Libraries band together to take over scholarly publishing : a neuroscientist's blog 2013-03-16

Well, at least this is what I'd like to read into this latest development, the formation of the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC). Given my frequent arguments on how libraries should take over scholarly publishing from corporate publishers to the benefit of scientist and non-scientist tax-payers and given that they actually quote yours truly, I might be forgiven for being slightly too enthusiastic about some of the statements in this news report:
In the next 2 years, representatives of more than 50 academic libraries will consider their roles in the future of access to scholarly literature. Called the Library Publishing Coalition (LPC), the group is being led by Educopia Institute, an Atlanta-based consultancy that has experience working on other library digital efforts. [...] “I think libraries already are an effective agent—and perhaps THE most effective agent we see thus far—in reinventing scholarly publishing,” explains Educopia’s executive director Katherine Skinner. [...] “the question is no longer whether libraries should offer publishing services, but what kinds of services libraries will offer. Consequently, leaders need to ask to what extent can the university benefit from investments in library publishing services, particularly in the context of related transformations in library services. While new investments are needed, there are both great demands for publishing services and significant benefits to be obtained from strategic investments.” [...] “Many research and academic libraries are growing a portfolio of publishing-related services today,” says Virginia Tech’s Walters. “This includes help with the technical production of e-journals, e-conference proceedings, ebooks, websites, databases, and new forms of scholarly digital resources. [...] “The LPC arose from the perception—rightly, I believe—that the existing organizations were limited venues for discussion and collaboration among those of us within academic libraries who provide services in support of scholarly communication endeavors on our campuses." [...] “I think what is driving the LPC is the sense that it is now becoming an explicit, even an expected role for academic libraries to be doing their own publishing and supporting faculty publishing with various levels of technology and expertise,” says Sarah Pritchard, Northwestern University dean of libraries. “The question is, exactly what and how? Each library and each project is different, and there is little consistency in how our organizations are funding and staffing this work. What I hope will emerge is a structure for testing new models and sharing the results and the best practices; for promoting further collaboration and training; perhaps even eventually a way to achieve efficiencies in the logistical side of things, but that is really not the immediate goal.” [...] “I think the biggest challenge facing not only library-based publishing operations but anyone in publishing is the rise of what we at CDRS like to call ‘DIY publishing,’” says Kennison. “The same easy-to-use technologies, widespread technological expertise, and the plethora of emerging publishing platforms that have lowered the barrier to entry for library-based publishing operations have also meant that increasingly anyone can publish on their own—and they do. This reality can, will, and should inflect the services we offer now and the ones we will offer in the future, but that requires a flexibility of approach that has not traditionally been a value in either library or publishing operations. [...] “There are some aspects of publishing that benefit from scale, and libraries naturally look to cooperate with the same partners we have long had for other kinds of resource sharing,” Pritchard concludes. “But an institution might want to do local support for their own faculty; the one does not preclude the other. The whole goal of the LPC is to explore the multiplicity of models.”
It is quite reassuring to read that one is not alone in their perspective on the current state of affairs. Go and read the whole thing, do it now!