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Publishing Models

New publishing models for scholarly communication are "new" because they offer a new genre (or form of presentation), business model, new way for authors and readers to communicate, approach to peer review, or some combination of these. One common factor is that they are Internet-mediated. New models also may combine forms of content that could not usefully be published together in print form. Research articles can be integrated with primary source material on a single site, commentary can be integrated into a monograph, learning objects, working papers, and a blog may be available from a single site.

Entirely new dissemination processes create opportunites for researchers to share and make openly accessible the results of their work more broadly than in the past. Research funders are requiring authors to deposit some copy of their work into public repositories.

New models are not hypothetical or looming on the horizon; scholars and researchers today are profoundily reshaping their communication practices. ARL initiated a study in 2008 to describe these new model publications. The study had two segments: the first phase--the field study--engaged librarian volunteers in arranging structured conversations with faculty members at their institutions to learn about new model publications that are currently in use by scholars and researchers, while the second phase consisted of interviews with selected managers of new model works and the preparation of a study report. ARL contracted with Ithaka to manage the field study and to write the final report, Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication (PDF)

University Publishing

University publishing opportunities burgeoned with the development of the Internet and the World Wide Web. In addition to university presses, a wide range of campus units (including libraries) are publishing digital works--new genres as well as traditional forms. 

At meeting in August 2008, four leading associations serving research universities, the Association of Research Libraries, the Association of American Universities, the Coalition for Networked Information, and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (now the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities), convened a roundtable discussion to engage provosts, chief research offiecers, chief information officers, senior faculty, and library and university press directors to identify actions that should be taken to expand the dissemination of the full range of products of the university community's research and scholarship. The University's Role in the Dissemination of Research and Scholarship—A Call to Action (PDF) was issued in February 2009.


University Publishing in a Digital Age (PDF) by Laura Brown, Rebecca Griffiths, and Matthew Rascoff (Ithaka, July 2007)

Special Double Issue on University Publishing (PDF) ARL Bimonthly Report no. 252/253 (June/August 2007). Includes a summary of the Ithaka study, a response to the study, and three cases of new kinds of university/library publishing. 

Digital Repositories

Digital repositories are important infrastructure for disseminating and curating a wide range of digital works. Repositories managed by research libraries usually collect locally authored and locally produced works and provide a persistent way to make scholarly research and learning content discoverable and accessible. These repositories may be subject or institutional in their focus and many support administrative processes. Repository content may be born digital, and often includes pre-publication versions of works to be published elsewhere or files resulting from local scanning or other reformatting activities. Most of the content is made openly accessible and libraries commit to its preservation. ARL and its partners have tracked the development of repositories in research libraries for many years.

Most digital archives comply with the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH) for repository interoperability. Data providers are repositories that expose structured metadata via OAI-PMH and service providers then make OAI-PMH service requests to harvest that metadata. Researchers can find a work in an an OAI-compliant archive without knowing which archives exist, where they are located, or what they contain. 


The Research Library's Role in Digital Repository Services (PDF)  Final Report of the ARL Digital Repository Issues Task Force (Washington DC: ARL, January 2009)

Institutional Repositories (PDF)  SPEC Kit 292 (Washington DC: ARL, July 2006)

Institutional Repositories: Essential Infrastructure for Scholarship in the Digital Age (PDF) by Clifford A. Lynch. ARL Bimonthly Report no. 226 (February 2003)

The Case for Institutional Repositories: A SPARC Position Paper (PDF) by Raym Crow. ARL Bimonthly Report no. 223 (August 2002)

Organizations and Directories

COAR: The Confederation of Open Access Repositories

OpenDOAR: The Directory of Open Access Repositories

Repository66: Repository map mashup

ROAR: Registry of Open Access Repositories


Libraries as Publishers

Seeking transformative approaches to scholarly publishing, research libraries have been developing programs offering a set of core publishing services to editors and partners. These library services leverage new capabilities and new economies. Libraries are supporting these services by reallocating resources, partnering, seeking synergies with related services, and developing modest revenue streams. Libraries generally are not aspiring to replicate traditional publishing services, but rather are focusing on the capabilities and possibilities of new publishing models. 


Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing (PDF) by Karla L. Hahn (ARL, March 2008)

Research Library Publishing Services: New Options for University Publishing and New Roles for Libraries (PDF) by Karla Hahn, in ARL Bimonthly Report no. 258 (June 2008)

Publishing Support for Small Print-Based Publishers: Options for ARL Libraries (PDF) Report prepared for ARL by October Ivins and Judy Luther, Informed Strategies (ARL, February 2011)

Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success: Final Research Report (PDF) by James L. Mullins, Catherine Murray-Rust, Joyce L. Ogburn, Raym Crow, October Ivins, Allyson Mower, Daureen Nesdill, Mark Newton, Julie Speer, and Charles Watkinson (SPARC, March 2012)

CNI Executive Roundtable (December 2012): Institutional Strategies & Platforms for Scholarly Publishing

Public Knowledge Project, Open Journals System

University of Pittsburgh, University Library System, ULS E-Journal Publishing 

SPARC Campus-Based Publishing Resource Center 

Library Publishing Coalition



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The Scholarly Publishing & Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) Logo