Navigating the Political Waters of Open Access Publishing in Libraries

OA version of book chapter. 



“In recent years, many libraries have forayed into the world of open access (OA) publishing. While it marks a major shift in the mission of libraries to move from providing access to content to generating and creating content ourselves, it still involves the same basic values regarding access to information. The environment has changed, and libraries are adapting with new approaches and new staff skills to promote these fundamental values. The authors selected nineteen libraries and conducted phone interviews with a specific list of questions, encouraging discussion about how each library approached being a publisher. This chapter examines the politics and issues involved, and makes recommendations for defining our roles in this new territory. The authors highlight the approaches various libraries have taken—and the challenges faced—in selecting a platform, writing a business plan, planning for preservation, educating researchers about OA publishing, working with a university press, marketing, and navigating staff training issues. The chapter concludes with recommendations for areas of focus and future research.”



Borchert, Carol Ann, Charlene N Simser, and Wendy C Robertson. 2016. “Navigating the Political Waters of Open Access Publishing in Libraries.” In Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Communication: Policy and Infrastructure, ed. Smith, Kevin L, and Katherine A Dickson.137–60. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield

Checklist for the Publication of Open Access Journals at Research Institutions | hc:14603 | Humanities CORE

“Research institutions increasingly act as supporting organisations and service providers for scholarly publications. Professional publishing of Open Access journals is possible without recourse to commercial suppliers by means of the internet and free software. This requires basic know how which is presented in form of this checklist. Over the past few years many research institutions have begun to establish advisory services that may be consulted in addition to this checklist. Occasionally they even offer technical infrastructures that enable editors to focus on content and quality of their journals. At the same time this checklist may act as supplementary material for consulting sessions that research services (libraries, university publishers …) offer to editors.”

KU Libraries publish first open textbook | Libraries

“KU Libraries and the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright continue their commitment to open educational resources (OER) by publishing Dr. Razi Ahmad’s open textbook entitled, ‘Tajik Persian: Readings in history, culture and society.’ This book is available through KU ScholarWorks, KU’s open access digital repository, and is also indexed in the Open Textbook Library, a free online collection of more than 360 openly licensed textbooks curated by the University of Minnesota based Open Textbook Network.

‘It has been a great experience working with all the library faculty and staff who helped me on this project,’ said Ahmad. ‘Tajik is one of the critical languages for which there exist very limited pedagogical materials for elementary and intermediate-level and virtually negligible for the advanced-level students. ‘Tajik Persian: Readings in history, culture and society’ is a modest attempt to provide instructors and students free of cost advanced-level textbook that can be used as the primary or supplementary material in classrooms.’ 

Currently, ‘Tajik Persian: Readings in history, culture and society’ has more than 141 views from nine countries.”

Associate Executive Director, Publishing job with American Library Association | 350812

“The American Library Association (ALA), the oldest, largest and most influential library association in the world is seeking an Associate Executive Director (AED) Publishing, to head our Publishing Department….

ALA is looking for a leader who will take part in if not lead discussions that are going to be complex, but necessary, given the changing publishing market, the rise of library publishing in the academic sphere, and the librarian-led movement toward the use of open educational resources, including open textbooks, in the LIS pre-service and continuing professional education markets….”


The Once and Future Publishing Library — Council on Library and Information Resources

“The report explores the revitalization of library publishing and its possible future, and examines elements that influence the success and sustainability of library publishing initiatives.

The authors trace the history of library publishing and factors that have transformed the publishing landscape, and describe several significant library-press collaborations forged over the past two decades. Authors include results of a survey they conducted to better understand how current library publishing initiatives are supported financially. They conclude with a series of observations about the range of publishing initiatives in American academic libraries.

The report was funded by a grant from The Goodall Family Charitable Foundation….”

