Publishing is going through a rapid and jarring change not seen since the introduction of the printing press. In all areas of the industry—from trade publishing to educational publishing— everything about the business is changing, from how we source, edit, and monetize content, to who the immediate customers are.
University presses currently exist in the dual worlds of print and digital publishing. Current staffing needs require that they hire personnel with skills and experience that mirror that present duality. Training and maintaining a skilled workforce requires a commitment to flexibility and an openness to the ever-changing nature of scholarly communication. As the scholarly publishing ecosystem continues to evolve, university presses will need to look to a future workforce that has additional training, knowledge, and experience beyond the traditional skills associated with academic publishing, one that fully embraces the realities of a digital world, the habits of new generations of researchers, and the increasing role of technology in scholarly communication. This article looks at what the future might look like, what skills might be required, and how one might prepare for that future.
This article looks at practical issues in scholarly publishing pertaining to training, educating, and preparing scholarly publishing professionals for today’s technology-driven world. To provide a context for my views, I’ll begin by describing the nature of publishing at The Pennsylvania State University Press. Next, I’ll explore what contemporary publishing means within the setting of a university press. Then, using the following questions as a guide, I’ll map what skills might look like, now and in the future. One, what skills and expertise are publishers looking for in “contemporary book and journal publishing”? Two, where/how does one acquire those skills? Three, as publishing evolves, how will the skill sets for publishers change? And, four, where are publishers looking now for help in that future?
This issue of JEP features the launch of a new feature that we hope will both enrich our readers’ experience and our own understanding of how to do the best digital publishing. With this issue, we introduce full support of Hypothes.is, an open platform for the collaborative evaluation of knowledge. It supports sentence-level critique and is a tool for community peer-review to provide commentary, references, and insight at the article level. Now, every article of JEP is open for commentary and discussion through annotation. Please explore the annotations and add your own. The authors, publishers, and Hypothes.is developers are all eager to see your contributions and to observe and participate in the many discussions we hope it will open up.
As one who is both a publishing practitioner and a commentator upon contemporary publishing, I view every issue of JEP through the lenses of both personal interest and personal experience. This is doubly true of the issue at hand: Education and Training for 21st Century Publishers. I myself came to publishing mid-way through my professional life (after years as both scholar and librarian), and as I immersed myself in the publishing world, was struck by how much I needed to know and how sometimes I didn’t even know what I needed to know. As I assumed positions of increasing responsibility and authority, I became responsible for hiring and managing a large staff and often opined gaps in those staff members’ professional preparation and yearned for hires who could meet our ever-burgeoning lists of required skills. Because my publishing operation was located within a university, I also saw dozens of students make their way through my offices, as both part-time labor and in pursuit of educational opportunities. Some of these students (often hailing from the local English Department or the Information School) sought out my operation intent on a publishing career. Others conceived a desire for such a career on my watch, and while I worked hard to provide advice and guidance, I always worried that there was more to say. Now my career has taken yet another turn, and I am employed at an Information School where I teach, among other things, publishing – a demonstration in itself of the changing publishing landscape. I am eager to learn from my publishing colleagues and compatriots about their perspectives on both education publishing needs and the best ways to meet those needs, a learning I hope will in turn benefit my own students.
From Google’s English: “On 1 January 2014 were some changes in the Copyright Act in force….It is primarily concerned with § 38 (4) of the Copyright Act : “The author of a scientific article that has arisen in the context of at least half of publicly funded research and published in a periodical at least twice a year collection, has, even if he has the publisher or editor given an exclusive right of use, the right , make the contribution after the expiration of twelve months available to the public since the first publication in the accepted manuscript version, as far as this serves no commercial purpose. The source of the first publication shall be indicated. A deviating agreement to the disadvantage of the author is ineffective. ” After twelve months, the rights revert to the designated here publications to the authors, and these can then publish your posts second….”
As societies change,so too do its languages. In the English-speaking world, we often make note ofchanges in language by recognizing the rise of new words, like “selfie,” and the repurposing of familiar words, such as “because.” It may not be a surprise, then, to learn that this “evolution” isn’t limited to the spoken word: sign languages can also change over time. In a recent PLOS ONE study, scientists examined regional variations within British Sign Language (BSL), and found evidence that the language is evolving and moving away from regional variation.
To assist in this undertaking, the authors used data collected and recorded for the British Sign Language Corpus Project. About 250 participants took part in the project, recruited from eight regions in the UK. In addition to hailing from different parts of the country, participants came from various social, familial, and educational backgrounds.
When the first deaf schools were established across the UK in 1760, there was little standardization in signing conventions. Consequently, depending on the school you were attending, schools sometimes taughtpupils to use different signs to convey the same concepts or words. The authors posit that this lack of standardization may be the basis for today’s regionalism in BSL.
The participants were given visual stimuli, such as colors or numbers, and then asked to provide the corresponding sign, one that they would normally use in conversation. The researchers also recorded participants engaging in unscripted conversations, a more formal interview, and in the delivery of a personal narrative,all of which were incorporated into the authors’ study and analyzed.
In their analysis, researchers focused on four concepts: UK place names, numbers, colors, and countries. The participants’ responses to the visual stimuli were compared to with their recorded conversation to control for any confounding variables, or unforeseen social pressure to sign in a particular way. The responses were also coded as being either “traditional” or “non-traditional” according to the regional signing conventions.
Results indicated that age may play a role in whether a participant uses traditional or non-traditional signs.Particularly when signing for countries, about half the responses given by younger participants were non-traditional signs. In addition, some participants—young and old—explained that they changed the country sign they used as they grew older. The researchers posit that this may be due to changing definitions of political correctness, in which older, more traditional signs are now perceived to be politically incorrect.
The authors also found that age may also play an important role in the participant’s use of color and number signs. As was the case for signing countries, younger participants were more likely to use non-traditional signs, and older participants more likely to use traditional signs. The researchers noted that younger participants using signs non-traditional to their region seemed to be adopting signing conventions from southern parts of the country, such as London, or from multiple regions. In other cases, younger participants responded by signing the first letter of the word, such as ‘p’ for purple. The authors attribute this generational shift to the participants’ increased exposure to different signing conventions, ushered in by technological developments, such as the Internet, and increased opportunities for travel.
Changing social norms, technologies, and opportunities—these are no strangers to us by now. As the world changes, so too do the ways in which we communicate, verbally and physically.
Citation:Stamp R, Schembri A, Fenlon J, Rentelis R, Woll B, et al. (2014) Lexical Variation and Change in British Sign Language. PLoS ONE 9(4): e94053. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0094053
Image 1: British Sign Language chart by Cowplopmorris, Wikimedia Commons
Image 2: Figure 3 from article
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Abstract: ResearchGate is a social network site for academics to create their own profiles, list their