/ The Users of Library Publishing Services: Readers and Access Beyond Open

This paper was refereed by the Journal of Electronic Publishing’s peer reviewers.


This article analyzes the discourse of library publishing, examining how the needs of library users have (or haven’t) been framed as core concerns in key collaborative documents from the 2007 Ithaka Report to the 2014 Library Publishing Directory. Access issues, including not only open access but format options, usability, accessibility, and general user experience, have most often been absent or sidelined in this discourse. Even open access has been less central than one might expect. Moreover, even in later documents where it is more commonly trumpeted as a value of libraries, open access is often not presented as a service to readers but to authors. For these reasons, I argue the promotion of library publishing has missed a key opportunity to promote such services as offering a holistic approach that incorporates the needs of both authors and readers by drawing on the history of user studies in libraries. The absence of the user as information seeker, and especially reader, in this discourse should concern libraries lest library publishing services replicate existing access problems with commercial publishers beyond the question of openness. The opportunity exists for organizations such as the Library Publishing Coalition to foster discussion of reader needs for digital formats and, where feasible, promote a set of best practices.

The 2014 Library Publishing Forum featured a few moments of tension between librarians and representatives of university presses, perhaps none so pronounced as the session on “Selection and Eligibility in Library Publishing,” where Paul Royster quoted sections of the then-recently released Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Press and Library Collaboration Survey final report. In particular, he highlighted passages where press representatives made comments about library weaknesses related to publishing, including the statement that “most libraries have done very little research on how exactly scholars and students are using materials.”[1] Librarians might understand his consternation with the quote, since it misses a long tradition of user studies in library research and assessment practices.

Nonetheless, the conversation around library publishing has not made use of that history as much as one might expect. The 2014 Library Publishing Forum, for example, featured sessions on alignment with editors, other publishers, and faculty and students in their classroom production roles—but not with readers. While users-as-readers are sometimes discussed and always (presumably) implied in the reasons for a commitment to open access, the issue of accessibility of published materials is more peripheral in core library publishing documents to date. Moreover, a broader discussion that ties traditional library commitments and research to user as reader experience, preferences, and practices is minimal in the major statements on scope of and opportunities for library publishing. This article explores this absence in more detail by looking at major iterations of collaborative statements and exploring the role of libraries in publishing. I suggest that the historically user-centered focus of libraries has been effectively overlooked or sidelined in the most prominent discourse of library publishing.

The documents I examine include the 2007 Ithaka report University Publishing in a Digital Age; the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Bimonthly Report that digested the Ithaka report for a research library audience, with additional featured library publishing cases; the ARL study on Research Library Publishing Services that appeared the following year; the 2012 IMLS-funded Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success: Final Research Report that explicitly framed itself as a follow-up to the ARL study; and the 2014 Library Publishing Directory published by the recently-formed Library Publishing Coalition (LPC).[2] These publications are all collaboratively and organizationally-produced products that attempt to position libraries (sometimes specifically research libraries) within the space of publishing. In other words, besides in some cases being research or exploratory documents, they are political documents that seek to shape the space of publishing, especially in the context of higher education.[3]

In analyzing these documents, I draw my method from the tradition of discourse analysis, an approach shared by the humanities and social sciences to “examine[] how language constructs phenomena, not how it reflects and reveals it.”[4] In practice this means a focus on the entire documents, as well as their organizational and historical circumstances, as the necessary context for understanding how they frame (or do not frame) users and access issues in relation to library publishing. This approach also means I treat “library publishing” itself as a historically specific and contested discursive (oral and written) construct: these documents, including the directory, are not only research or exploratory documents or handy ready reference for those in the field, but also documents jockeying to redefine institutional authority in the swiftly changing space of (especially scholarly) publishing. Their definitions of library publishing, and what the library brings to publishing, are worth scrutiny as to how they prioritize and thus encourage certain activities while ignoring or downplaying others. The high profile rhetoric around the mission of library publishing services, and the understanding of strengths libraries project in that rhetoric, is likely to have some (of course not exclusive) impact on how robustly libraries address particular issues in publishing in a systematic way.

This genealogy of major collaborative statements on library publishing services reveals an overwhelming, and understandable, focus on the economic challenges of these programs and their mission alignment within their home libraries. It also reveals that when these statements explore mission alignment, especially around arguments for “what the library brings to scholarly publishing,” the library’s expertise around its traditional users, information seekers, and readers of resources gets lost or downplayed. There are good, timely reasons for the focus on economics and mission: as libraries enter a new field, a great deal of energy does in fact need to go into establishing how publishing services fit into their libraries’ missions and how they can be funded sustainably. As an issue with access implications over the long term, preservation also demands attention as an issue where libraries have traditional commitments but also increasing challenges. My discussion here assumes these are also important discussions. Indeed, inclusion of an explicit focus on user studies that recognizes readers, as well as authors and editors, might enhance some of these conversations by introducing a broad, library-centered principle as a cornerstone of the library publishing discussion.

The lack of attention to user behavior expertise should concern libraries who already struggle with the ways vendor-supplied systems cause problems for users of electronic resources. One of the prime benefits of libraries-as-publishers ought to be a determination to counter these struggles in our own systems. Giving user studies a more central place at the table could thus productively reshape practice by putting the entire range of access issues at the center of publishing as a profession of librarians, and it could help frame the broad fit between libraries and publishing services at the level of institutional mission. From accessibility to user-centered design for various access needs, libraries could glean much from LIS research that has already been done outside of the publishing-specific context, such as collections use studies and human-computer interaction. By overlooking this history, libraries have so far missed a key opportunity to frame their approach to scholarly publishing as offering a superior holistic service that considers the access (beyond open) needs of readers when developing publications with authors and editors. The users of library publishing services are also the users of library collections, and finding a place for publishing in the library should mean taking advantage of old strengths as we adopt, and adapt, new strengths from the field of publishing.

I am not arguing that library publishers have completely ignored these issues in practice, and I will point to examples when those enter the periphery of the documents I am analyzing. It is possible that many or most libraries are in fact actively engaged with some or all of these issues, but this activity has not yet made it into the most publicized discourse of library publishing.[5] Some occasional library publishing themes, especially including preservation and metadata, imply a concern with access and users over the long term. Moreover, informal channels such as Twitter and blogs often feature librarians involved in publishing (and plenty who are not) offering complaints about particular formats and opinions about what would better serve readers of particular publications or publishers. The broader conversation around electronic publishing outside of the library has also included research into these issues. In a recent discussion of education needs in training publishing professionals, John W. Maxwell argues for a need to attend to “ [t]he intersection of traditional Publication Design with Interaction and User Experience Design, which can be seen as the merging of a formalist tradition with a radically contextualist one.”[6] If publishers generally do make this shift to explore new directions, libraries as publishers should be able to lay special claim to leading change in this area by drawing on local expertise with users (and not just consumers) of published content. Nonetheless, it is often unclear that library publishers are positioned to take advantage of this leadership opportunity in the documents I analyze.

