Skip to Main Content

Scholarly Communication Toolkit: Library Publishing Programs

Library Publishing Programs

Libraries, on their own or in collaboration with their university presses, are publishing open access journals, developing subscription-based journal publishing programs, publishing monographs and conference proceedings, and digitizing and publishing parts of their physical collections. Digital repository technologies and services are sometimes the starting point for publishing services and sometimes come later as a necessary function to archive the publications.

Most libraries are translating traditional library services into digital ones by providing storage and tools for discovering scholarship that is still largely shaped and processed by research faculty. Some library/university collaborations are beginning to push the envelope of their services and becoming involved in scholarly communication activities such as: Facilitating author/publisher rights determination, assembling editorial boards for newly formed journals, developing alternative peer review mechanisms, experimenting with alternative scholarly products such as remix and reuse of textbook-like content, providing integral support in academic conference management (including proceeding publication) through systems such as the Open Conference System, and developing systems for dataset archive and publication.

Journals are the most common type of publication in library programs. Libraries can offer small scholarly and scientific societies an alternative to contracting with large commercial publishers.There are also a growing number of partnerships between university libraries and presses, as university presses seek to provide a way for scholars to publish the traditional monograph while facing budget pressures and a reduced market for the narrowly focused monograph still required for tenure and promotion. There are innovative ways of achieving these partnerships, many of which cross traditional boundaries and go far beyond monographs. 

To address the growth of library publishing programs and provide a forum for discussion and sharing of ideas, the Library Publishing Coalition was launched in 2013 as an organization dedicated to “advancing the emerging field of library publishing.”

Library Publishing Tools and Resources

Additional Reading

David G. Tracy. "Libraries as Content Producers: How Libraries Address the Reading Experience." College & Research Libraries (publication date May 2017, pre-print available now).

Maria Bonn & Mike Furlough (Eds). Getting the Word Out: Academic Libraries as Scholarly Publishers. ACRL: Chicago, IL 2015 (available as a free e-book)

Karla Hahn. Research Library Publishing Services. Report of the Association of Research Libraries. 2008 (PDF)

Anne Okerson & Alex Holzman. The Once and Future Publishing Library. CLIR. 2015 (PDF)