The University Record, February 5, 2001

Rackham hosts panel on digital publishing of scholarly work

By Lynne Dumas
Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies

For more than a decade, scholars, students, librarians and publishers have watched and participated in the transformation of academic publishing, as more scholarly articles and books have moved to an electronic format. Some assert that the increase is due to rising costs in journal production and distribution, as well as the time lost in shipping manuscripts across the country to editors and publishing companies.

The Internet provides a lower cost of reproduction and distribution than print material. Along with having greater visibility due to more people gaining access to e-journals, scholars may view online publishing as a practicable alternative to the high-priced printed journal or specialized monographs.

“Research universities and their libraries now face greater challenges in keeping up with the demand for scholarly works,” says Earl Lewis, dean of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies. “To have one’s research printed in a top-flight journal is still an important measure of visibility for faculty. Publication is regarded as the principal channel through which individual faculty demonstrate their worthiness for tenure, promotion, grants and fellowships. In addition, research libraries, cramped for space, are seeking answers to this reality.”

These issues will be addressed in a panel discussion, “Publishing in the Digital World: What’s Practical, Reasonable and Obsolete,” at 3 p.m. Feb. 14 in Rackham Amphitheater. Speakers will discuss the impact of digital technology on the publication, distribution, audience and economic foundations of scholarly publications in the sciences, social sciences and humanities.

The panelists are:

  • Robert D. Simoni, who teaches at Stanford University and is deputy editor of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a publication of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the most highly cited journal in the biomedical sciences.

  • Monica McCormick, editor for U.S. history, ethnic studies and African studies at the University of California Press. She has been involved in the earliest efforts to publish books and journals online and is part of a working group with the California Digital Library, the University’s systemwide online library.

  • Chuck Myers, editor for political science, law and classics at Princeton University Press. Earlier, he worked on the integration of electronic and print publication on several projects at the U-M Press.

  • William Gosling, director of the University Library. He also serves on editorial boards of three journals, including Journal of Academic Librarianship and Cataloging and Classification Quarterly, and is a member of the U-M Press Executive Board.

    The panel will be moderated by LS&A Dean Shirley Neuman, who also is professor of English and of women’s studies.

    The program is sponsored by the Graduate School and the University Library.

    For more information, contact Lynne Dumas, (734) 647-2644 or ledumas@umich.edu.