Previous discussions in the literature on library publishing have also most often focused on issues of economics and mission. In a study advocating for the possibility of institutionally-focused rather than disciplinarily-focused publishing strengths, Jingfeng Xia notes the prevalence of “applicability, sustainability, and scalability” and more generally “business models” as library publishing concerns in the literature (372).[7] Ji-Hong Park and Jiyoung Shim analyze the fit of library publishing services with traditional scholarly communications functions of registration, archiving, certification, and awareness. The last category, awareness, includes in principle “accessibility,” but their analysis of the awareness function in library publishing services focuses solely on dissemination and marketing rather than ability to access or modes of access; indeed, it is interesting that not even open access is discussed as contributing to the awareness function in their analysis.[8] Isaac Gilman’s 2013 book on legal and ethical issues in scholarly communications, including a section on publishing, expands this discussion beyond economic issues; however, except for brief moments, the issues it addresses remain confined to questions of services for authors and editors, not readers. He argues that his book introduces new concepts based on traditional librarian expertise in “intellectual property, licenses and contracts, and privacy,” but not issues of audience awareness and engagement with users.[9] In a section covering access and preservation in library publishing, Gilman focuses his discussion on open access and aggregator access, with a brief paragraph noting accessibility to patrons with disabilities as a legal and ethical issue.

Two documents fall outside the scope of my primary source analysis but deserve special attention because they gather relevant data from librarians and presses regarding library-press collaborations, which represent some (but not all) library publishing activity and library involvement in University Press advisory structures. These include the AAUP report and an unpublished report produced by Charlotte Roh for the University of Arizona as an ARL Career Enhancement Program Fellow.[10] Roh’s report immediately preceded the AAUP report, but their timing and content overlap. Both reports gather feedback from university press directors and library directors about the extent of collaboration at their institutions. When Roh turns to library contributions to these collaborations, she highlights staff, technology, administrative overhead, and space (4). In her focus case, University of Arizona librarians “did have a broader view of what could be considered publishing and felt that open access was important,” (7) tying to two themes of experimentation and open access highlighted in the documents I analyze. Nonetheless, based on the full range of interviews, Roh cautions against seeing open access as a simple press versus library issue (6). Roh also cites metadata and discoverability as important library strengths that the press could draw from (8).

The AAUP report included a survey and interviews, and beyond the specific questions about different types of collaboration, interviewees were explicitly asked about how publishing did (or didn’t) fit into the library’s mission and what gaps library publishing might fill relative to the press. In their responses, press directors highlighted library preferences for a user-centric rather than consumer-centric view of services (22), more knowledge about open access infrastructure (24) and responsibility for open access journal publications (28, 30), and a focus on the curation aspects of creation (28). Librarians highlighted a willingness to publish materials a press would not consider and providing open access journals (32). Notably, although framed as a conflict between library and press approaches, it was a press director in this study that noticed the library’s approach to “users” rather than “consumers” of press products.

Individual case reports of particular library-publisher collaborations or specific publications have been more likely to mention accessibility specifically or knowledge of users more generally as a concern. Some, such as those elaborated by Anali Perry, et al., focus more on issues such as discoverability, author rights, and open access as key knowledge or commitments the library brings to publishing.[11] However, Rebecca Kennison, Neni Panourgiá, and Helen Tartar reported accessibility and anticipated user issues as a key to collaboration between library, press, and author at Columbia.[12] Nancy L. Eaton, Bonnie MacEwan, and Peter J. Potter described “digitization, knowledge of access mechanisms (including indexing and metadata), and knowledge of user behavior and demands” as key library contributions to the library-press partnership at Pennsylvania State University prior to the more recent cross-institutional statements I look at here.[13] The most elaborated argument I have seen for bringing knowledge of users and accompanying data as a library strength comes from Patrick Alexander and Leila Salisbury, who argue that “sharing of user and market data”—especially library user data and expertise on user behaviors and desires—is a “crucial area of missed opportunity in the library/university press relationship” beyond any specific university context.[14]

My argument expands on this statement to suggest this opportunity has continued to go unrecognized, at least when it comes to public arguments on behalf of what libraries bring to the publishing mission. Building on Gilman’s arguments for ethical dimensions of library publishing, I am concerned with the broad range of reader access issues imperative to scholarly communication in a digital age but that nonetheless have been peripheral to the evolving public definition of library publishing services. Access is always mediated by specific formats, which may be a print-on-demand book, a web page, a pdf, or other downloadable text format—only to take some of the formats libraries feel most comfortable managing. Moreover, readers need access that will allow types of text interaction that are both traditional and newly enabled by digital formats. Annotation capabilities, easy flipping between different sections of content in a single document, full text search, and text mining all fulfill different pressing scholarly needs—often for the same scholar. An ethics of access for library publishing that will serve the full range of research and scholarly communication practices demands attention to readers as key stakeholders for library services, even as consultations with authors and editors begins to absorb our attention.

The Ithaka Report

The 2007 Ithaka Report “University Publishing in a Digital Age” (hereafter referred to simply as “the Ithaka Report”) investigated the university publishing environment through interviews with university administrators, presses, and librarians and through a survey of press directors. While not focused on library publishing specifically, the Ithaka Report first consolidated the energy hinted at by earlier case studies of library-publisher collaborations and the broader climate of concern around publishing sustainability. It galvanized a broader conversation about publishing in Universities with libraries identified as key stakeholders. Among publishers, Patrick H. Alexander hints at its influence when recently referring to the “so-called Ithaka Report,” expanding to remind readers, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that Ithaka actually produces many other publications beyond the 2007 publishing report.[15] Its influence on later statements of libraries and publishing can be seen in the fact that ARL devoted a special double issue of its bimonthly report the same year to discussing Ithaka’s findings and some specific cases of library-press publishing alliances that illustrated paths forward. These two documents set the stage for the 2008 ARL report, “Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing,” which appeared the next year authored by Karla Hahn, who wrote the introduction to the ARL bimonthly report double-issue. The 2008 ARL report served as an explicit model for the more recent 2012 IMLS-funded report on library publishing services, which in turn served as the occasion for the formation of the Library Publishing Coalition.[16] The Ithaka Report, then, has direct lines of influence through the conversation about what the library brings as a publishing partner.

