Chefs de Cuisine: Perspectives from Publishing’s Top Table – Charles Watkinson – The Scholarly Kitchen

“In developing services, our philosophy is “first of a kind, not one of a kind.” A good example is the Fulcrum publishing platform, developed with support from the Mellon Foundation and now self-sustaining. Fulcrum shares an open-source backend with the Deep Blue data repository. That means every type of output is a first-class publication: A Fulcrum-hosted monograph with integrated multimedia gets the same stewardship commitment that Deep Blue applies to health sciences research data. And the creator of a research dataset gets the same rich metrics (e.g., citations, altmetrics, downloads) that we would deliver to a monograph author….

I think we’re at the “so now what” stage of open access (OA). With a critical mass of freely-available, reusable literature and data, what tangible benefits can publishers offer society? And how should publishers format and distribute the outputs of open scholarship to turn free access into valuable access? With this question in mind, we’re doing several things at Michigan: expanding discovery networks (e.g., creating best practices for research data through the Data Curation Network, delivering OA books to public libraries via the Palace project, highlighting quality certification via the DOAB PRISM service), making sure our platforms and content are accessible (staying current with Benetech Certified Global Accessible audits, making monographs available as audiobooks through the Google Text-to-Speech program) and scoping open source integrations with partners that complement Fulcrum’s functionality (working with Mellon and the Big Collection initiative to integrate Fulcrum, Manifold, and Humanities Commons, and integrating Fulcrum repository functionality into the Janeway journals platform). 

We’re also focused on how to measure and communicate the greater reach and engagement OA enables. We’re working with Curtin University to refine a publicly-accessible Books Analytics Dashboard and partnering with Jisc and Lyrasis to expand US participation in IRUS repository statistics. The IP Registry is developing a product with us to identify the institutional use of OA books, and we’re supporting the OAeBU project to build a trusted framework for publishers to exchange OA usage metrics. We recorded at least 12 million Total Item Requests in 2022 for Michigan Publishing publications. But that’s a meaningless number unless put in context.


Authors should never be required to pay to publish open works. Let’s try and avoid perpetuating or creating a new inequity of access. The Fund to Mission program, supported by our parent institution and more than 100 libraries, enables this for U-M Press. We also partner with a consortium of over 50 liberal arts colleges to run Lever Press as a truly diamond open-access book publisher. The capacity to do such work is building. I particularly credit Lyrasis Open Programs, the BTAA Big Collection academy-led publishing program, the American Council of Learned Societies Publishing Initiatives, the S2O community of practice, and the Open Access Books Network….

I worry that larger publishers with better resources to handle complexities like transformative agreements are sucking away the resources to support open-access books and journals. Small, independent publishers (barely for-profit, if commercial) face similar challenges to university presses. We must ensure that funder and library policies don’t accidentally erase the bibliodiversity that independent and institutional presses have brought to their regions and disciplines for decades. I am particularly excited by the potential that Path to Open (JSTOR) and the 

Multimodal Publishing – First International Symposium, February 23-25, 2022 (in person & online)

The First International Symposium on Scholarly Multimodal Publishing will be held at the University of Victoria Legacy Art Gallery from February 23-25, 2022 in Victoria, BC. Publishing multimodal research (video, sound clips, graphic stories, etc.) can be challenging for scholarly journals. There is no standard for guiding the peer review processes of these multimedia texts. It is also unclear how Open Access platforms (i.e. OJS) can technically support multimodal publications. This symposium aims at reflecting on how non-standard innovative scholarly works can be published and disseminated in scholarly journals. 

During this two-day event, experts, scholars, librarians and graduate students will be invited to share their knowledge, expertise and ideas about how to develop standards to guide peer review processes of multimodal submissions, as well as to identify the technical challenges and opportunities afforded by Open Access production and publishing platforms. 

Designing a useful textbook for an open access audience – Q and A with Filipe Campante, Federico Sturzenegger and Andrés Velasco, authors of Advanced Macroeconomics: An Easy Guide? | Impact of Social Sciences

Textbooks play an important role in defining fields of research and summarising key academic ideas for a wider audience. But how do you do this for an open access audience that is potentially unlimited? We talked to Filipe Campante, Federico Sturzenegger and Andrés Velasco¸ authors of the recently published LSE Press book Advanced Macroeconomics: An Easy Guide, about how the field has changed in recent times, what makes their approach to macro-economics distinctive, and what rationales and ambitions lie behind producing an open access textbook.

The medical journal as an open access multimedia platform for medical communication

“Medical journals are in the business of communication. Rapid changes in information dissemination mean that some journals, while conscientiously focused on improving the traditional journal model, have slipped out of step with modern communication practice. In keeping with the rest of the communication industry, medical journals will need to become more responsive, open, and accessible, focus on their changing audience, move from passive to active research dissemination, and create content in multiple formats. This is not about the future, it is about catching up with the present.”

Meiner forskarar må ha rett til å «klippe og lime» frå publiserte artiklar

From Google’s English:  “As I envision the future, the research articles are to a greater extent hypertext with the integration of data, cross-links, codes and in my case sound and images. You can call it a multimedia article, which in many cases can be the basis for other research, says Jensenius, who is a music researcher….”