Scholarly publishing – Jisc and CNI conference 10 July 2014
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Scholarly publishing – Jisc and CNI conference 10 July 2014

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Donald J. Waters, senior program officer, scholarly communications, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Donald J. Waters, senior program officer, scholarly communications, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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  • 1. SCHOLARLY PUBLISHING DJW/HC, 6/24/2014; 1
  • 2. ROUNDTABLE OF HUMANITIES’ DEANS: • How can our institutions better promote the humanities? – Track employment – Admit high performing students interested in the humanities, rather than the sciences DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 2
  • 3. ROUNDTABLE OF HUMANITIES’ DEANS: • How can we connect to students? – Many were not “saved” by books – They are immersed in the interactive Web of multimedia DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 3
  • 4. University presses are the primary source of publication in many humanities disciplines DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 4
  • 5. Are presses part of the answer to the deans’ questions? DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 5
  • 6. Note that these are not questions about a “crisis” nor about “open access” DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 6
  • 7. They are about the opportunities to shape knowledge formation and dissemination to emerging needs and media DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 7
  • 8. In the case of the humanities, they are urgent questions about the quality and form of long-form publication. DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 8
  • 9. Monographs are important in many fields, mainly in the humanities but in other key fields, such as mathematics DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 9
  • 10. And it is crucial to remember that most theses and dissertations are monographic in nature DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 10
  • 11. For the last 20 years, nearly all the conversation about change in scholarly communication has focused on serials DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 11
  • 12. The serials debates have been dominated by hot Harnadian rhetoric, the Jesuitical distinctions between the colors of gold and green, and the command and control postures of issuing mandates at every level that require complex, costly structures of compliance monitoring and inevitably engenders guerrilla wars of evasion. DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 12
  • 13. Aren’t we missing the point of the Deans’ worries that higher education needs to reach its audiences in the media they are naturally using? DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 13
  • 14. Is Web-based research publication destined to follow the journals model of a print-derived, PDF that takes advantage of few, if any, of the interactive, annotative, and computational affordances of the Web? DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 14
  • 15. Are funder-paid APCs sustainable for any but the elite researchers able to secure such funding? DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 15
  • 16. Is it time to broaden our view of scholarly publication to include other forms of publication, including monographs DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 16
  • 17. Is it time to change the conversation? DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 17
  • 18. MELLON’S OBJECTIVES Incorporate modern digital practices into the publication of scholarship in the humanities and ensure its dissemination to the widest possible audience Help humanities scholars and their publications to participate more fully in the interactive Web Develop paths for alternative business models to support digital publication Assist in making digital publication a first-class means of disseminating scholarship in the humanities DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 18
  • 19. HOW? The best leverage seems to be in the home institutions of authors, rather than of the presses  Universities and colleges have substantial interests in promoting their faculty and in the fields they represent  These interests could represent a sustainable source of income that would address the perennial free-riding problem  Sponsorship of publication could translate institutional interests into first- class digital products DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 19
  • 20. OPTIONS? Provide subsidies to the presses?  See the recent AAU-ARL Prospectus for an Institutionally Funded First-Book Subvention DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 20
  • 21. OPTIONS? Create new centralized agency collect funds from institutions and disburse them to authors?  See recent report by Rebecca Kennison and Lisa Norberg entitled: A Scalable and Sustainable Approach to Open Access Publishing and Archiving for Humanities and Social Sciences DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 21
  • 22. ELEMENTS OF A POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE  Mellon would provide “seed funds” to willing universities and colleges that they would use to fund their faculty’s publications. DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 22
  • 23. ELEMENTS OF A POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE  Willing institutions would select authors to participate; authors could decline and pursue traditional forms of publication DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 23
  • 24. ELEMENTS OF A POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE  Willing presses would recruit selected authors and review the quality of their publications through normal means DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 24
  • 25. ELEMENTS OF A POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE  For a negotiated price that the author’s institution would pay, the press would agree to produce a well designed digital publication that it would: deposit in at least one trusted preservation repository with full metadata, make available online under an agreed- upon Creative Commons license, market through social media, and submit for disciplinary prizes and awards DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 25
  • 26. ELEMENTS OF A POSSIBLE ALTERNATIVE  Willing presses could also sell derivative works to other markets (print on demand, or in Amazon formats) or generate new services for sale to generate additional income DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 26
  • 27. 100 institutions over 5 years, with a broad mix of public and private, large and small, with and without presses 8 year grant terms: 100% Mellon support in first year; 75% in second; 50% in third; 25% in fourth; 0% after 10 books per year per institution = 8,000 books over 13 years (total book output is 3,000 per year or 39,000 over 13 years) Total expense: $400K per institution or $40M over five years; plus institutional match of $88M over 13 years. Total=$128M HOW MELLON MIGHT ASSIST DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 27
  • 28. SUMMARY WHAT THE PROPOSED INITIATIVE WOULD BE: WHAT IT WOULD NOT BE: Motivated by practical interest in having work in the humanities thrive online Ideologically-driven by open access principles Paying a price for such publication services as peer review, manuscript preparation, marketing and distribution Providing subventions to presses Distributing funds on the condition of peer-reviewed acceptance of manuscript Vanity publishing Institutions would disburse the funds because they have substantial interests in the Author-pays DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 28
  • 29. Can we do this tomorrow? DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 29
  • 30. There are many objections and concerns DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 30
  • 31. Mellon is embracing these objections and concerns to construct a path forward to achieve the vision DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 31
  • 32. ISSUES How many monographs are currently being published and in what fields of the humanities? Mellon is sponsoring a systematic survey of monograph publishing at US university presses DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 32
  • 33. ISSUES What would the costs of the institutional sponsorship model be? Pricing could be cost-based or value-based, but Mellon has made a grant to Ithaka to plan for a cost study of digital monograph publishing DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 33
  • 34. ISSUES What features constitute “high-quality” in digital monographs?  Interaction with primary sources and other online works is a must.  Interaction with readers though sophisticated annotation capabilities  Mellon has funded Hypothes.is to develop Web-based annotation tools for scholarly publications PDF DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 34
  • 35. ISSUES How would high-quality digital monographs be evaluated for promotion and tenure?  MLA has had guidelines for years  Mellon is sponsoring the development of similar guidelines at one of the other two largest scholarly societies, AHA, and has invited a proposal from the third, CAA DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 35
  • 36. ISSUES Are presses ready and willing to participate?  Some are more so than others and Mellon has invited a leadership group to submit proposals for funding in December to develop capacity  After consulting with a group of editorial directors, Mellon has also issued a general request for proposals to all other US university presses who are members of AAUP. Proposals will be selected for funding in March 2015 DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 36
  • 37. ISSUES Are faculty willing and ready to participate?  Mellon has funded faculty-led digital projects for more that ten years in a variety of humanities fields  Mellon staff have been visiting campuses for faculty consultations though the winter and spring and will continue in the Fall.  Some see no problem with the current system, others would welcome support, including those who want emphasis on digital projects, or want emphasis on publications that can only be accomplished digitally. DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 37
  • 38. ISSUES Are institutions willing and ready to participate? Some are and Mellon has invited a small, leadership group to submit proposals for December grants. DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 38
  • 39. ISSUES What would be the terms of the institutional sponsorship contract? Mellon has invited several institutions to develop model terms covering preservation requirements, e-book qualities, marketing expectations, licensing, and royalties DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 39
  • 40. WE ARE SEEKING FEEDBACK Other ideas or suggestions? With written feedback, please email Helen Cullyer: hc@mellon.org and Don Waters: djw@mellon.org DJW/HC, 7/11/14; 40