The Ithaka Report sketches out a future of “new formats made possible by digital technologies, ultimately allowing scholars to work in deeply integrated electronic research and publishing environments that will enable real-time dissemination, collaboration, dynamically-updated content, and usage of new media.” In turn, publishing would see a diffusion of “economic models...appropriate for different types of content and different audiences.” To match this evolution, each university would need a “publishing strategy, but that does not mean that it should have a press.” Moreover, there would be “consolidation onto large scale platforms” for many types of content (4). The Ithaka Report assumes even in its construction that libraries play a key and natural role in this future alongside university presses: the report itself tries to lay out the specific challenges to these groups and their relevant strengths and weaknesses that may play into specific universities’ planning. Librarians, it argues, have a particularly “high level of energy and excitement...about reinventing their roles on campus to meet the evolving needs of their constituents” in this context (5).

Nonetheless, the Ithaka report’s ideas about library involvement in publishing tend to emphasize building on traditional roles in a digital environment rather than tackling publishing head-on as a service. When it explores the “new mission” of libraries, it lists items like “serving faculty research, teaching, and publishing agendas,” “serving student study needs,” “preservation,” “making scholarship available to the wider world,” and “lowering the cost of scholarship” (15). Only the last two of these really expose some of the novel work being undertaken in the realm of scholarly communications through initiatives such as open access, author’s rights consulting, and beyond. Moreover, it is in these most novel areas of librarianship that the report expresses the most skepticism, arguing that librarians’ statements of optimism about their new work in open access and institutional repositories “overstate the degree of success librarians have had in actually reducing costs through these initiatives” (15).

Nonetheless, the Ithaka report clearly argues that libraries bring an array of strengths to publishing efforts, including a greater willingness to “find room for experimentation” (16) as well as traditional areas of expertise, such as serving faculty and student research needs and preservation. Indeed, the Ithaka report specifically includes an appendix listing out specific library and press strengths and weakness in the new publishing environment.

When it comes to knowledge of library users, the Ithaka Report’s list of strengths and weaknesses offers a mixed assessment of how much the library brings to publishing. One bullet point offers one of the most promising, direct statements of the library’s depth in this area of any of the documents I am examining: they “Operate at [a] granular level with usage. Understand the way users find and retrieve information; understand the usability of information” (36). On the other hand, the report’s list of weaknesses suggest that libraries don’t know how to “evaluat[e] demand,” including devaluing “usage-determined activities.” To some extent this latter statement contradicts the first, although in context it seems to be tied to the general theme of commercial markets that appears in several other bullet points as libraries weaknesses; libraries lack “commercial discipline” and are “not market-facing.” Thus, in the context of these brief bullet points, we can extrapolate a general idea of libraries in relation to users of publishing services: libraries seem to have strengths in understanding the array of uses people make of information, and what makes information more usable, but in part because they value these different uses and their place in the scholarly life-cycle they may not prioritize particular use options (i.e. formats, vendors) from an economic perspective.

Nonetheless, such an elaboration of these points goes unmade in the report itself: indeed, the idea of library strengths around understanding usage appears only in the bullet point. In the body of the report, libraries are generally portrayed as being willing to experiment and as having a cost model to support such experimentation; however, they are also portrayed as being bad at creating things that will be actually be usable: their “informal publishing” efforts through institutional repositories “limit[] appeal to users” and “look like ‘attics’...with random assortments of content of questionable importance,” whereas digitization efforts “often fail to take into consideration the potential market for those materials” (16). Apart from assessing these claims’ validity then or now, the rhetorical force of the report deemphasizes library strengths around users and prioritizes library weakness around customers and markets. In a report that specifically values libraries’ willingness to experiment and their different cost model, it is ironic to see libraries critiqued for not using the assessment priorities for the market-driven cost model to which they are the alternative.

The sidelined mention of expertise regarding users in the Ithaka Report’s appendix points to an alternate, enhanced conversation that could have happened when discussing what libraries contribute to this new publishing environment. This alternate conversation quickly got lost in the broader focus on issues such as experimentation with cost and formats, open access (sometimes implicitly one type of experimentation), and sometimes metadata and preservation, and in the need to develop expertise in the areas of working with authors and editors (which the Ithaka Report suggested was a weakness at that time, scholarly communications developments notwithstanding). As a result, the conversation about experimentation with publishing models and formats became about how to best serve the publishing needs of those authors and editors, and not the readers of the experiments. The library conversation might look quite different if it emphasized library strengths in usability, usage, and user experience of different modes of access as playing a key role in the experimentation with new forms of scholarship in the digital age.

The June/August 2007 ARL Bimonthly Report followed the Ithaka Report by providing a condensed version and some additional commentary and case studies on library publishing, “paying special attention to new ways in which libraries are taking responsibility for exploring solutions” to the challenges (1). The condensed version of the Ithaka Report that appears in the ARL Bimonthly Report takes the original emphasis even further: the language of library strengths around granular uses disappears entirely, along with all other appendix information from the report. The list of contributions of libraries in the new scholarly environment repeats the list from the Ithaka Report (serving faculty and students, preservation, making scholarship available and lowering its cost), although one additional item is included (modified from the original report where it was a prose elaboration on the list) for “supporting scholarly communications.” The report uses this phrase to encompass some of the same issues but also to add strengths in working with multimedia and “creating research environments that will help faculty and graduate students create the scholarship of the future” (4). This last phrase seems to consolidate the idea of library energy around experimentation that might contribute to the vision of a future with “deeply integrated electronic research and publishing environments” (ARL Bimonthly Report 3).

The three case studies in the ARL Bimonthly Report, which focused on the University of California, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and collaborative library initiatives funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation, forefront the types of experiments ARL presumably has in mind. While they again do not mention library strengths in understanding users, they do hint at users as readers with variable directness, especially around open access, as part of the equation.

The University of California case focuses on the efforts of the California Digital Library and University of California Press to reassess and consolidate their direction after ongoing publishing experiments. In line with the focus on University strategies more broadly, the authors frame their work around the parent institution’s goal “to integrate the research, teaching, and service missions more closely” (10). They elaborate, “For us, there could be no clearer call to strengthen the communication of research results in ways that will also allow us to extend access to and improve the quality of education, better inform public policy and public opinion, and appropriately shape professional and industry practice.” As the nod to access indicates, uniting the three functions of the university offers some possibilities for thinking about users of information in addition to producers; nonetheless, the report quickly zeroes in on faculty requirements for publishing as the key issue to tackle. For example, the question of formats turns to economic pressures on traditional scholarship and adapting them to digital formats. Likewise, the focus on new modes of dissemination is largely about scholars’ desires rather than readers’ requirements for those new modes. As a result, tackling a new publishing environment in the case largely becomes an issue of economics, evaluation of experimental publications for tenure purposes, and aligning “with the university’s research priorities” (11).

