“Let’s start a journal!”: The Multidisciplinary Graduate Student Journal as Educational Opportunity

The University of Lethbridge is a medium-sized, primarily undergraduate, comprehensive research university on the Canadian Prairies in Alberta. It has a small but growing graduate school, within which most students are studying at the masters level. For many years, the graduate student elected representative body, the Graduate Students Association (GSA), has sponsored an annual refereed conference, Meeting of the Minds. In 2015 the GSA decided to supplement this conference with an accompanying journal, also called Meeting of the Minds. This article discusses the lessons learned in establishing this journal and overseeing its first two years of operations (and first year of publication). The article concentrates on two sets of problems: 1) philosophical, economic, and sociological issues that arose at the conceptual level while establishing a multidisciplinary, institution-focused graduate journal; and 2) technical, bibliographic, organizational, and economic issues encountered in attempting to address these conceptual concerns and ensure the long-term viability of the research accepted and published. Although the journal was not able to solve all the problems that arose during the first two years of operation, several solutions on the organizational, technological, economic, and bibliographic levels were developed that might be used by others establishing similar scholar- or student-led journals.

The Secret

We may have entered the wrong carriage on the train from Cambridge to London; we are sure at least that the people having this conversation did not know that we overheard them. We did not take notes, but this is what we think they said:

An Editorial Farewell

Almost three years ago, in celebration of the twentieth anniversary of The Journal of Electronic Publishing, I sat down to reflect on the history of the journal and my relationship to it. I’ll quote here at length from my editorial note for that anniversary issue. I began by recalling my first encounters with JEP, circa 1997 when I was finding my way out of library school and on to the Web. As I said in 2015:

Practicing What You Preach: Evaluating Access of Open Access Research

The open access (OA) movement seeks to encourage all researchers to make their works openly available and free of paywalls so more people can access their knowledge. Yet some researchers who study OA continue to publish their work in paywalled journals and fail to make it open. This project set out to study 1) how many published research articles about OA fall into this category, 2) how many are being made open (whether by being published in a gold OA or hybrid journal or through open deposit), and 3) how library and information science authors compare to researchers from other disciplines who research OA. A sample from Web of Science (WOS) of articles published since 2010 shows that although a majority of research articles about OA are open in some form, a little more than a quarter are not. A smaller rate of library science researchers made their work open compared to non-library science researchers. In articles published in hybrid and open journals, authors who printed in an open journal were more likely to retain copyright ownership than authors who published in hybrid journals. Articles were more likely to be published with a Creative Commons license if published in an open journal compared to those published in hybrid journals.

Reimagining the Digital Monograph: Design Thinking to Build New Tools for Researchers

A JSTOR Labs ReportJune 2017Scholarly books are increasingly available in digital form, but the online interfaces for using these books often allow only for the browsing of portable document format (PDF) files. JSTOR Labs, an experimental product development group within the not-for-profit digital library JSTOR, undertook an ideation and design process to develop new and different ways of showing scholarly books online, with the goal that this new viewing interface be relatively simple and inexpensive to implement for any scholarly book that is already available in PDF form. This paper documents that design process, including the recommendations of a working group of scholars, publishers, and librarians convened by JSTOR Labs and the Columbia University Libraries in October 2016. The prototype monograph viewer developed through this process—called “Topicgraph”—is described herein and is freely available online at https://labs.jstor.org/topicgraph.

Why Book Processing Charges (BPCs) Vary So Much

Observers of monograph publishing often complain of a lack of transparency around publishing “costs”. There is the sense that BPCs are arbitrary and do not relate to real costs. In a landscape study covering eight European countries (Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway and UK) my colleagues and I came across BPCs ranging from €500 to €18,500 ($585 – $21,640). Here I aim to explain why by looking at what services are offered for a BPC and also explain why coming up with precise and comparable costs is problematic. The figures are taken mainly from UK and global English-language publishing, however, the basic considerations do not differ greatly from those found elsewhere. A glossary of accounting terms is provided at the end of this article. One purpose of this article has been to indicate that BPCs and APCs are not the same and to show how greater transparency can lead to getting to reasonable BPCs with less acrimony than has been the case with journal APCs.

