ATG Hot Topic of the Week: Are you a Press or Are You a Library?

by | Apr 2, 2012 | 0 comments

You may have noticed that our most recent “article of the week” was not an article at all but a report outlining how libraries can, and are expanding their roles to become “publishers” in the digital age.  Now we learn that the Chronicle of Higher Education has interviewed Monica McCormick from New York University about her experience working for both the library and NYU Press and it makes us realize that this is becoming a “hot topic” worthy of more attention.

Are You a Press or Are You a Library? An Interview with NYU’s Monica McCormick “covers one example of the ways in which a university library and press are learning to negotiate this new publishing ecosystem together.”  Ms.  McCormick is part of NYU’s Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing and works for both the library and the university press.  The relationship that she describes is fascinating.  “The press is a department of the Division of Libraries, and receives support for infrastructure like IT and human resources.”  However, a level of separation is maintained in that the press has it’s own budget independent of the library.  Ms. McCormick also makes the point that libraries are not burdened with the need to make a profit as are university presses, so their roles become complimentary, not competitive.  Libraries can focus on creating repositories and publishing “materials like research papers, technical reports, and newly-launched journals” while university presses ” are generally expected to support themselves by sales of books (and sometimes journals).”  According to Ms. McCormick “library publishing to date seems designed to fill a gap that is not met by academic publishing.”  Another way to look at it is that library publishers are primarily service providers, not producers of revenue streams.  (Ms. McCormick goes on to share other interesting ideas about related issues like the future of the scholarly monograph, adapting  to open access,  web metrics as a way of recording scholarly impact, etc.)

Admittedly, what Ms. McCormick describes is just one model of how libraries are becoming immersed in publishing.  There are others, as the Library Publishing Services Project Final Report  makes clear.

If you are looking for some background reading to get current the report recommends:

For addition resources that address issues raised in the Library Publishing Services Project Final Report click here and continue navigating through the selected bibliography.


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