“The University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) case study most directly addresses access by highlighting its open access journal publishing program as a cornerstone of the library’s “leadership role on campus in promoting new forms of scholarly communication” (12). Indeed, this case shows the most robust way of thinking about uses of new digital publications, tying the open access mission to new possible modes of discovery through “searching, text mining, and deep linking of multiple formats” (12). In this respect, the UIC case study offers the strongest early assertion of the area in which these library statements have been most likely to acknowledge users: open access. Moreover, as the essay looks to needs for future developments, the authors highlight not only a desire “to provide an easy-to-use, cost-effective platform to help editors sustain open access journals,” but also to “connect with faculty...to address such strategic issues as copyright, openness, findability, accessibility, and long-term preservation” (15). Some of these goals are of course largely about editors and authors, but it is notable that the library imagines engaging faculty about openness and accessibility among the values they bring to the table and might advance at the same time as serving scholars in their authorial and editorial roles.

The final case in the ARL Bimonthly Report focuses on the creation of Synergies as one of two Canadian collaborative, inter-institutional digital projects. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that one of the regional nodes, Québec, highlights “digital publishing of current issues in XML, PDF, and XHTML formats” as a key service (16). Unelaborated, this bullet point nonetheless hints at a sense of a need for multiple formats to suit reader requirements. Another regional node, British Columbia, appears as the home of Open Journal Systems (OJS—the platform used by UIC in the prior case study): while it is not as clearly framed in terms of access needs in this case, the authors do highlight not only its “editorial workflow management” but also its “online article access, full-text searching, and interactive reading tools” (17).

In such moments the specter of the reader appears behind service features in ways that might be elaborated in our understanding of what the library brings to publishing services. These arguments do not as directly make claims for the expertise of the library in relation to users of information resources as in the original appendices to the Ithaka Report. However, the cases are the best place in these two early documents to find the idea of broad access to research as a motivating factor for libraries as they approach new publishing models. In the ARL research report that followed the next year and the subsequent IMLS report based on it, the argument becomes much more focused on the economics of a service for authors and editors, with further emphasis on open access in the IMLS report. The hints at library expertise in granular user experiences or services that seem specifically about reader needs beyond openness, though, ironically recede even further in these more library-based reports.

The ARL and IMLS Research Reports

ARL’s “Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing” (hereafter referred to simply as the 2008 ARL Report) turns the conversation almost exclusively to the library’s willingness to experiment with new economic models. As the executive summary states:

In the search for transformative approaches to scholarly publishing, research library publishing programs are intentionally exploring the boundaries of what several program managers conceptualize as a service core....The aspirations of libraries to replicate traditional publishing services are modest to non-existent. Libraries are focusing on the capabilities and possibilities of new models rather than slavishly duplicating or simply automating traditional models. At the same time, they seek to identify the most promising new kinds of services that are needed to support authors and editors. (5)

The report’s insistence that libraries do not wish “to replicate traditional publishing services” deserves qualification from a current perspective, since it may be easy to conflate this statement with the idea of library publishing innovations in regard to format, particularly with digital humanities and multimedia publications. Indeed, even the Ithaka report had dealt with multimedia; however, the 2008 ARL Report is only discussing innovations in economic model. The survey of library publishing services it replicates focuses solely on a traditional format: the journal.

More importantly, as the last sentence makes clear, these new publishing services are for authors and editors—not readers of publications. This focus makes sense in some ways, especially since serving scholars in their authorial and editorial roles is the most direct new service function of library publishing and—more broadly—scholarly communications efforts. But the hints of the library’s expertise regarding user-as-reader from the Ithaka Report and ARL Bimonthly Report, small as they were, disappear entirely in the 2008 ARL Report. At moments, there are signs that readers might lurk in the background. For example, one key finding early in the report states that “library publication services are developed in ways that are consonant with research library service culture” (7). This statement opens up the possibility that publishing services might be developed in consideration of how to best mesh with traditional library services for users-as-readers. However, when elaborated, it becomes apparent that it refers to a willingness to collaborate with library users across campus as libraries “work with their constituencies to explore service needs and capabilities” (26). As a result, emerging publishing services in libraries as discussed in the 2008 ARL Report look increasingly detached from readers when compared to even the limited attention of earlier reports.

The non-interest in who might be reading these new library publications (and how) becomes most apparent in the treatment of open access, which the report treats solely as an economic issue while downplaying libraries’ commitments to open access on behalf of readers of the scholarly literature. Thus, the executive summary notes that as libraries invest in publishing, “it is not surprising that a substantial portion of library publishing uses business models that enable open access or work toward such a model to best leverage those institutional investments” (6). But the reasons it is “not surprising” in the report are very quickly revealed to have nothing to do with library commitments to open scholarship in principle. Instead, “locally managed open access publishing” is seen as more economically feasible than “subscription models” (6). To drive this home even further, the report later specifically rejects the idea that libraries invest in open access due to “ideology”: “The open access movement has drawn attention to the new opportunities for affordable and widely accessible publishing. However, interviews suggest library-based publishing programs are pragmatic responses to evident needs, not services in search of clients; they identify and develop opportunities to create low cost publishing practices and services with dual aims of providing access to works of scholarship and revenue maximization. Library publishing is not a movement so much as a development” (24). Open access, in the 2008 ARL Report, has nothing to do with readers at all except incidentally. It is instead a solution to collections problems and the problems of the authors and editors targeted by publishing services.

