The OSU Libraries has supported a digital publishing program since 2007, focused mainly on open access journal publishing. (Disability Studies Quarterly was our flagship publication, and the Society for Disability Studies has continued to be a valued partner.) When I took over the management of the program last January, however, it was with the understanding that expanding it had become a strategic priority for the Libraries. For the past year, the program team has engaged heavily in planning, investigating, formulating recommendations, and recruiting partners. In the process, we have learned quite a bit about library publishing and about the need for scholarly publishing support at OSU.

Keep reading to learn more about this series…


At the recent Digital Library Federation Forum in Denver, I was excited to hear a keynote address by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the Director of Scholarly Communication for the Modern Language Association, and author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy. Planned Obsolescence was first made available on MediaCommons Press in draft form, and underwent a form of open peer review as readers commented on the text. The content of her keynote address was mostly familiar to me, but as I listened, I found myself inspired to think of ways that I could follow her courageous example and make my own work more open. In what areas was I willing to risk the anxiety of sharing unfinished work to gain the benefits of community engagement?

According to a recent survey of ARL member libraries, more than 3/4 of them either have a publishing program or are planning to start one.* There are a few programs – MPublishing at the University of Michigan, for example – that are very well established. The vast majority, however, are smaller or newer – in other words, a lot like ours. It is inevitable that many of them are struggling with the same issues that we are. The opportunity to share our hard-won wisdom and learn from theirs is too good to pass up. To that end, I have decided to describe the program development work we are doing in a series of posts to the Libraries’ new Digital Scholarship blog.

What to expect

I am hoping to publish once or twice per month. Post topics will include publishing formats, copyright, citation permanence, service models, conference publishing, and more. Some ideas will be better developed than others, depending on where we are in our program work. I am hoping to eventually pull together a polished version of this content into a journal article, so the posts should be considered drafts and work-in-progress. Comments, questions, and other responses are very welcome.


* Mullins, James L, et al. “Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success: Final Research Report.” Purdue University Press E-Books, 2012.