The Journal of Electronic Publishing (JEP) is a forum for research and discussion about contemporary publishing practices, and the impact of those practices upon users. More...
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- Volume 16, Issue 1Summer 2013
- Volume 15, Issue 1Summer 2012
- Volume 14, Issue 2Fall 2011
- Volume 14, Issue 1August 2011
- Volume 13, Issue 3December 2010
Volume 16, No. 1Current Issue
Rebecca Welzenbach and Jonathan McGlone
I'm delighted to hand over the reins of The Journal of Electronic Publishing to Maria Bonn (Editor) and Jonathan McGlone (Managing Editor). We at Michigan Publishing are excited to see the journal continue to feature new scholarship and create new opportunities for exploring and improving professional practice in the years to come.
Rice University Press (RUP), which began full operation in February 2007, proved a short-lived experiment. After three years of supporting one paid staff position and modest additional funding for contracted book design work, office expenses, and travel, Rice closed the press down as part of a larger, campuswide, budget-cutting effort. Faced with a choice between investing more financial and human capital in its press as a condition for gaining substantial foundation support or opting out of the experiment altogether, university administration chose the latter. Short-lived as the RUP experience was, it nevertheless offers some important lessons for people pondering the future of academic publishing and its inexorable move in a digital direction. There is no question that traditional printed-on-paper publishing is dying out and that it will be replaced by digital academic discourse distributed on a different economic model. There are, however, substantial questions about when and how this paradigm shift will come about, and the Rice University Press story may offer some answers.
Do developing countries profit from free books?: Discovery and online usage in developed and developing countries compared
For years, Open Access has been seen as a way to remove barriers to research in developing countries. In order to test this, an experiment was conducted to measure whether publishing academic books in Open Access has a positive effect on developing countries. During a period of nine months the usage data of 180 books was recorded. Of those, a set of 43 titles was used as control group with restricted access. The rest was made fully accessible.The data shows the digital divide between developing countries and developed countries: 70 percent of the discovery data and 73 percent of online usage data come from developed countries. Using statistical analysis, the experiment confirms that Open Access publishing enhances discovery and online usage in developing countries. This strengthens the claims of the advocates of Open Access: researchers from the developing countries do benefit from free academic books.
As its name suggests, “vanity publishing” did not acquire a stellar reputation in the twentieth century. Although some vanity publishers have served authors with niche audiences, others ran such notorious scams that they helped stigmatize the business of author-subsidized books. But fraud was only one reason for the stigma against vanity publishers. They were also criticized for producing low-quality books and failing to act as gatekeepers. By the late twentieth century, the stigma had received limited attention in scholarly literature, but among professional authors, publishers, and librarians, avoiding vanity presses was mostly common sense. Aspiring authors were warned that publishing with a vanity press could be a career-killer, and commentary in articles and trade journals suggested publishers and librarians were exasperated with the quality of the books that rolled from vanity presses and the treatment of authors who used them.