Archive for the 'Digital publishing' Category

Open access: A publisher’s perspective

Julia Mortimer, Assistant Director of Policy Press/University of Bristol Press, explores the benefits, opportunities and challenges of open access (OA), one of the most significant publishing developments since the invention of the printing press.  

Julia Mortimer

Julia Mortimer

 

Unleashing potential

There have been extraordinary benefits from OA in furthering scientific endeavour, innovation, business development and public knowledge. Lives have been saved because medical research and datasets have been openly available. Digital access has made this all possible and has enabled research outputs to reach a broader audience beyond a paywall.

For Policy Press, and the newly created University of Bristol Press, as a not-for-profit publisher with a social mission, OA is crucial in helping the work we publish have a greater impact on society and for public good.

Just some of the benefits to authors are:

Visibility & impact: OA makes research more widely and easily visible to researchers, practitioners and policy makers.

Usage: A number of studies and reports have shown that OA journal articles are viewed more often than articles available only to subscribers (See this article in the BMJ for example).

Collaboration: OA publication fosters greater dialogue across disciplinary and geographical boundaries.

Social Justice: OA reduces inequalities in access to knowledge due to lack of institutional funding.

oalogo

All change

OA has created radical change in the publishing industry and has turned the supply chain on its head. The target audience shifts from reader to author and publishing infrastructures all geared towards selling to libraries and bookshops have needed drastically reassessing.

Introducing OA means publishers have to implement new processes and invest in new systems – this is much more challenging for traditional publishers who are managing OA alongside their existing processes than for OA start-up publishers.

It is also certainly not a case of ‘make everything open and people will find it’. Marketing OA content is arguably more important than marketing other types of content, since it may conversely be harder to find due to problems with integrating OA into discovery tools.

Emerging from journals publishing, OA is starting to gain far more importance for books now too. Monographic and book submissions for the next REF (sometime in the late 2020s) will have to be available in an OA form. This represents a sea change for humanities and social science book publishers (to set it in context, currently only around 5% of history books are published in some kind of OA form).

Why isn’t OA free?

It’s important to note that OA isn’t the same as free (a common misconception). Free content is made available at the discretion of the publisher, is free to access (often temporarily), but not free to reproduce, sell or modify. OA content is both forever free to access and reuse, and sometimes sell or modify (depending on the conditions of the specific Creative Commons licence that is applied).

The costs of publishing OA are hidden from the reader so the perception is often that there is no cost. In many discussions of OA and the backlash against the large corporate publishers the important role publishers play in production and dissemination is often overlooked.

It’s true to say that as much work goes into publishing an OA article or book as one in a traditional format. Read 96 things publishers do on The Scholarly Kitchen for an insight. In fact, digital means we now do more than we ever have done – not less.

In brief publish OA with us and we will:

• Provide support and guidance during the commissioning stage of a product, substantially helping to shape the final product and continuing help throughout the publishing process;

• Manage peer review and feedback and offer further guidance;

• Carry out copyediting, proof-reading, typesetting and production services, all by UK-based staff;

• Provide systems and platforms to support your work eg online submission systems for journals, hosting platforms, services to help maximise and measure the impact of your work;

• Ensure your work is covered in abstracting and indexing systems and OA resource discovery databases;

• Market your book or article to our extensive networks.

Just as we do for all our traditional publishing formats! In additional OA involves extra work in meeting the requirements of funding bodies.

Who pays for OA then?

All of the above has to be paid for, of course, even with a not-for-profit publisher. There are many different financial models for OA which currently include:

Gold – fully funded by an Article Processing Charge (APC) for journals often paid for from a grant or by an institution. This works in much the same way for journals and books;

Platinum – fully funded by donations from institutions or funders without APCs or by voluntary work – eg Wellcome Open Research, postgraduate journals run by volunteers, predominantly library-funded models like Knowledge Unlatched and the Open Library of the Humanities;

Mixed models where the costs are shared between funder types eg The University of California Press’ journal and book OA initiatives (Collabra for journals and Luminos for books) which are part funded by the institution, libraries and authors and Liverpool University Press’ Modern Languages Online from Liverpool – start up funded with help from the library but also charging APCs;

Green OA policies (ie self-archiving) mean no one has to pay but there are risks to publishers‘ business models especially as the archived versions becomes more discoverable and where embargoes are short.

So what does the future look like?

Whilst OA can bring huge benefits it is not always the right publishing model for all types of content and traditional publishing methods still have a significant role to play.

Many current projects have been set up with generous short-term funding and are nowhere near breaking even. What happens if/when this money runs out?

At Policy Press and University of Bristol Press we want to continue to expand our OA offerings and experiment with new models, but in a way which is sustainable and ensures a long term future. As a University Press we want to support the research community in the best ways possible and are still committed to publishing in traditional models where we think they are necessary. For example we are launching two new subscription-based journals this year (International Journal of Care and Caring and the Journal of Gender-Based Violence) in subject areas where OA funding is just not extensive enough.