A New Information Management Landscape: From Outside-In to Inside-Out | New Roles for the Road Ahead:

“While institutional repositories are now a routine feature of academic libraries, there is ongoing discussion about purpose and scope, incentives for researchers to deposit, and their role within ‘green’ open access. This is not the place for a full treatment, but a couple of points are worth making. First, while most repositories are home to versions of research papers, scope varies across institutions. For example, some repositories may take a ‘campus bibliography’ approach, including links to publisher splash pages. Some repositories may include other categories of material, institutional records or archival materials, for example. Given the lack of standard methods for designating material types and rights information this may make it difficult for an aggregator of repository content to distinguish scholarly material or to determine allowable actions. Second, there is a close connection between repositories and national education and science policy regimes, so the dynamic of development has been differently influenced in different regimes. For example, where there are national research assessment programs in place, institutional interest in repositories may be higher (MacColl, 2010). Shifts in US federal policy with regard to research funding and access to outcomes will have an impact here resulting in a more organized approach to research information management and disclosure….”

The Library as Publishing House

“The academic library has taken on the new role of institutional publishing house, using institutional repository (IR) services to enable journal publishing and manage conference planning. Librarians taking on this new role as publisher must know the journal publishing work flow, including online article submission, peer review, publishing, marketing, and assessment. They must understand international identifiers such as the electronic International Standard Serial Number (eISSN) and Digital Object Identifier (DOI). To manage conference planning functions, librarians need to understand event functions such as presentation submission, program scheduling, registration and third-party payment systems, proceedings publishing, and archiving. In general, they need to be technologically savvy enough to configure and manage a specialized content management system, the institutional repository….”

Growing the Vision: Next Steps for Open Access Library Publishing | Shawn Martin

“I will be speaking at the IFLA Satellite Meeting for the program Libraries as Publishers: Building a Global Community.  It will take place August 10-12, 2016, in Ann Arbor, Michigan and is sponsored by the IFLA Section on Acquisition and Collection Development, along with Serials and Other Continuing Resources. Here is the proposal: How can (or should) institutional repositories, disciplinary websites, data warehouses, and other open access repositories form part of a larger strategy for library publishing?  In the age of linked data and the semantic web, open access repositories might seem to be the first step toward solving a much larger problem, namely, creating a research management infrastructure that helps to assess the impact, productivity, and use of resources online.   Yet, the answer to how library publishing units should accomplish linking research management practices and open access publishing mechanisms remains elusive. There are two ways of trying to achieve the solution.  First, libraries need to implement new pieces of infrastructure that help to manage research.  Examples might include commercial products like Symplectic Elements –, profiling systems like VIVO – , research ID systems like ORCID –, or discoverability services like SHARE –  Second, and, more important, however, are the open access policies that govern research management on campus.  Mandates like those at Harvard and MIT are often catalysts for creation of infrastructure, and universities may need to create new policies in order to facilitate better research management …”


[From the Executive Summary]  “This!report,!prepared for SPARC!Europe, sketches!the!landscape!of!university+based!not+for+ profit! publishing! in! Europe! with! a! primary! focus! on! open! access! publishing! of! journals.! It! provides! a! view! of!the! different! types! of! initiatives! in! terms! of!their!size,! operational! and! business! models,! technologies! used,! stakeholder! involvement,! concentration! of! scientific! fields,! growth,! as! well! as! regional! characteristics and! recommendations! for! SPARC! Europe! and!DOAJ.! The! report! attests! to! a rich! and! continuously! evolving! ecology! of! open! access! publishing! initiatives! in! universities! in! Europe! and! elsewhere …”

Library support for open access journal publishing: a needs analysis

Abstract: The aim of this study was to establish the role of academic libraries in the context of open access (OA) journal publishing, based on the perceived needs of the journals and/or their editors. As a study sample, 14 OA journals affiliated to the University of Zürich, Switzerland, were taken. They were very different in nature, ranging from well-established society journals to newly founded titles launched by dedicated individuals. The study comprised two approaches: a comprehensive journal assessment and subsequent editor interviews. The journal assessments evaluated the functionalities, ease of use, sustainability and visibility of the journal. The interviews were used to get additional background information about the journals and explore editors’ needs, experiences and viewpoints. The results show that journals affiliated to publishing houses or libraries are technically well provided for. Unaffiliated journals offer fewer functionalities and display some unconventional features, often described as innovations by the editors. More resources – financial or human – is seen by nearly all editors as the most pressing need and as a limitation to growth. In comparison, IT/technical needs are mentioned much less often. The article also describes the launch of an Editors’ Forum, an idea suggested by the editors and implemented by the library. This Forum offered further valuable insight into the potential role of libraries, but also specifically addressed several of the editors’ needs as expressed in the interviews.