The OSU Libraries’ Publishing Program grew up as an extension of the Knowledge Bank, our repository program, and the two continue to share quite a bit. Some of those intersections, like a common platform (DSpace, used to publish some of our journals) and shared staff, are a benefit to both programs. In other cases, we have carried over something from the repository side that maybe isn’t the best fit for publishing. I came across one of those recently when I realized that the Knowledge Bank license agreement, which we had been using as an author agreement for our journals, didn’t include some provisions that are important to journal publishing. As an example, there is nothing in our KB license that would give the journal the right to contribute the article to a subject database for full-text indexing and discovery. When one of our editors was contacted by an indexing service, asking to index the full text of their journal, I had to sheepishly tell them that, while the risk was very low, they would most likely be infringing their authors’ copyright in doing so. It was also unclear who the licensee should be – is the author granting rights to the OSU Libraries? To the journal? As the license was adapted for various publications, the licensee morphed until we had a confusing – and embarrassing – variety.
To cut through the confusion and make sure our rights agreements were working for all parties, I worked with Sandra Enimil, Head of the Copyright Resources Center, and Maureen Walsh, the head of the Knowledge Bank program, to develop a standard author agreement. After multiple rounds of revisions and review by university legal counsel, we finally have a template that we’re all happy with. The agreement is intended to be modular, with sections that can be added or removed to support various licensing arrangements (like Creative Commons) and submission procedures (like the first part, about it taking effect upon acceptance). I would also emphasize that it’s not intended to be one-size-fits-all, even with the modularity, and we fully expect that individual journals – and occasionally even individual articles – will require modifications. For example, I just helped a student journal adapt it to include both the author’s acceptance and their advisor’s, and I worked with the editor of another journal (and Sandra, who is probably getting tired of me by now) to add a provision for an author who wanted to exempt the images in her submission from the Creative Commons license that was applied to the text.
Because I’m sure we’re not the only ones to struggle in this area, I wanted to share the agreement here. Please feel free to adopt, adapt, or draw from it.
We’ve been busy here at the Libraries’ Publishing Program! In addition to rolling out our new conference publishing service, we have been devising a more robust strategy for journal publishing that divides publications into three ‘categories,’ depending on their needs. Read on or visit our newly revamped website for more information.
The Libraries have been offering journal publishing services to members of the OSU community for several years, through the Knowledge Bank and on our Open Journal Systems platform. The journals we support are a diverse bunch, but all of them are born-digital and open access – meaning they are freely available online to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world. Continue reading
The Libraries publishing program is introducing a new service to the OSU community – conference publishing. We will work with OSU faculty, staff, and students as they organize academic conferences on campus to increase the impact of the conference scholarship. The end result will vary based on the needs and goals of the conference organizers, but could include an open archive of presentations in the Knowledge Bank, or a formal, online proceedings. This is an important strategic initiative for the Libraries, and will provide a valuable service to conference organizers on campus.
Currently, conference organizers at OSU have few tools for building conference websites, accepting and reviewing submissions, and posting the scholarship online. To help address this gap, the publishing program was tasked by library leadership with investigating the possibility of providing conference publishing services to the campus community. This post shares the results of our pilot project and our plans for going forward.
I recently heard a marvelous presentation by Melanie Schlosser, OSU’s Digital Publishing Librarian, where she raised the question of why libraries, particularly research libraries, are offering publishing services. I had forgotten that this was a key question I discussed with leaders of library publishing programs in 2007 as part of a study I was conducting for the Association of Research Libraries. At the time, I was surprised by the trend of the answers I got. Over and over again, librarians told me something like, “faculty came to us and said, ‘I need a publisher and the library is the obvious place on campus to provide this service.’” As an outsider to library publishing at the time, I was expecting to hear founder stories of advocacy, of librarians chanting, “if we build it, they will come.” Instead, it seems we were advocating for moderation in journal prices, building repositories, and talking about open access, and along the way our colleagues said, “Yes, yes, but what I really need is a library publishing program.”
I think this is an important element of why library publishing programs like OSU’s are attracting more and more partners. Publishing isn’t something we do just because we think we should; it reflects some very real and important gaps in the landscape of publishing options for scholars and researchers. These gapsmatch our mission and capabilities. Yet, what our partners want from us is not what they can get from traditional publishers. University presses, scholarly societies, and even commercial publishers are meeting many publishing needs, but there are more and more gaps in that arguably mature ecosystem. Cheap, light-weight, and broadly accessible is one niche that has opened wide in the digital age. The demand for profits or at least “repurposable revenue” threatens valuable, but not commercially viable, scholarship with extinction. Libraries and their universities are grasping the opportunities this situation presents. The value of research and scholarly publications is largely created by their authors. Where libraries can provide a small set of necessary services (manuscript handling tools, layout tools, digital publishing platforms, etc.), they find partners eager to apply them to the fundamental work of scholarship – disseminating new knowledge.
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…