Public Libraries as Publishers: Critical Opportunity

Libraries have a long and distinguished history of publishing, since their earliest days. Traditionally libraries published to expose their collections through bibliographies, facsimiles, and catalogs. While the Internet has made discovery and dissemination of library holdings easier than ever before, digital publishing technologies have also unlocked compelling new purposes for library publishing, including through Open Access publishing initiatives. The self-publishing explosion and availability of self-publishing tools and services geared to libraries have heralded new opportunities for libraries, especially public libraries, to engage their communities in new ways. By supporting self-publishing initiative in their communities, public libraries can promote standards of quality in self-publishing, provide unique opportunities to engage underserved populations, and become true archives of their communities.
Keywords: library publishing, self-publishing, public libraries

Rhyme or Reason?: Patterns in Book Pricing by Format

This study illuminates the differentials in book pricing by format, which can appear arbitrary and unpredictable. Using the paperback list price as the base, the research uses a sample of 500 titles selected for purchase by a small, private liberal arts college library during a defined time period. I have recorded the prices of paperback, hardcover, single and multiple-user e-books from Ebrary, EBSCO, and Amazon Kindle. The mean pricing differential is calculated for each version across all titles in the sample, as well as for the top five publishers represented in the sample, in order to identify patterns in pricing decisions.

Counting Research ? Directing Research: The Hazard of Using Simple Metrics to Evaluate Scientific Contributions (An EU Experience)

In many EU countries there is a requirement to count research, i.e., to measure and prove its value. These numbers, often produced automatically based on the impact of journals, are used to rank universities, to determine fund distribution, to evaluate research proposals, and to determine the scientific merit of each researcher. While the real value of research may be difficult to measure, one avoids this problem by counting papers and citations in well-known journals. That is, the measured impact of a paper (and the scientific contribution) is defined to be equal to the impact of the journal that publishes it. The journal impact (and its scientific value) is then based on the references to papers in this journal. This ignores the fact that there may be huge differences between papers in the same journal; that there are significant discrepancies between impact values of different scientific areas; that research results may be offered outside the journals; and that citations may not be a good index for value. Since research is a collaborative activity, it may also be difficult to measure the contributions of each individual scientist. However, the real danger is not that the contributions may be counted wrongly, but that the measuring systems will also have a strong influence on the way we perform research.Keywords: Counting research, h-index, journal publications, JCR, ranking

Peer Reviewing: A Private Affair Between the Individual Researcher and the Publishing Houses, or a Responsibility of the University?

Peer reviewing is mandatory for scientific journals as quality control of submitted manuscripts, for universities to rank applicants for scientific positions, and for funding agencies to rank grant applications. In spite of this deep dependency of peer reviewing throughout the entire academic realm, universities exhibit a peculiar lack of interest in this activity. The aim of this article is to show that by taking an active interest in peer reviewing the universities will take control over the management and policy shaping of scientific publishing, a regime that is presently largely controlled by the big publishing houses. The benefits of gaining control of scientific publishing policy include the possibility to implement open access publishing and to reduce the unjustifiably high subscription rates currently charged by some of the major publishing houses. A common international clean-up action is needed to move this pivotal element of scientific publishing from the dark hiding places of the scientific journals to where it should be managed: namely, at the universities. In addition to the economic benefits, we postulate that placing peer reviewing at the universities will improve the quality of published research.Keywords: Peer reviewing, scholarly publishing, publishing houses, funding agencies, grant applications, universities, open access

Enhancing Metacognition: Nursing Faculty’s Perceived Usage of Interactive E-Book Technologies

Professional nurses who teach other nurses combine experiences and knowledge from clinical and conceptual components of nursing practice. Nurse educators have advanced educational preparation in teaching, learning, and assessment; and are able to blend educational activities in the teaching of professional nursing. It is essential that new nurse educators implement current methodologies and strategies to advance learning in the practice of nursing. Nurse educators direct their efforts and attention to thinking and how information is processed. Metacognition is the act of thinking about your thinking and involves active control over the cognitive processes engaged in learning. Educators are interested in learning which activities and resources will influence cognitive and metacognitive development. Metacognition requires attention to how learning occurs. How do educators influence the thinking process in choosing variables for teaching? Livingston (1997) relates that metacognition requires attention to how learning occurs and identifies that the most effective mechanism is providing the learner with “both knowledge of cognitive processes and strategies using both cognitive and metacognitive strategies and evaluating the outcomes of their efforts” (3). It is the learner who acquires cognitive and metacognitive skills but the educator influences this process. How receptive are nurse educators to include resources in electronic formats to develop cognitive and metacognitive learning processes?

Editor’s Note

This editor is, somewhat ruefully, now in her third decade of immersion in digital publishing, decades spent largely in preparing and hoping to perfect documents for web delivery. Amongst the truths I now hold to be self-evident is that every few years I find myself in conversations in which the interlocutors question some of the heretofore-primary structures of publication. More than twenty years ago, I found myself engaged in heated debate about whether the page was a meaningful unit for infinitely scrolling documents delivered on the screen. Similarly, I argued both sides of questions about whether indices were useful and intellectually elaborate tools for analysis and discovery or moot in an era of easy full text search. Another recurring question throughout my (electronic) publishing career has been whether the concept of a journal issue continues to have utility in a delivery environment where articles can be published as soon as they are considered complete and ready.