Innovation in Digital Publishing: blog series

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Guest post from Lisa O’Sullivan, Director, Center for the History of Medicine and Public Health
By now it’s axiomatic that the digital world poses new opportunities and challenges for researchers, libraries, educational institutions, and publishers, which must be engaged with digital formats in a sustained and thoughtful way. The realities of this landscape encompass challenges to traditional models of publication and new expectations around access to both historic collections and new research literature. Open Access (OA) publishing and archiving is a central one of these challenges.
Why is OA such a critical concern for libraries, researchers and publishers? (And why should you as a reader care?). In December 2013, we at The New York Academy of Medicine (NYAM) hosted an informal meeting around questions of OA. Participants discussed how issues of access to information have, ironically, been exacerbated by the growth of digital journals and electronic resources. Access to new research, whether in the sciences or humanities, is often prohibitively expensive for individuals and institutions. Authors struggle to make their work accessible to the broadest possible readership. Jill Cirasella at CUNY has produced an excellent summary of what’s at stake in discussions of OA.
The Wellcome Trust has been at the forefront in supporting open access to the research it funds in biomedical science and medical humanities, from its support of the open-access eLife journal and Europe PMC to ensuring that all research funded by the Trust is made freely available to users. As such, NYAM are delighted to be working with the Trust to coordinate a panel called Innovation in Digital Publishing in the Humanities at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting taking place in New York in January. The panel will be chaired by Stephen Robertson, professor and director of the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History & New Media at George Mason, whose Digital Harlem project has won multiple awards for innovation in digital history.
Our panel will examine OA from a number of perspectives. However the potentials (and associated challenges) of digital publishing go beyond OA to broader opportunities for readers, publishers, and writers in the digital world, whether relating to new ways of presenting archival material online, new ways of doing and sharing research, or new ways to engage larger audiences, and we will explore some of these as well.

We’ve asked our speakers to start the conversation early by giving their thoughts on the biggest challenge or opportunity facing digital publishing. This week, the blog series features two perspectives on Open Access and its implications, from Cecy Marden (Wellcome Trust) and Lisa Norberg (Barnard College Library). We will publish thoughts from Martin Eve (University of Lincoln and Open Library of Humanities), Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Modern Language Association), and Matthew K. Gold (New York City College of Technology and City University of New York, Graduate Center) over the next few weeks. Visit NYAM’s Innovation in Digital Publishing section to read them all as they go live.

Feel free to pose questions to the participants individually or as a group; they will respond on the blog and take your thoughts into consideration for the panel itself.

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