Four years later there is a change in this approach to open access in the IMLS-funded “Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success: Final Research Report” (hereafter referred to as the 2012 IMLS Report). Indeed, while the 2012 IMLS Report survey drew deliberately on the 2008 ARL survey for comparison purposes and similarly works to define the scope of library publishing services, its title suggests a general shift in emphasis to defining what makes such services successful. Much of the report devotes itself to how to create sustainable library publishing services: the IMLS project that led to it focused on “identifying successful library publishing strategies and services, highlighting best practices, and recommending priorities for building capacity” (5). While this does, like the 2008 ARL Report, lead to an overall focus on economic issues, there is some attention to what makes library publishing unique, including open access. When participants in the workshop portions of the 2012 IMLS study discussed “key differences between traditional publishing models and library-based publishing programs,” they highlighted especially

1) a dominant philosophical preference for open access dissemination, 2) a willingness to engage with the entire research lifecycle, from assistance with data management to final preservation; and 3) a tolerance for, and interest in, experimental new forms of scholarly communication. (14)

Open access is by no means the focus of this report, but a couple of things about its treatment here deserve attention. First, instead of being labeled an “ideology” to avoid (as in the 2008 ARL Report), advocacy for open access is called a “philosophical preference.” In both reports the libraries studied make use of a combination of open access and pay models, but the 2008 ARL Report frames open access in library publishing solely as business strategy while rejecting the importance of an open access “movement.” The 2012 IMLS Report quite differently poses libraries as leaders in that movement. The case studies of Purdue’s epubs platform for journals and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s publishing program for conference proceedings in particular highlight the preference for open access, with exceptions in the proceedings program specifically highlighted as deviations from the preferred norm (9–10). A second notable feature is that the preference for open access is separated out from the issue of “experimental new forms of scholarly communication.” While still a potentially broad category that could include both economic models and formal innovation (i.e. multimedia and digital humanities publishing), the wording—“experimental new forms”—lends itself much more to the latter formal interpretation than the 2008 ARL Report’s focus on new publishing “models.” Indeed, a few pages later the 2012 IMLS Report writers elaborate the phrase “alternative modes of scholarly communication” specifically in terms of innovative forms rather than innovative business models: “non-linear monograph narrative structures, [and] subject- or theme-specific web resources” (13).

In the space between the 2008 ARL Report and the 2012 IMLS Report we see a shift in the standing of open access from something downplayed to something trumpeted, from economic to ethical decision. While the 2012 IMLS Report does not talk at any length about readers, it invokes those readers in the broader ethical preferences for intellectual and academic freedom signaled in its willingness to place open access as a “philosophical preference” that differs from traditional publishing. Nonetheless, the fact that the readers of library publishing remain only indirect references is a harbinger of what we will see in Library Publishing Coalition documents: a continued absence of readers as key to library publishing missions and variance in who library publishers cite as the beneficiaries of open access publishing.

The Library Publishing Coalition

The Library Publishing Coalition (hereafter LPC) notes the importance of the IMLS report on its website when recounting its organizational history. That influence emerges in the LPC's definition of “library publishing,” which is sent with its invitation for institutions to submit entries for the Library Publishing Directory:

The LPC defines library publishing as the set of activities led by college and university libraries to support the creation, dissemination, and curation of scholarly, creative, and/or educational works.

Generally, library publishing requires a production process, presents original work not previously made available, and applies a level of certification to the content published, whether through peer review or extension of the institutional brand.

Based on core library values and building on the traditional skills of librarians, it is distinguished from other publishing fields by a preference for Open Access dissemination and a willingness to embrace informal and experimental forms of scholarly communication and to challenge the status quo.[17]

The third paragraph, highlighting distinctions in library publishing from traditional publishing, builds its language directly from the first and third IMLS points of distinction in library publishing services. The emphasis on a “preference for Open Access dissemination” loses the term “philosophical” but gains similar framing from the previous sentence’s emphasis on “core library values.” Likewise, “a tolerance for, and interest in, experimental new forms” is strengthened to an “embrace [of] informal and experimental forms of scholarly communication.” While the first two paragraphs define the terms of publishing, the final clarifies that what makes “library publishing” are the values and skills librarians bring from their profession.

What is most striking about this definition is how far it is from the previous reports on the centrality of economic issues. The 2008 ARL Report framed the distinctions of library publishing solely in terms of economic innovation and downplayed the idea that library publishing was shaped by “ideology”; here economics is left out of the picture and “core library values” and “traditional skills” are the distinguishing features of library publishing services. The absence from the definition here does not mean that LPC is uninterested in economics: indeed its online mission statement emphasizes that it “promotes the development of innovative, sustainable publishing services in academic and research libraries.”[18] The 2014 Library Publishing Forum highlighted several speakers discussing how they have made publishing sustainable at their institutions. However, sustainability and economics more broadly are not central to the definition of library publishing as they had been previously.

When it comes to the directory itself, how much is the emphasis on library values and skills in this definition reflected in an emphasis on users-as-readers of library publications? The questionnaire for the directory gives each library publishing service a place to include a mission statement or description: these sections provide an opportunity to examine the rhetoric of library publishing services through what these libraries project as their key missions and strategies for developing library-based publishing.[19] Likewise, open text fields for “Additional Information” and “Plans for expansion/future directions” provide details about what these services prioritize. Indeed, these text fields and the many other data points collected in the directory provide ample opportunity for analysis related to multiple topics. The other fields are less useful for the issues I am discussing here, in part due to design of the survey. Most pertinently, a question offering check boxes for additional services does not include any options for reader-oriented services like accessibility or usability testing of publishing platforms or formats. Here I focus on the mission statements with referral to the other two open text fields as relevant; I do this in order to identify the extent to which libraries frame readers or audiences as users of their services—and if so, how. Beginning with the evidence related to open access, I proceed to the rarer examples of focus on reader experience, usability, and accessibility.

Entries in The Library Publishing Directory show some validation of LPC’s suggestion that library publishing services show a preference for open access distribution. The mission statements highlight open access a majority of the time: 66 of the 115 services (57.4%) include a reference to “open access” or at least to making materials “freely available.”[20] Another three refer to open access in fields for additional details or plans for the future. It is clear that these universities have a desire to support open access to scholarly (and other) literature by the public. This commitment is manifest in the various mentions of open access formats, platforms, and publications offered, and also the role these publishing units sometimes play in the broader scholarly communications efforts of the library. For example, four libraries (Illinois Wesleyan, University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech, and University of Windsor) mention education of authors on the importance of open access as part of their mission or description of services. Two others, Macalester College and Pennsylvania State University, specifically refer to “ideals” or “principles,” respectively, in order to define a broader commitment to open access beyond specific services.[21]

Nonetheless, the rhetoric of open access in these mission statements itself reveals that readers are not necessarily considered central users for library publishing services. Of the 66 statements mentioning open access or free availability in some fashion, only 12 specify that this is a service for some kind of audience (some examples include “the world,” Emory University and the University of British Columbia; “a global academic audience,” Loyala University Chicago; “a wide audience,” University of Central Florida; “to Auroria campus constituents and the general public,” University of Colorado Denver[22]). More generally, with the exceptions noted above, the idea that open access has a broader purpose within scholarly communications to foster broader availability of academic conversations is left implicit. Indeed, nine institutions define open access primarily as a service to authors and editors—almost as many as those that define it in terms of serving an audience. These include the four institutions that support education on open access issues, but also one that frames open access as a tool to help authors market scholarship and satisfy funder mandates (Western University). Four others state more generally that they facilitate open access publishing options for authors.[23] While it is presumable that these institutions support the broader access-related ends of open access, it is surprising that the mission statements mute those ends.

