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Fresh Perspectives on the Future of University-Based Publishing

Author: Amy Brand

Abstract: Academic libraries are taking on more active roles in support of research dissemination. Does a diminished role for university presses necessarily follow? It does not. I’ll discuss the distinctive and increasingly urgent functions of the university press, and the challenge of balancing the imperatives of sustainability and openness. How do we meet the differing requirements of professional, text, and trade authors? How do we fulfill our mission to make our publications available, discoverable, and searchable in digital form now, and in perpetuity? I will also cover strategies to promote productive partnerships, and the significant benefits of closer coordination among presses, libraries, and the academic departments within their institutions.

Citation: Amy Brand. 2017. Fresh Perspectives on the Future of University-Based Publishing. CNI Spring 2017 Membership Meeting, Closing Plenary. Retrieved from

Fresh Perspectives on the Future of University-Based Publishing from CNI Video Channel on Vimeo.

Research Access and Discovery in University News Releases: A Case Study

Author: Philip Young

Abstract: INTRODUCTION Many universities promote the peer-reviewed articles of their researchers in online news releases. However, access to the articles by the public can be limited, and information for locating articles is sometimes lacking. This exploratory study quantifies article access, the potential for immediate article archiving, and the presence of discovery aids in news releases at a large research university. METHODS A random sample of 120 news releases over an 11-year period were evaluated. RESULTS At publication, 33% of the peer-reviewed articles mentioned in news releases were open access. Immediate archiving in the institutional repository could potentially raise the access rate to 58% of the articles. Discovery aids in news releases included journal titles (96%), hyperlinks (67%), article titles (44%), and full citations (3%). No hyperlink was in the form of a referenceable digital object identifier (DOI). DISCUSSION Article availability is greater than published estimates, and could result from the university’s STEM focus or self-selection. Delayed access by journals is a significant source of availability, and provides an additional rationale for hyperlinking from news releases. CONCLUSION Most articles promoted in the university’s news releases cannot be accessed by the public. Access could be significantly increased through immediate archiving in the institutional repository. Opportunities for facilitating article discovery could increase the credibility and outreach value of news releases. Published on 2017-02-27 18:35:56

Citation: Young, P., (2017). Research Access and Discovery in University News Releases: A Case Study. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication. 5(1), p.eP2155. DOI:


Research output availability on academic social networks: implications for stakeholders in academic publishing

Authors: Mikael Laakso, Juho Lindman, Cenyu Shen, Linus Nyman, and Bo-Christer Björk

Abstract: A recent disruption in academic publishing are Academic Social Networks (ASN), i.e. web platforms such as ResearchGate and that have provided new ways for researchers to disseminate, search for, and retrieve research articles. ASNs are still a grey area in terms of implications for involved stakeholders, and research on them has so far been scarce. In an effort to map out factors related to ASN use this article provides a multi-method case study of one business school (Hanken School of Economics, Finland) that incorporates 1) a bibliometric analysis on the full-text availability of research output on ASNs for research published 2012–2014 by Hanken affiliated authors, 2) semi-structured interviews with faculty active in publishing in order to gain insight into motivations for use and use patterns, and 3) a survey distributed to all research-active faculty and doctoral students in order to gain a wider perspective on ASN use. ASNs have for many become the primary way to provide access to one’s research output, outpacing all other types of online locations such as personal websites and repositories. Based on the case study findings, earlier research, and recent industry developments, the article concludes with a discussion about the implications that the current trajectory of ASN use has on major stakeholders in academic publishing.

Citation: Laakso, M., Lindman, J., Shen, C., Nyman, L., & Björk, B-C. (2017). Research output availability on academic social networks: Implications for stakeholders in academic publishing. Electronic Markets, 27(2), 125-133. doi:10.1007/s12525-016-0242-1


The Impact Platform

Author: Jefferson Pooley

Abstract: The Conversation—”academic rigour, journalistic flair”—is the leading example of a new, web-enabled mode of academic popularization: the impact platform. The nonprofit site’s unpaid scholar-writers, together with professional staff editors, produce dozens of short, image-filled dispatches every week day. In a crucial twist, each piece is released into the web with a Creative Commons license and the hope for widescale republication. There’s no grumbling about the Huffington Post and other aggregators stealing page views: The whole point is to spread the academic news to any and all takers, as long as the author and publication are credited. The “impact” in impact platform is a nod to the motivating source for The Conversation and its imitators: the policy-driven demand for “public impact” in the Anglophone university systems. It’s no accident that The Conversation started in Australia and has its second-biggest “edition,” by far, in the UK. Both countries have adopted controversial higher-ed ranking regimes that require academics and their departments to demonstrate—and quantify—public reach. The Conversation‘s reader tallies are a convenient way to show taxpayer “return on investment.” This explains the site’s array of funders, which tend to be universities, grant-making foundations, and national research councils. The “metric tide” dynamic that underwrites the enterprise may be questionable, but the upshot is a new stage for “translated” or born-public scholarship—for all of us, not just those laboring under the Research Excellence Framework regime. Cleanly written, synoptic research capsules are ricocheting around the web and getting read. It’s spillover from the neoliberal university, and drinkable all the same.

