Just before he accepted a Nobel Prize in December for his work exploring how cells regulate and transport proteins, UC Berkeley professor Randy Schekman penned an indictment in the pages of UK newspaper The Guardian criticizing the role of what he calls the “luxury journals” – Nature, Cell, and Science in particular – for damaging science by promoting flashy or controversial papers over careful scientific research. Library Journal spoke with Schekman, who also edits the open-access journal eLife, about what he sees wrong with academic publishing today, and how it can be fixed.
For an industry pronounced dead repeatedly for at least a decade or more, traditional publishing—and its digital-first counterparts, which might not be so different after all—belied the grim reapers, with innumerable launches and new models that indicated it was alive and well in 2013. Since its inception in July, this column chronicled some of that growth. October and November brought a handful of announcements, including one aimed squarely at public libraries: Skyhorse Publishing’s Carrel Books, set to release its initial list of 20 to 30 titles in both print and ebook in fall 2014.
When Amherst College opens its first press early next year, the open access publication will publish its entire catalog in digital editions first. Following a growing trend, the press will also be a new arm of Amherst’s library, and Mark Edington will be at its helm, the college announced on December 6. He will start January 1, 2014. Currently the director of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory, Edington comes from a diverse work background, encompassing everything from editorial work at the journal Daedalus to social entrepreneurship. Library Journal caught up with Edington to talk about the new model Amherst is pursuing, the opportunities it opens up in the publishing world, and the challenges of presenting scholarly work for free while staying sustainable.
According to a new analysis released in October by ProQuest affiliate Bowker, the ISBN agency, self-publishing continued its growth spurt, up 59 percent in 2012 over 2011, from 246,912 titles to 391,768. The gains were even more startling over the longer period for which Bowker collected data: a 422 percent rise since 2007.
Vendor relations are a mixed bag. They can range from mutual respect and support to contempt and contentiousness. Academic librarians need to exchange experiences and information, but it will really help if someone is listening.
When Purdue University Press was brought under the wing of the university’s library in 2009, it was a marriage of necessity, brought on by the flagging financial fortunes of the press. Since being absorbed into the library in 2009, the press has moved from reporting to library administrators to participating in planning with them, said Dean of Libraries James Mullins at a recent conference sponsored by education non-profit Ithaka. Purdue is one of a growing number of universities and colleges across the country where the in-house press and library are working more closely together, offering a glimpse into the possible future of academic publishing.
Rowman & Littlefield International, the newly minted London-based partner of the American publishing company, is hoping to build a streamlined new publishing platform that can focus on quick turnarounds to respond to modern issues faster than traditional presses. With its inaugural volume, scholar Sean Gaston’s The Concept of World from Kant to Derrida, out the door earlier this month, we caught up with CEO Oliver Gadsby to explore how the new imprint plans to carve out a space for its authors by taking advantage of disruptions in publishing, and maybe cause a few of its own along the way.
As more and more countries embrace policies that drive government funded research into Open Access publishing, an Open Access standard in the future is looking less like a possibility and more like an inevitability. But in a paper released earlier this week, Dr. Richard Wellen of York University, Toronto, argues that an Open Access future in practice could be very different from what it looks like on paper.
Ebook distribution to libraries took another leap forward on October 17 when Baker & Taylor, OverDrive, 3M, and RBDigital (Recorded Books) told their customers that Macmillan’s entire ebook backlist, 11,000 titles from lead imprints St. Martin’s, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Henry Holt, Macmillan Children’s, and Tor, would now be available to their patrons.