Digital Publishing in the University Press Mission, Part II: Outside Players

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Digital Publishing in the University Press Mission, Part II: Outside Players

Mark Saunders (UVA), Peter Potter (Cornell), Rebecca Simon (U. California), Martha Nell Smith (U. Maryland) • Download discussants' talks (.pdf): Peter Potter, Cornell University Press; Mark Saunders, University of Virginia Press

What will university press of the future look like?

- hard choices to be made about format we publish in--based on production values/cost or on market considerations?

- collaborate more with other players in scholarly communication--authors, libraries, other on-campus institutions

- need to negotiate with and respect differing institutional cultures and economies: tenure/promotion, grant funding, market

- need to consider distinction between print inventory management and digital publishing

--- inventory management: how to use digital technologies to manage print inventories (short-run, print-on-demand, print-to-order); not a question of major workflow re-engineering

--- digital publishing: delivery of content via web or e-books (netLibrary, ebrary, etc.; direct delivery via press-sponsored digital platforms such as Anthrosource, Oxford Scholarship Online)

- direct delivery is where collaboration becomes essential among libraries, scholarly associations, incubators such as IATH (Institute for Advanced Technology in Humanities), MITH (Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities)--these help authors build their digital-publishing projects, so that what comes in to the press has the attributes needed for good digital product

- Rotunda digital imprint at UVA Press has various projects, e.g., U.S. founding-era documentary editions licensed from various sources, 19th-century manuscript collections


Peter Potter (Cornell; formerly Penn State)

Press - Library collaboration, hypothetical way for it to happen

- Press and library as true partners on campus

- press publishes wide range of types of works, in wide range of formats, in collaboration with library

- current model for publishing monographs has run its course

- monograph itself has not outlived its usefulness

- from press's side

--- several different tracks for publications: general, non-scholarly interest (will still sell in print form); academic books that can still break even or come close in print; academic books in fields that (foreign language lit, Latin America, Early Modern Europe, etc.)

--- books in third group published online with POD as needed, to save up-front and inventory costs--basically straightforward monographs, so not really enhanced with hyperlink technology.


library would bear technical costs for online, press bears editorial, sales, fulfillment costs
helps libraries by reducing acquisitions costs, an keep things within the institution or group of institutions
long-term prospect of acquisition budgets leveling off and shifting from commercial houses to nonprofit, scholarly houses

- different institutions could handle different areas to take on for offering infrastructure for online publication of books in certain fields

--- increased access to online content around the world

--- more tech infrastructure needs to be in place; tools available as open-source (gradually being built)

- scenario isn't so far from the past, with libraries acquiring materials from presses, but more collaboration: libraries need presses for content, presses need libraries for infrastructure and technology


Rebecca Simon (U Calif Press) American Anthropological Association contribution on Anthrosource project

- vision of Anthrosource: become indispensable resource for anthropologists; venue for global communities of anthropology

- Partnership between UCPress, AAA, Mellon foundation, and Atypon sytems (tech. base)

- possible model for future collaborations between presses and scholarly associations

- assoiation knows the needs of scholars, research and teaching needs, and publisher of many materials in the field

- why partner?

--- AAA difficulty in meeting digital publishing needs on its own--a necessary but daunting task

--- UCPress had expertise in both print and digital, scale, flexibility, marketing experience

--- libraries having difficulty affording both print and digital materials

- archive of all AAA peer reviewed materials, current content of journals, seamless access to journals already in JSTOR

- will come to include catalog and finding tools, dissertations, audio files, field notes, images, content from other publishers

- powerful search capability across all content or subsets

- personalization (saved searches, citation tracking)

- comprehensive referencing

- library-friendly

--- simple account system

--- real-time usage stats

--- integration with library system

--- hosted worldwide for good performance online

--- long-term preservation

- annual subscription in three pricing tiers (abo $1,100 through about $400)

- one-stop shopping for anthropological content

- informed by anthropologists' working habits

- is the model scalable for other presses?

--- depends on the parties involved, naturally: expectations, timetables, ability to work together, problem resolution, benchmarks agreed upon

--- mainly , need to ask "is this a good match?" e.g., AAA wanted a nonprofit organization to work with

--- have found need to balance the traditional revenue-generating model of publishing with the push from scholars for open access

--- need to have principal goals match--e.g., for AAA and UCP, main goal was side dissemination and access of information


Martha Nell Smith (presentation delivered by Mark Saunders) Evolutions of the Dickinson Electronic Archives Project

- progenitor of the Dickinson correspondence project to be published online by Rotunda

- various collaborators: IATH, MITH, Rotunda, UVA Press, Harvard U. Press, Harvard U. Libraries, Amherst College Library, Boston Public Library

- original goals: make visible Emily Dickinson's manuscripts, which are much discussed

--- 1st edition planned to have original ms material in 4 bodies of material from Dicknson ms corpus

--- then added three more bodies of material, including facsimiles of printed materials

- question became "how to publish?" university press? commercial press? libraries? combination of the above? NINES project? (www.nines.org; scholar-driven open-access project)

- why use UVA Press's Rotunda?