Citation: Pooley J. 2017. The Impact Platform. Humanities Commons.


Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

Author: Stephen Buranyi

Abstract: It is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell.

Citation: Buranyi, S. (2017, June 27). Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? The Guardian. Retrieved from 


Pragmatism vs. Idealism and the Identity Crisis of OER Advocacy

Author: Rajiv Sunil Jhangiani

Abstract: The open education (OE) movement is in its adolescent years and experiencing an identity crisis as it is pulled towards both pragmatism (marked by an emphasis on cost savings, resources, and incremental change) and idealism (marked by an emphasis on permissions, practices, and radical change). In this article, I describe these tensions (free vs. freedom; evolution vs. revolution; and resources vs. practices) before going on to argue in favour of a nuanced resolution to this Eriksonian crisis that reflects the diverse needs and motivations of educators. The merits of an integrated approach and its implications for the future trajectory of the OE movement are discussed.

Citation: Jhangiani, R. S. (2017). Pragmatism vs. idealism and the identity crisis of OER advocacy. Open Praxis, 9(2), 141-150. doi: 10.5944/openpraxis.9.2.569


Women Working In the Open

Author: April Hathcock

Abstract: In this blog post, April Hathcock discusses diversity, inclusion, and representation in scholarly communication. The post discusses the work left to be done in terms of dismantling sexist and racist under-representation within the profession, but also proffers a collaborative list of women working “in the open.”

Citation: Hathcock, A. (2017, June 20). Women working in the open. In the Open. Retrieved from

Digital scholarship as a learning center in the library: Building relationships and educational initiatives

Authors: Merinda Kaye Hensley, Steven J. Bell

Abstract:  While librarians may have loads of ideas for how to design digital scholarship support and services, if those ideas clash with a scholars’ workflow or goals for tenure and promotion, we failed. The question remains: How do we align our ideas and expertise to the digital scholarship needs of students and faculty? We argue the answer is centered on two alternative needs assessment approaches: relationship building and educational initiatives.

Citation: Hensley, M., & Bell, S. (2017). Digital scholarship as a learning center in the library: Building relationships and educational initiatives. College & Research Libraries News, 78(3), 155-158. doi:


A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals

Author: Bo-Christer Björk, Cenyu Shen, & Mikael Laakso

Abstract: Open Access (OA) is nowadays increasingly being used as a business model for the publishing of scholarly peer reviewed journals, both by specialized OA publishing companies and major, predominantly subscription-based publishers. However, in the early days of the web OA journals were mainly founded by independent academics, who were dissatisfied with the predominant print and subscription paradigm and wanted to test the opportunities offered by the new medium. There is still an on-going debate about how OA journals should be operated, and the volunteer model used by many such ‘indie’ journals has been proposed as a viable alternative to the model adopted by big professional publishers where publishing activities are funded by authors paying expensive article processing charges (APCs). Our longitudinal quantitative study of 250 ‘indie’ OA journals founded prior to 2002, showed that 51% of these journals were still in operation in 2014 and that the median number of articles published per year had risen from 11 to 18 among the survivors. Of these surviving journals, only 8% had started collecting APCs. A more detailed qualitative case study of five such journals provided insights into how such journals have tried to ensure the continuity and longevity of operations.

Citation: Björk, B.-C., Shen, C., & Laakso, M. (2016). A longitudinal study of independent scholar-published open access journals. PeerJ, 4, e1990.

Student Learning Outcomes using Wikipedia-based Assignments: Fall 2016 Research Report

Author: Zach McDowell

Abstract:“To better understand the types of skills students obtain from contributing to Wikipedia as a course assignment, the Wiki Education Foundation sponsored Dr. Zach McDowell, of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, to conduct a study of our program participants during the Fall 2016 term. After careful analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data, the study found that Wikipedia-based assignments enhance students’ digital literacy and critical research skills, foster their ability to write for a public audience, promote collaboration, and motivate them more than traditional assignments. Students also gain a valuable understanding and appreciation for a source of information they use every day: Wikipedia.”  (Description from the Wikiedu blog)

Citation: McDowell, Z. (2017). Student learning outcomes using Wikipedia-based assignments: Fall 2016 research report. Wikimedia Commons.