Publishing as a package deal – How a small press can address the digital challenge

Collaboration is the key to success for smaller publishers. This time of year calls for a look in the rearview mirror to see what the result of all our collaboration is. What did it mean for us to participate, network and share knowledge with our colleagues in organisations such as OASPA, AEUP, ALPSP, OPERAS, and the Ubiquity Partner Network?

Publishing, a collaborative tradition

There is a long tradition of collaboration between academic journal publishers, which you can find the result of within organisations and committees such as STM, ALPSP, OASPA, COPE, and others. In recent years, we have seen a lot of new university presses, like us, sprouting. This movement has for example been described in the report Changing publishing ecologies. A landscape study of new university presses and academic-led publishing by Janneke Adema and Graham Stone. The report emphasises the ongoing collaboration between presses, consisting of activities such as sharing services to reduce costs and sharing knowledge to grow and learn. Stockholm University Press has been a collaborative organisation from the very beginning as we joined the Ubiquity Partner Network to run our entire technical and production environment sustainably. However, it is commonly known that collaboration is not just roses and daisies but also require some hard work and engagement. It is now time to take a step back and look in the rearview mirror to see the result of the work we have accomplished together in different constellations.

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Visibility through shared services and networks

With the help of our colleagues and partners, we can tackle challenges together. One such thing to manage for a small book and journal publisher is visibility. How do we, for example, get readers to our books, and how do we gain trust from authors? While the academic journal publishers came together to organise and develop a new paradigm to develop digital publishing systems in the late 1990ies, the academic book market is still struggling with digital distribution when it comes to such things as standardisation of digital platforms, object identifiers, metadata, distribution channels and so on. An infrastructure for sharing information about new books to libraries and book buyers is essential for any publisher, but even more so when there is no room in the budget for dedicated sales staff. In our model by using databases and services such as OAPEN, DOAJ, and DOAB, which all helps us to distribute information about new content. The work to connect content is managed via our provider, Ubiquity Press.

Now with online annotation for books

This year, we are also most pleased with developments that allow online annotation for all our books via Hypothes.is. This service allows all users to highlight and add notes while reading, and they can choose to make the comments public or private. It works for PDF files as well! This significant development has been possible for us due to the collaboration with Ubiquity Press and their engagement in the HIRMEOS project. So, the partnership works directly as well as indirectly.

We have been busy collaborating this year!

We have in addition to the above of course done much more this year. Here are some of the activities within the networks and organisations where we have contributed or participated:

These activities are all contributing to the work with making Stockholm University Press a reliable, up-to-date, relevant and fun publishing partner. We are looking forward to seeing more results of our collaborative efforts benefit the authors and editors working with us in the coming years.

This blog post was written by Sofie Wennström, Managing Editor, Stockholm University Press

We have written about the importance of collaboration before as well, see for example Why European University Presses Need to Collaborate More, by Christina Lenz.

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