--- collaboration with author and on design and permissions issues

--- extensive peer review, on both content and technical levels

--- these are areas that univ presses can emphasize when showing their institutions what value they can add

- editorial philosophy of M. N. Smith: abandon "priestly" model of definitive claim to comprehensiveness and correctness

--- electronic media / web allows this to greater extent than print

--- copyright/permissions hurdles turned the edition into a critical, not comprehensive, one; had to abandon a considerable amount of material for the project

- the resulting "refinement" of the project exemplifies a shift away from "priestly" model, which claims:

--- new editorial methods: an author's work doesn't need to be normalized from a single viewpoint

--- multiple authorities can be included

--- scholarly editions aren't so much collections as genealogical markers of understanding of the field

--- users can benefit from exposure to the details of judgment from varying perspectives

--- collaborative ideals of publishing can yield richer scholarship, new ideas and approaches

-question for Rebecca: what determines whether a society will engage with a univ press rather than with a commercial publisher for more money?

--- AAA was concerned about avoiding privatization of their scholarship--they see themselves as stewards of many years of past scholarship

question: all the talk about "Web 2.0" and presentation of varying viewpoints as an advantage for scholarship...but what then happens to the notion of authoritative texts existing at all? are we in danger of losing view of what does constitute good scholarship?

--- from Rotunda experience: originally funded by Mellon Fndtn and UVA; presses bring good peer-review process to the table. Can expand the idea of what constitutes an authoritative edition, but will still filter

--- need to see peer review process in a new light

--- online peer review: Nature

- Question: tenure and promotion process--how does new collaborative model fit in with those processes? what is happening so far on this front?

--- at MLA, for example, they are in process of reviewing tenure/promotion system, in response partly to decline of monograph publication opportunities

--- presses need to be aware of what changes are happening, and inform decisions that way; can also push as well as respond

--- a problem is that the nature of the monograph (sustained argument/narrative) doesn't lend itself well to online reading, but the monograph will stay with us, so how to publish it economically? we can't dictate how arguments should be structured, but, eg., can say to use the meat of the material in the book, and put the extra stuff up online

--- on Amazon, can buy ProQuest dissertations

- Question: skeptical about claims of fundamental epistemological newness of model described in Dicknson project presentation--most scholars wuld claim the same about not working in the priestly model. Also: much of the online projects turn on primary documents, but much of what presses do is argument, analysis, theory, not so much necessarily about facts

--- Rotunda discovered that original setup to publish original digital scholarship in the humanities (critical, interpretive, etc.), but hard to find enough of that out there to susteain publishing program, but even more, the foundation of primary material wasn't there to allow for interpretive material to interact with it

--- it is still early to know whether digital/online formats can facilitate scholarship that might not have been possible before

Comment: Ed Ayers Civil War project ("In the Presence of Mine Enemies") was made possible by digitization of Civil War materials (Valley of the Shadow database)

--- article by Ayers and Will Thomas "The Differences Slavery Made[1]" (American Historical Review) tried to show what you can do with original digital scholarship, and what would an article that interacted with digital archive look like?

--- some ideas about online book series that would truly interact with the Valley of the Shadow database

Comment: from journal side, peer review isn't everything--there can be different ways of evaluating content and commenting on work (linkages, citation analysis, etc.). On book side, look at the work coming out of eg., Inst of the Future of the Book (California), looking at new forms of narrative, more participatory material; bok expanding into different forms

--- in Anthrosource, member portal feature has communities of interests being set up in various fields of interest, which may evolve into sorts of new journals, but wouldn't be forced into that

Comment: an unexamined aspect of the web, notable from web log statistics, is that it's fact-based interaction: people coming in looking for a specific fact based on one or two keywords. Web seems to be pushing us back from emphasis on ideas and synthesis/analysis to focus on facts.

--- counter by Potter: the access to facts opens up opportunities for many ways of getting at the information, and interpretive work needs to be built on that

--- Saunders: librarians say that people are looking for info on the web, but then moving to print for the interpretation; at Rotunda, experience is that you have to put up the mass of information, so user can find the raw information, but then what you do next is lacking online still at this stage.

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