Digital Transformation of University-Run Journals
Open Access Academic Publishing University Publishing

Digital Transformation of University-Run Journals

Monali Ghosh
Monali Ghosh

The Much-Needed Evolution

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The current digital revolution is constantly nudging universities to embrace online publishing and content discovery techniques by undergoing legacy modernization. The changing dynamics of academic and scholarly publishing have pushed them to reshape their existing journal production workflows and systems.

While modern publishers and authors have switched to electronic publishing mode for improved content agility and visibility, institutional libraries/publishers are attempting to come to grips with the digital publishing system.

So, what is driving this change in the digital landscape and is likely to bring the new big wave of transformation in the academic publishing space?

Open Access (OA) Publishing Model; The Game-Changer for University-run Journals

Universities need to pivot from print or paywalled journals and implement open access publishing models for better scalability and discoverability of the journals. We all know that the digital setting is progressively open where readers have free multi-platform accessibility to content (scholarly articles, research publications, and academic journals) in the most readily available formats.

The digitally-driven research dissemination and increasing momentum in knowledge consumption have spurred the adoption of open access movement across the publishing market.

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As the OA continues to grow exponentially, university-run journals feel the need to liberate their research work among relevant audiences and scholarly communities by launching new OA journal publishing models.

For the unversed, there are three types of open access models commonly categorized into Gold, Green, Hybrid.

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Open Access Publishing Models
  • Gold OA — All the research content and articles in gold OA journals are available to all digital readers for free. Anyone can access academic or research papers published under gold OA journal (usually archived to institutional or subject repositories) without paying any subscription or signup fees. The author, author’s or researcher’s institution, or the research funder pays for the publication to cover the journal expenses such as manuscript production, review, formatting, and archiving costs.
  • Green OA — Green Open Access is a publishing model where the publisher or institutional library of a subscription journal allows authors to keep the non-commercial article rights and make their reviewed manuscripts or pre-publication versions available across open internet archives. Universities and institutions practicing the traditional subscription-based publishing method usually take the green OA route where many impose an embargo period, specific conditions for the publications to be openly accessible.
  • Hybrid OA — The hybrid OA model includes a subscription-based journal where one or more research papers and articles are made open to all readers on the internet while the rest of the content is paywalled, meaning only institutions or readers with paid subscriptions can access them. In a hybrid journal, authors who wish to make their articles OA pay an article processing charge (APC) to publishers (if necessary), and the payment for accessing closed articles of the journal takes place from the reader’s end.

Today, readers and audiences can be better engaged and served if the content they are looking for is easily available and open to access across various digital repositories or archives. Rather than taking a paid subscription approach, individual authors, publishers, or universities are willing to distribute their research via fully-OA journal models for global outreach.

To compete in the ever-changing digital publishing market, the need for attracting a large number of audiences and acquiring as many citations as possible is now more than ever. Researchers and institutions that fund their students’ research aim to have their work cited, directly contributing to the high impact factor of journals.

Therefore, the continuum of scholarly communications, including the creation, publication, dissemination, and discovery of academic research, is the new imperative. It has made the transitioning from print and paywalled journals to open access publishing models inevitable.

Digital Publishing is the Future of University-led, Academy-owned Journals

Making the radical shift from traditional publishing workflows to a modern framework to disseminate knowledge effectively has become indispensable for academic institutions and universities.

However, university administrators, librarians, and press directors have limited experience in electronic publishing due to low tech momentum. To extend their capabilities and expand the visibility of academic journals to wider audience sets, they need to harness the power of digital technologies, intelligent platforms, and OA publishing models in the rise.


Surviving the Digital Disruption with an E2E Journal Management Platform

Although the open access landscape looks promising, the concern of journal production and publishing costs incurred in the process lies at the center of the debate, including the uncertainty of the OA model’s sustainability. Furthermore, what makes university libraries hesitant to participate in the open access movement is the pressure to cut back on expenditure and decrease journal budgets that continues to stay put.

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Most of the university-based journals are either print journals or run by service-based, third-party vendors.

Since authors and research students submit their manuscripts in MS Word or PDF formats, universities have to pay these service providers to re-construct the manuscripts (unstructured or semi-structured data) into an XML-converted file (semantic data) — the standard electronic publishing and data interchange format.

On the other hand, generating digital journals manually not only requires technical expertise but also adds up to the publishing costs we just talked about.

So, how can academic institutions flip their journals into cost-efficient, sustainable publishing models in compliance with open access mandates and policies?

Typeset enables universities to digitize their legacy journals and maintain a strong digital focus.

Typeset helps academic institutions, student-run journals, and university-run libraries switch to digital publishing by providing an easy-to-use, efficient, and robust publication platform. It empowers them to generate search-engine-friendly file formats such as PDF, HTML, XML, and Epub, as most of these formats are used for digital publishing to increase the digital readership.

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Unlike traditional publishing systems or tools, Typeset helps universities maximize their institutional research output by catering to phase-by-phase requirements of a typical publishing workflow:

  • It simplifies the publication process with automated generation and conversion of manuscripts into PDF, JATS XML, ePUB, and HTML at very economical costs.
  • Typeset exports manuscripts into desired machine-readable formats and fast tracks the publishing which helps increase the visibility of the published articles.
  • The platform hosts and consolidates all the information into a comprehensive picture of cutting-edge research. This leads to the easy discovery of journals and research work across digital channels and web search engines.
  • Typeset also helps the journals integrate with major discovery services such as Google Scholar and web archives in just a few clicks.

Every digital journal needs to be archived in a web-native form with deep linking, web interoperability, and rich indexing to increase its reputation in the long run. XML being one of the primary requirements in indexing and semantic tagging, Typeset provides it by default.

And the best part? Researchers, librarians, or administrators do not require any expertise to use it.


Bottom Line:

Universities should prioritize the adoption of open access journal publishing to accelerate speed-to-market and augment audience engagement. Institutional libraries that are still stuck in the conundrum of whether to rely on online publishing methods will fail to bridge their digital gaps and stay ahead of the curve.

Like it or not, OA journals are the new normal, and the scholarly publishing industry will witness a boom in digital literacy in the coming years. To successfully thrive in this digital era, bringing in an automated, cost-efficient platform for end-to-end journal production is a crucial step to take. Integrate Typeset today to transform your university’s journals and revolutionize how research articles are published or archived to digital and OA repositories.

Before You Go,

Appendix:

Did you find the above article insightful? Here are a few more blogs that might also interest you:

  1. Enabling the libraries of the future: Tools and systems for scholarly communications
  2. The Plight of Using Typesetting Services
  3. Open Access Mandates in Universities: Challenges and Opportunities
  4. 5 more ways Typeset is transforming research communication