Universities as publishers

Recently I have been thinking about the possible role of universities as publishers.

Imagine a university using its infrastructure to host a (specialized or mega-) journal. The publisher would have in-house experts that would serve as editors and reviewers, professionals that would help copy-editing, proofreading, and type-setting, and librarians who would keep the scholarly record up to date.

Such an arrangement would incentivize the development and adoption of alternative ways of presenting reearch output. For instance, data and materials would be hosted on the same servers that host the final paper, thus increasing openness and reproducibility. There could be large-scale experiments with interactive publications, similarly to what eLife is piloting in collaboration with Substance and Stencila (I presented a much simpler proof of concept at SIPS2018)

Perhaps this could even be a long-term goal of IGDORE: host the product of all researchers affiliated with the institution, require data sharing, and visualize the output interactively.

What do you think?

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I think Meta-Psychology is hosted by a Swedish uni.


I’d like to hear if @jon_tennant has any thoughts on Antonio’s post?

That’s the original way for academic publishing and I think we should very much come back to that.
Most if not all universities have some sort of repositories to archive their staff’s and srudent’s accomplishments. Just needs some common standard and marketing / interoperability with the rest of the world.


So yeah, the idea of universities/libraries as publishers isn’t that new! Eg https://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0017.207?view=text;rgn=main and see examples all over the US, and big publishers such as OUP and CUP in the UK. I think there has been a resurgence in discussion around this recently though, which is good. You would have to look into exactly what services to provide (e.g., more than just a repository), how much those would cost, how to host them, what sort of staffing/costs etc. are needed. Which is perhaps easier at larger, established institutes. Perhaps IGDORE could create a community-governed ‘journal’ of sorts though through the OJS that fulfills many of these roles?

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I used to work a University Press in the UK, and there are two difficulties to note:

  1. It’s hard to market to/get the content to such a wide array of audiences due to the number of subjects one institution may have faculties in.

  2. The other is convincing the academics to publish with you because you may not be well known enough for them to want to.

In all intents and purposes, the idea sounds good but it can be hard to put into practice for these reasons.

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