Functioning in the Grey: Kennesaw State University’s Library Journal Publishing Projects
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The Digital Commons @ Kennesaw State University operates in the grey areas between publisher and repository, autonomous unit and library resource, facilitator and collector. Utilizing the Digital Commons, a Berkeley Electronic Press platform, Kennesaw State University has had some success with its various journal-publishing projects by encouraging faculty and student involvement. However, publishing existed in relatively uncontrolled and unstable ways prior to 2015. With the development of policies and procedures to streamline journal intake, start up, and execution, great strides have been made to tighten up the vision of the publishing wing without crossing over entirely into the terrain of university press. We are walking that fine line.
The KSU Press, which published monographs by community members and faculty, recently closed its doors and created a void in our university’s publishing output, leaving the Digital Commons as the sole academic publishing arm. Its legacy has not remained entirely intact, as the reasons for it shutting down were never fully disclosed. Some speculation and hearsay has circulated, tinged with negativity. Resurrecting the KSU Press is an unlikely possibility because of it. Again, we are walking that fine line, existing and functioning and growing in the grey areas.
Our task is to embrace the ambiguous nature of our publishing platform, not as a university press, and not as just a repository. This delicate balance has created opportunities for valuable exploration into what publishing means, what policies are needed, and what the Library’s role is in the creation, publication, dissemination, and preservation of scholarship, research, and creative output. We believe that this can be done by first understanding our limitations on budget, time, and reach, and then building workflow and organization from within those walls. An unpaid internship program, for example, is in our plan to work within those limitations in a creative way that gives back to our student population with priceless experience in an ever-growing field.
In the future, we hope to structure our publishing services even further in ways that encourage our faculty, involve our students, and support our editors and authors. We will be hiring librarians to assist in these larger goals, including a Scholarly Communications Librarian and possibly a Data Librarian, who will work in tandem with the Digital Commons to be the focal point for academic publishing on campus. But for now, the Digital Commons will continue exploring all the various and creative possibilities in the grey.