In contrast to open access, when expanding to think more broadly about modes of access, including reader experience, usability, and accessibility concerns, the directory includes few institutions highlighting these as mission-centric services of library publishing. Pepperdine University provides one example: “as the information universe continues to evolve, our goal is to remain responsive to users’ needs by providing seamless access to both print and digital resources essential for learning, teaching, and research” (83). While this statement treats readers broadly, the emphasis on “seamless access” suggests a broader mandate to consider how material is accessed beyond the question of “open availability,” which the statement addresses in a separate sentence. Indeed, the two final sentences on access are the only part of Pepperdine’s mission statement that focuses specifically on publishing services. While it does not get into details of addressing seamlessness, Pepperdine frames these access questions in terms of the broader library mission that serves “users” primarily in terms of access rather than production. Other institutions also connect to their library mission in general, but Pepperdine is notable for highlighting particularly traditional service functions as a “gateway to knowledge” through discovery and use of resources. It thus frames its mission almost entirely around readers in a way that is unusual for the 2014 Library Publishing Directory as a whole.

The entry for The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is similarly remarkable: while its mission statement balances research production and reading functions, it uses its additional information to demonstrate its commitment to reading communities. The mission statement itself is brief: “the UTSA Libraries collaborate with faculty to disseminate original scholarly content using a variety of platforms, ensuring open access while simultaneously acknowledging reader preferences” (174). Notably, open access is presented as only part of the service to readers, a service which includes multiple platforms and a consideration of what readers might want beyond open access. What UTSA means by this is strongly supported by an example publishing project it highlights in the additional information:

For our pilot publishing project, we collaborated with faculty who expressed a strong preference for using iBooks/iTunes as a publishing platform because the primary audience for the material (astronomy scholars) prefer to consume content on iPads. In addition to producing an iBook, we produced a multimedia-PDF, converting the content to a more open format for wider access and preservation purposes. (175)

While focused on a single publishing pilot, this entry projects more strongly than any other a sense that services to authors and readers are deeply connected, that audience might drive format options as well as questions of preservation and openness. Indeed, the example explains why the mission statement frames reader preferences as a qualification (“while simultaneously”) to open access: the particular community of scholars in question prefers a format less suitable to long-range and multipurpose access goals.

Nonetheless, the examples of Pepperdine and UTSA are unique in the degree of their expressed commitment to the idea of users as readers as core to a library publishing mission, particularly when thinking beyond open access to how that access happens.[24] Two others do mention related areas of user experience in other, non-mission fields. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, for example, simply list their mission as “still in development,” (159) but in their plans for the future include “supporting faculty in new scholarly media, such as database and UI design, web pages, and usability” (160). Like the UTSA example, this statement pairs services to authors producing research with services to readers of research products by emphasizing the library’s expertise in interface design and usability as core production issues. Less explicitly, the University of Iowa mentions plans to include “HTML versions of articles” beyond the pdfs making up most of their publications. While no mention of readers is made directly here, the nod to the possible need for multiple format options is still more suggestive of recognized reader requirements than most other descriptions in the directory.

The 2014 Library Publishing Directory, then, confirms the 2012 IMLS Report’s statement of the significance of open access while continuing the tendency of prior documents to deemphasize readers as users of library publishing services and the library’s expertise in relation to those readers. The rhetoric of open access itself projects multiple intentions and audiences that complicate the 2012 IMLS Report and LPC definitions of library publishing: beyond appealing to traditional library values around intellectual freedom, or even the economic justifications trumpeted by the 2008 ARL Report, the mission statements often pitch open access as a service to authors to heighten reputation or comply with funder mandates. This variation likely reflects the different constituencies that publishing mission statements address, and resulting strategies meant to mitigate lingering uncertainty about open access by some researchers or administrators.

If some libraries tread lightly around open access due to its evolving reputation in scholarly communications, though, the same cannot be said as a reason for eschewing LIS expertise in issues of user experience and user behaviors. As the granular knowledge of users glimpsed in the 2007 Ithaka Report has faded from view in the central rhetoric of library publishing, libraries have missed an opportunity—not just to highlight a tradition of expertise relevant to this new endeavor—but also to reassure the academy that new publishing models will address ongoing problems with reader experience in the digital age. The UTSA example in particular highlights how libraries might bring that expertise to bear in library publishing services. Thinking about how formats meet different reader needs, as well as preservation for long-term access, should mesh well with the history of library user studies—particular academic library studies of different scholarly communities’ typical use patterns and research habits. Indeed, some of this work already goes on in our evaluation of traditionally acquired collections materials, including studies of use of electronic resources in general. This research, while framed as offering potential lessons for collection development and sometimes communicated back to vendors with the hopes that they will improve resources, applies as well to libraries as they begin offering publishing services.

Toward User-Centered Library Publishing Services

Addressing the Charleston Conference a year after the 2008 ARL Report, Kevin L. Smith (2009) spoke about the quickly changing scholarly communications (not specifically publishing) environment and how libraries might evolve in response. In the version captured in the proceedings, he charges libraries to “become involved more deeply in the process of research and the creations of scholarly work rather than seeing themselves, as they have in the past, primarily as a collector of the outputs of research in order to offer inputs to the next scholar” (28).[25] His statement, a call to engage authors and editors, comes in the context of a growing library publishing programs but also in the midst of growing advocacy for open access and the growth in ranks of scholarly communications librarians charged specifically to work with users in their authorial and editorial roles. However, library publishing in particular is one area of scholarly communications where libraries need to draw from their traditional expertise in “offer[ing] inputs to the next scholar,” to use Smith’s reductive phrase, as well as developing skills related to working with authors and editors. Libraries should be ideally positioned to think of publishing holistically from the perspectives of production and consumption, and authors and readers. That readers most often get lost in the rhetoric of library publishing services explored in this essay is a lost opportunity to frame a key potential strength of those services.

