Newfound Press is to advance the frontiers of learning by providing peer-reviewed, open access to theoretical, intellectual, practical, and scholarly works in all disciplines, encompassing scientific research, humanistic scholarship, and artistic creation. Newfound Press invests in authors the responsibility for appearance and format of the content. The audience for Newfound Press publications includes researchers, practitioners, students, and other scholars in virtually any subject.

The Newfound Press publishes books, journals, and multimedia. It provides authors with submission guidelines for various types of works as well as an FAQ. It has an Advisory Board.

The Newfound Press Web site doesn’t indicate when it was established, but appears from an Open Access News posting that it was launched in March 2006. So far, it has published a digital book.

Copyright statements for works are mandatory, and they "should include a statement of ownership, an invitation to reproduce content under certain conditions, and a warning about possible infringements." The Newfound Press provides potential authors with sample license language and a link to the Creative Commons Web site.

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Digital University/Library Presses, Part 2: Linköping University Electronic Press

The Linköping University Electronic Press publishes freely available digital conference proceedings, databases, journals, series, reports, and theses. It was established in 1996. As of April 2004, the E-Press became "an independent department within Linköping University Library." The E-Press has five staff members. There is an E-Press Governing Board.

Conference proceedings, journals, series, and reports have editors. The journals are peer reviewed. Two out of four journals appear to have ceased publication. A "news journal" that was related to one of the peer-reviewed journals also appears to be inactive. The other digital publishing programs (e.g., conference proceedings and series) are active. The E-Press ensures the Internet availability of works for at least 25 years after publication. Instructions for how to publish works in the E-Press are available, including how to start new conference proceedings, journals, and series. Site-wide use statistics are available.

Authors sign publishing agreements and retain their copyrights. In accordance with its copyright polices, the E-Press permits specified uses of its works:

  • To read and/or download LiU E-Press papers on-line, without restrictions.
  • To make single printouts of LiU E-Press papers for your own use in research, teaching, or otherwise.
  • To hand over a single printout of an LiU E-Press paper to a colleague in the course of work.
  • To quote short passages in an LiU E-Press paper, as well as the abstract, in order to describe, summarise, or argue against what is said there.
  • To download images, diagrams or cartoons on-line for personal use (i.e. not to spread it to other persons or on homepages).

It’s worth noting that Electronic Transactions on Artificial Intelligence, which appears to have ceased publication, used an innovative peer-review procedure:

  • Open reviewing during three months, where the article is advertised to the community of researchers in its specialized area, and a public, on-line discussion is organized about its contents.
  • Confidential refereeing after the open reviewing period has concluded. Here, leading researchers in the specialized area of the article weigh the article as well as the review discussion and decide whether or not to accept the article.

For more information on the Linköping University Electronic Press, see the FAQ.

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