UKSG October webinar: The University Library as publisher. Can you? Should you?

uksg_zen_2012_logoThis webinar was held on Wednesday 29 October 2014 and was jointly presented by colleagues from the Universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh. The idea of the webinar was to understand how open access publishing initiatives can be delivered for academic staff and for students and to give some practical advice on how institutions might want to consider setting up a service. Janet Aucock of St Andrews opened the webinar and introduced some of the main themes. Jackie Proven of St Andrews and Angela Laurins of Edinburgh gave in depth case studies of their journal hosting services and covered all aspects of setup, staffing, costing and sustainability. Both institutions have extensive experience in using OJS (Open Journals System) for journal publishing and this was the main topic for the session. It was clear from the questions that came in before the webinar that participants were also very interested in open access publishing for other material, especially monographs. So this looks like a topic for further discussion and exploration.

Further key themes were trying to decide who is the publisher. Is it the journal editors, the academic department or is it the Library? Both Edinburgh and St Andrews offer journal hosting services and do not “publish” but it was felt that distinctions about publishing roles are becoming blurred anyway and that this sort of publishing is often a collaboration of people. Another major theme was how a journal hosting service can give great opportunities for journal editors to learn about the publication process and gain valuable experience. Services are not so much about supplanting existing established journals but giving new journals and their creators the opportunity to get involved with ways of exchanging their ideas and learning new skills. Journal hosting services also work well when they are part of wider open access services because they can demonstrate open access in action.

The webinar also picked up on themes first posted to the LOCH blog in August 2014 when the “University Library as publisher” was a themed workshop at this year’s Repository Fringe. We were particularly pleased to be able to deliver this webinar knowing that both St Andrews and Edinburgh are part of the Pathfinder projects and are collaborating together on the LOCH project with Heriot Watt. Collaboration and best practice are important themes in the LOCH project “which seeks to provide case studies of evidence of best practice in relation to OA workflows”. Models for good practice for open access compliance are built on author awareness about open access issues. Both St Andrews and Edinburgh can see real value in their Journal Hosting Services from the perspective of developing open access awareness among their journal editors and submitting authors. This theme came through very strongly in the webinar and we believe that our services will continue to develop these skills among our users, especially undergraduates and postgraduates who will become the next generation of academic authors and who will be much more familiar with open access publishing.

Slides from the presentations are at:

and also archived at:

Edinburgh’s Journal Hosting service is at:

St Andrews Journal Hosting service is at:

Blog post written by Janet Aucock, Jackie Proven and Angela Laurins

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