It is also a lost opportunity to consolidate into common purpose and strategy what have been, so far, disparately reported steps in the direction of serving authors and readers together. While individual cases in these documents hint at what might be done or offer inspiring examples of publishing with an eye to access, they also give a more limited picture than they might. This problem stems in part from data collection: since the Library Publishing Coalition, for example, does not ask about reader-oriented services beyond open access in its survey of library publishing services, perhaps only the most reader-oriented of those services reveal themselves as such. Future work should study what library publishing programs do in practice versus what they highlight in mission statements, and a follow-up study to this article will seek to establish baseline evidence of what library publishers are in fact doing to address user experience issues. However, the lack of LPC survey questions in turn reflects the definition of library publishing offered up by the coalition and the evolving rhetoric around library publishing that has prioritized economics, “experiments” (broadly defined) in publication, and more recently open access. These priorities likewise shape programming at events such as the Library Publishing Forum. What is missing is not the ability or even ways forward but organized communication of priorities and systematized action that would place access as a central focus of library publishing, where access implies not just grappling with open access but with accessibility, usability, and the user experience of different digital (and print) formats.

To be sure, there are logistical and organizational challenges that deserve discussion. To what extent do library publishers’ choices of publishing platforms limit their ability to customize formats to ensure access options meet reader needs? To what extent should libraries address specific user experience issues, and to what extent should they educate authors and editors on these issues and allow them to take the lead instead? How should usability issues factor into experimental scholarly formats (for example, as emerge in digital humanities work), and to what extent can we expect conflict between scholars’ desires for experimentation and the obligation to make works accessible to all patrons? Various library publishers may have different approaches to these, even within a single organization; electronic theses and dissertations (considered library publishing by the LPC’s definition), student-run journals, and ebooks may pose different requirements. However, organizations such as LPC and interested LIS researchers could help to define best practices where they exist.

While much of the attention in library publishing discussion focuses on the new or “experimental,” there is substantial work to do to define best practices even around the “traditional.” It has quickly become commonplace wisdom that, while still frustrated with ebooks and slow to adopt them, scholars of all disciplines both accept and expect primarily electronic access to journal articles by a significant margin. Electronic journals, in that sense, have become boring. Yet they are also completely irregular in ways that may prove frustrating to readers: digital versions of basic scholarly research journals vary widely, from those only accessible as a pdf or a website, to those available through both formats plus epub and more. Meanwhile, work by Carol Tenopir, Rachel Volentine, and Lisa Christian regarding scholars’ use of print and electronic resources shows the final reading format varies widely among both graduate students and faculty, often with variation by reading purpose. While a substantial number of readings from both groups are from an online computer screen, similar numbers for graduate students and a substantial number of faculty print to read on paper; substantial numbers in each group also download and save to read later either on a laptop or mobile device.[26] If library publishing services more explicitly framed themselves as bringing the LIS tradition of user studies to publishing, they might draw on this information but also probe further questions it raises in order to define minimal format expectations for journals that do not have experimental forms. These formats would need to meet the access needs of reading at its closest to reading at its most distant, in addition to preserving for future access.

If library publishing services should be defined by “core library values and build[] on the traditional skills of librarians,” those values should extend beyond open access to prizing user behavior and needs as touchstones for modes of access, and the skills should go beyond preservation and metadata (each contributing to access in their own ways) to the design of user-centered systems. To be sure, library publishing expands our sense of the users we engage: those filling author and editor roles as well as readers and information seekers. Indeed, there are clear opportunities for user-centered systems development for those newer user roles as well, as sometimes addressed in library publishing discussions of workflow systems for authors and editors. But the reader and information seeker are the user roles the library could, and should, claim as a key to developing newly accessible publishing services based on library values and skillsets. Putting user studies and the access issues they raise at the forefront of the rhetoric of library publishing, as has already been the case with the narrower issue of open access, is important for consolidating energy and action to change the way publishing happens.

Daniel G. Tracy received a PhD in English before going on to an MLS and his current position as Visiting Library and Information Science and Research Support Librarian at the University of Illinois. His emerging research interests focus on users of digital publications and new digital publishing tools.


    1. Paul Royster, “Library Publishing is Special,” Presentation delivered at LPC Library Publishing Forum 2014, Intercontinental Hotel, Kansas City, MO March 6, 2014. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/library_talks/97/ At least one press representative at the conference pointed out the “selective” nature of Royster’s quotations on Twitter, and linked to the complete report. The fuller quote that Royster pulls from in this case is worth including here in full. Asked to comment on how libraries might “better understand the needs of university presses and the audiences they serve,” one press respondent stated, “I think in general it would be helpful for both parties to have a better sense in how a press’s materials are being adapted and used for scholarship and what coming trends are for accessing scholarship. Unfortunately I find most libraries have done very little research on how exactly scholars and students are using materials” (AAUP, 20). While some responses in the report do clearly communicate the disdain Royster complained about, others were complimentary and this one when taken in full suggests a shared lack of knowledge, although also an apparent unfamiliarity with the prominence of user studies in libraries. AAUP Library Relations Committee, Press and Library Collaboration Survey, 2013. http://www.aaupnet.org/resources/for-members/data-collection-and-analysis/library-press-collaboration-survey An article version of Royster’s presentation is now also available through the proceedings: Royster, Paul, “Library Publishing Is Special: Selection and Eligibility in Library Publishing,” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 2(4): 95–105. http://dx.doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.1183 return to text

    2. Laura Brown, Rebecca Griffiths, Matthew Rascoff, and Kevin Guthrie, University Publishing in a Digital Age (New York: Ithaka, 2007). http://www.sr.ithaka.org/research-publications/university-publishing-digital-age; Association of Research Libraries, ARL: A Bimonthly Report on Research Library Issues and Actions from ARL, CNI, and SPARC 252/253 (2007); Karla L. Hahn, Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing (ARL: Washington, DC, 2008); James L. Mullins, Catherine Murray-Rust, Joyce L. Ogburn, Raym Crow, and October Ivins, Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success: Final Research Report (SPARC: Washington, DC, 2012): http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/purduepress_ebooks/24/; Sarah K. Lippincott, ed., Library Publishing Directory 2014 (Library Publishing Coalition: Atlanta, 2014): http://www.librarypublishing.org/sites/librarypublishing.org/files/documents/LPC_LPDirectory2014.pdf return to text

