The SCOOP: Being a Good Shepherd: Creating a Culture of Open Access Publishing

Submitted by Christine Fruin, ATLA Member Programs and Scholarly Communication Manager

Last month I had the privilege of attending two conferences where I shared the good work of the ATLA Press and our progress in creating a culture of open access publishing for theological librarians and the populations they serve. During the NFAIS Open Access Conference on the theme of “Movements and Models of Open Access,” I joined publishers, funders, technologists, and other stakeholders to share how our respective organizations were furthering open access. I also attended the FORCE11 Annual Conference where I presented a poster highlighting the components of the ATLA Press and our future plans to establish a sustainable and progressive open access publishing program. Below are some of the highlights of what I shared during these two events.

Evolution of ATLA Press

During both conferences, I shared how ATLA Press evolved from a back-of-the-napkin sketch proposing a structure that brought together legacy publications like Theological Librarianship and new publication outlets, such as the open monograph program, into a unified program implementing standards and tools that one would expect of a professional scholarly open access publisher. At the top of this structure, the ATLA Press Coordinating Council (APCC) facilitates communications between the respective editorial boards, coordinates marketing, and refers, when appropriate, authors between publications.

The poster on the ATLA Press.

This scope statement defines the scholarly output and activities of the ATLA Press: The ATLA Press publishes open access works on subjects at the intersection of librarianship and religious and theological studies that potentially impact libraries. We seek to provide resources that guide and support innovative library services and enhance professional development.

Our scope statement reflects not only the larger mission of ATLA but also defines the types of books and journals that we will publish as well as host or digitally reprint. It is narrowly tailored to guide the work that we do and establish boundaries that reflect the scale of our program as well as respect the scope of ATLA database products.

As part of the evolution, we have implemented several improvements and developed workflows and guidelines to move the publishing program forward and to provide a positive experience for editors, authors, and readers. We have upgraded the OJS and OMP platforms on which our open journals and open monographs are published to the most recent versions. We also are in the progress of moving Theology Cataloging Bulletin and the annual ATLA Summary of Proceedings to OJS.  We have revised the author agreements across publications to clarify rights retained by authors as copyright holders. All publications produced by ATLA Press also now bear a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license for the benefit of readers worldwide.

Most notably, we have adopted the Model Publishing Contract for Digital Scholarship for our open monographs. Finally, and most recently, to reflect past activity and future plans, we adopted an organizational and workflow structure for the open monograph program to reflect the three means by which books come to be available through ATLA Press: Scholarly Editions (books that are accepted and reviewed by the editorial board), Association Editions (output that is directed by ATLA staff and may be the product of work done by its committees), and Digital Reprints (digital versions of previously published books that fall within the scope of ATLA Press).

Future Directions

Christine Fruin presenting at the 2018 NFAIS Open Access Conference.

As ATLA Press looks to the future, we intend to take advantage of strategic partnerships to grow our program and provide opportunities for our members to engage with modern library publishing. We joined the CrossRef organization earlier this year for the purpose of registering DOIs and depositing metadata for our journal and monograph content and facilitate discovery of that content. We recently completed registering the full ten-year archive of Theological Librarianship with CrossRef and expect authors to begin seeing the results of additional discovery and access points that DOI registration and metadata deposit will provide.

We also finalized a plan to collaborate with the Coko Foundation to beta test a hosted version of Editoria, a web authoring and editing software program which is part of the PubSweet publishing services. We intend to use Editoria as a supplement to the editorial workflow in OMP to facilitate ease of authoring and editorial commenting on our monographs as well as streamline the layout and production stage of publication.

The APCC will also have its first student member following a successful search for a current library student to assist the open access publishing program with various tasks. This appointment will provide the student with a further education in open access and scholarly publishing as well as allow them the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with open source publishing platforms.

We also intend to continue offering professional development opportunities for ATLA members to learn more about open access publishing. After a successful interactive preconference on writing for publication at the 2018 ATLA Annual Conference, the APCC intends to offer a preconference in Vancouver in 2019 on the strategies and steps for creating a library-based publishing program. This workshop will draw upon modules developed by the Library Publishing Coalition and offer instruction and small group activities designed to inform attendees about the types of library-based publishing programs as well as the considerations involved in developing guidelines and workflows. We hope that you will be able to join us!

Further Reading

Christine Fruin is the ATLA Member Programs and Scholarly Communication Manager. As an attorney and a librarian, she has worked for over a decade promoting access to and use of diverse collections through utilization of fair use, open access, and responsible licensing.

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