12 Survey Results: Executive Summary
Lessons Learned and Additional Comments
Lessons learned and additional comments were also solicited from respondents. Many lessons were
elicited from new publishing initiatives, including the need for:
sufficient staffing,
proper scoping to implement a service program rather than boutique one-off support,
service tiers for structuring support and guiding conversations,
service framework alignment with the library mission and integration into the strategic plan
structural and organizational documentation support processes (e.g., MOUs, formal service
agreements, policies, best practices, standard publishing contracts with clear deadlines),
clear communication on what services are and are not offered, and
participation in the professional community’s organizations (e.g., Library Publishing
Other findings on lessons learned were specific to publishing. The most common single
recommendation was to work closely with the institutional press, where one exists, whenever possible,
even if it seems like the library publishing and press activities are discrete. Multiple respondents noted
the value of having advisory or steering committees to guide and support publishing. Several respondents
stated that publishing requires a great deal of time to implement as a program, and more time than would
generally be expected for library programs. One respondent noted the importance of separate branding
for works that are heavily peer-reviewed versus those that are produced with less editorial investment.
Similarly, one respondent recommended implementing a call for proposals process with an evaluative
component to support selection and decision-making for new publications, which would then have the
attendant supports based on the editorial level. In addition to lessons learned, respondents provided
additional comments and several noted the importance of journal hosting for publishing. Others noted
that the growth in open educational resources (OERs) may drive development for formalizing library
publishing activities.
Considerations and Recommendations
As an initial snapshot of ARL member involvement with library publishing and presses, the results of this
inquiry document the current level of complexity. While an increasing number of institutional presses
now report to libraries, this relationship often remains administrative rather than representing integrated
operations. Survey responses indicate that presses report to libraries primarily for financial reasons and
following the retirement or departure of key personnel. Further, the survey results show that the majority
of work in library publishing thus far has focused on providing journal hosting and repository platforms.
There is less work to date on the acquisitions (also what presses term curatorial) and editorial aspects
that are core to institutional presses. In this regard, the survey suggests that curatorial and editorial work
is an area for potential future growth for library publishing, and one that will require or at least benefit
from close collaboration and learning from university presses.
Respondents’ comments suggest that one way to accomplish this synergy is to establish and
operate advisory boards for library presses and publishing and, where applicable, to have librarians
serve on university press advisory boards that include stakeholders to review editorial practices and
operational designs. Since many respondents noted the differences in cultures and practices around
finances, libraries with institutional presses would be well-served through shared advisory boards
and other mechanisms to establish common terminology, share cultural practices, and share business
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