    3. Right at the time of article submission, two other related publication appeared: the second edition of the Library Publishing Directory, and an ARL SPEC Kit on Library Support for Faculty/Researcher Publishing. The new directory contains some differences but few changes related to my analysis; relevant comparisons are made in footnotes to the discussion of the initial directory. The SPEC Kit focuses more broadly on scholarly communications and research support, and contains no reference to services for readers as users of publishing services: even the title focuses specifically on researchers as authors or editors. Therefore I do not treat it further here except to note that the exclusive focus on authors and editors exemplifies the assumption that they, not readers of publications, are the relevant users of library publishing services. It goes beyond the scope of this article to discuss the reasons why this lack of attention on readers may have arisen, although two key factors strike me as likely parts of the equation: first, developing greater understanding of authors and editors has been a new condition of developing publishing services and so takes up a greater deal of attention; second, because libraries have more traditionally offered services to local or institutional reader populations, the potential for publishing to have a more global reach means that libraries in some cases look toward institutional authors and editors as their justification for university funding of publishing services. Sarah K. Lippincott, ed., Library Publishing Directory 2015 (Library Publishing Coalition: Atlanta, 2014): http://www.librarypublishing.org/sites/librarypublishing.org/files/documents/lpc_dir_2015lpd.pdf; Diane Bruxvoort and Christine Fruin, SPEC Kit 343: Library Support for Faculty/Researcher Publishing (ARL: Washington, DC, 2014).return to text

    4. Nelson Phyllips and Cynthia Hardy, “What Is Discourse Analysis?” Discourse Analysis (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2002), 6.return to text

    5. It is worth re-emphasizing the point that this article does not offer (or try to offer) definite evidence that library publishers lack attention to user-as-reader issues in practice, but instead focuses on the lack of rhetorical emphasis in public statements of the purpose of library publishing. A follow-up study will seek to establish baseline data on what library publishers do in practice in this area. The literature review in the present article highlights examples of cases that have exposed quick looks at existing examples that suggest there may be some activity in this area.return to text

    6. John W. Maxwell, “Publishing Education in the 21st Century and the Role of the University,” Journal of Electronic Publishing 17.2 (2014). http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0017.205 return to text

    7. Jingfeng Jia, “Library Publishing as a New Model of Scholarly Communication,” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 40.4 (2009): 370–83, 372. http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jsp.40.4.370 return to text

    8. Ji-Hong Park and Jiyoung Shim, “Exploring How Library Publishing Services Facilitate Scholarly Communication,” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 43.1 (2011): 76–89, 86-7. http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/jsp.43.1.76 return to text

    9. Isaac Gilman, Library Scholarly Communication Programs : Legal and Ethical Considerations (Oxford: Chandos Publishing, 2013), 12.return to text

    10. Charlotte Roh, “Library-Press Collaborations: A Report for the University of Arizona Libraries and Press,” 2013. http://works.bepress.com/charlotteroh/3 As the final version of this article was being prepared, a revised version of this report was published in the proceedings of the 2014 Library Publishing Forum: Roh, Charlotte, “Library-Press Collaborations: A Study Taken on Behalf of the University of Arizona,” Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication 2.4 (2014): 49–67. http://dx.doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.1102return to text

    11. Anali Maughan Perry, Carol Ann Borchert, Timothy S. Deliyannides, Andrea Kosavic, and Rebecca Kennison, “Libraries as Journal Publishers,” Serials Review 37 (2011): 196–204. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00987913.2011.10765382 return to text

    12. Rebecca Kennison, Neni Panourgiá, and Helen Tartar, “Dangerous Citizens Online: A Case Study of an Author-Press-Library Partnership,” Serials 23.2 (2010): 145–49. http://dx.doi.org/10.1629/231456 return to text

    13. Nancy L. Eaton, Bonnie MacEwan, and Peter J. Potter, “Learning to Work Together: The Libraries and the University Press at Penn State,” Journal of Scholarly Publishing 35.4 (2004), 215–20, 218. http://dx.doi.org/10.1353/scp.2004.0020 return to text

    14. Patrick Alexander, James McCoy, Leila Salisbury, and Richard Brown, “Mixing Oil and Water: Recipes for Press-Library Collaboration,” Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference, 2011: 413–17, 416. http://dx.doi.org/10.5703/1288284314937 return to text

    15. Patrick H. Alexander, “Teaching an Old University Press Publisher New Tricks: Living in the Present and Preparing for the Future of Scholarly Communications,” Journal of Electronic Publishing 17.2 (2014), http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0017.202. return to text

    16. http://www.librarypublishing.org/about-us/background Accessed October 7, 2014.return to text

    17. http://www.librarypublishing.org/about-us Accessed October 7, 2014.return to text

    18. http://www.librarypublishing.org/about-us/mission Accessed October 7, 2014. return to text

    19. Seven institutions provided no mission statement or description.return to text

    20. For the purposes of this article, I do not make a distinction between “gratis” and “libre” open access models here—thus including those who said “freely available”—since the institutions themselves may be using “open access” in either way. Instances were counted regardless of how extensive the commitment: for example some institutions mention a single journal is open access, others indicate a broader preference.return to text

    21. The 2015 directory, released right as this article was submitted for review, shows a slight uptick in the overall percent of institutions mentioning open access in their mission statements: 78 of 126 (61.9%) did so. Notably, though, a few institutions removed any reference to open access from their missions despite the overall rise. An important caveat on this trend, though, is the difference in population: the overall rise of publishers in the directory, but also that this rise reflect the net additions with 39 new institutions in 215, and 28 which appeared in 2014 but not 2015. It is not clear why these institutions did not appear in 2015 beyond not having responded to the survey: i.e. whether any institutions ceased offering publishing services.return to text

    22. The others are Arizona State University, Auburn University, Brigham Young University, Pacific University, Purdue University, Thomas Jefferson University, and Monash University. In the 2015 edition, 12 explicitly mention readers as well (not the same twelve due to changes in the list of institutions), proportionally down against all OA mentions.return to text

    23. Brock University, Florida Atlantic University, Miami University, and the University of California system.return to text

    24. UTSA does not appear in the 2015 directory, which has a similarly slim representation of other reader issues.return to text

    25. Kevin Smith, “Lightning in a Bottle: Libraries, Technology and the Changing System of Scholarly Communications,” Proceedings of the Charleston Library Conference, 2009. http://dx.doi.org/10.5703/1288284314729 return to text

    26. Carol Tenopir, Rachel Volentine, and Lisa Christian, “Scholarly Reading by Faculty in the United States: Summary Results of a Study Conducted in 2012 in Five Universities” (2013): http://www.libvalue.org/documents/libvalue/publications/tenopir-volentine-christian-us-faculty-2013.pdf; Carol Tenopir, Rachel Volentine, and Lisa Christina, “Scholarly Reading by Graduate Students in the United States: Summary Results of a Study Conducted in 2012 in Four Universities” (2013): http://www.libvalue.org/documents/libvalue/publications/tenopir-volentine-christian-us-graduate-students-2013.pdf return to text