It is very difficult to predict the future with such a rapidly evolving landscape (not to mention the political earthquakes taking place) but whatever happens, a mixed model of OA and traditional publishing seem likely to coexist for the foreseeable future.

For information on Policy Press’ OA publishing see here

To discuss potential OA projects contact Julia Mortimer (julia.mortimer@bristol.ac.uk)

We offer a range of discounts on our standard APCs. Find out more here.

Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference

In this guest blog post about the publication of her book ‘Being a scholar in the digital era‘ with Jessie Daniels, Polly Thistlethwaite reflects on why she believes information should be able to be widely accessed and shows how publishers can help to make this happen.

Chapter 2 of Being a scholar in the digital era is free to download here (pdf), or from the Policy Press website during October. Subsequent chapters will be available over the coming months.

polly-thistlethwaite

Polly Thistlethwaite

Jessie Daniels’ second book Cyber Racism came out in 2009, published by an academic press that sold books mostly to academic libraries in paper and ebook formats that were entirely closed, locked behind paywalls. Interested readers had to either buy a copy or be affiliated with university libraries to get it.

Then, Jessie discovered the whole world of ‘torrents’. This is the practice that students call ‘ripping’ but what publishers call ‘illegal downloads’. She notified her publisher about the unauthorized downloads, but the publisher, to her surprise, didn’t intervene. She scoured the websites to find contacts herself and emailed site owners to take down unauthorized copies of her book. One person in the UK had posted the book on his blog. Jessie contacted the administrator of the blog network to point to this violation of their terms of service and asked that the copy be taken down. It was. Time passed…
Continue reading ‘Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference’

Policy Press Shorts: Why flexible publishing increases the options for authors

Victoria Pittman

Victoria Pittman

By Policy Press Commissioning Editor, Victoria Pittman.

Is it a journal article? Is it a monograph? No, it’s a Policy Press Short!

It’s certainly not a new thing for publishers to be thinking about the best format to suit authors and their content or to suit market needs. Neither is the idea of a short book in any way unique. So it’s perhaps not surprising to see different format options being presented to authors, particularly when they are making use of digital developments which continue to change the way we publish content.

Policy Press Shorts logo

Our new Policy Press Shorts format is designed to give authors another option for publishing their work with more flexibility on length and benefits such as less time in production and a low-priced eBook. Other developments in mid-form publishing include Guardian Shorts, Palgrave Pivots, Princeton Shorts, Cornell Selects and the options draw attention to opportunities for flexible publishing which are exciting for both authors and publishers alike.

With an upper limit of around 40-50,000 words in most cases, these shorter books arguably have the same credibility and citation value of a longer monograph but without the same time commitment. Mid-form publishing provides authors with a new option – an opportunity to publish writing and research which doesn’t fit within the conventional book or journal length. The shorter length allows the publisher to commit to a quicker production schedule and fast publication whilst still giving the project the attention it deserves and providing the author with the same route to market.

 

So why is this happening now?

The fact that publishers are specifically offering this format could be linked to factors such as the decline in sales of traditional length monographs or the changing pressures of academia reducing the time authors have available for book projects. Another important reason is the development of digital publishing. Not only have digital formats started to remove some of the economics of paper but digital printing and advances in print on demand have increased the viability of short print runs and digital-led publishing. This means a low-priced, shorter book can be an option where it might not have been before and it allows publishers to be more flexible with the solutions they offer their authors.

 

Why publish in this format with Policy Press?

As a small team with a mission to make a big impact, we are particularly excited about encouraging a format that enables faster publication so that research and ideas can reach their audience quickly and without compromising on quality. Our Policy Press Shorts will deliver original ideas and make a difference in a concise, easily accessible way. Written by experts in their fields, from leading academics, social commentators and professionals to the best emerging scholars, the new formats will allow high quality peer-reviewed content to reach our readers quickly, with a maximum of 12 weeks in production. The titles will be available as eBooks for use on your PC, tablets or other devices but also include a print on demand option in either hardback or paperback (depending on the core market) for those who prefer a hard copy. They will be between 60pp and 150pp (20,000 and 50,000 words) and will be available for both personal purchase and for libraries and institutions through the usual channels.

Our Shorts will not only offer the opportunity to publish research (which might be longer than an article but shorter than a traditional monograph) but also inspiring social commentary providing insights on topical issues and handbooks and guides which will have an impact on policy and practice in key areas of society. These different types of content will all benefit from reaching their audience quickly and in this accessible format. Policy Press Shorts will fall into three broad categories:

shorts-image

As a not-for-profit University Press, Policy Press is part of the scholarly community and understands the needs and pressures of academia. At the same time, we are a specialist social science publisher with an established reputation for reaching out into practice and policy and making a difference with our high quality books, journals and other resources.

 

How to become a Policy Press Short author

If you would like to write a Policy Press Short please get in touch with Victoria Pittman (v.pittman@bristol.ac.uk) or the relevant editor for your subject area. Find details here.

For more information visit the Policy Press Shorts page on our website.

 


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