Why Publishing?

Our mission is to maximize access to scholarly publications for the benefit of users across the State, nation, and world while finding ways to sustain our publishing program financially. We believe in fair pricing, liberal author rights, and in pushing the boundaries of Open Access.

More and more academic libraries are choosing to become publishers of original content. A project conducted 2010 by three libraries including Purdue, with funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS), found that over 55% of respondents to a survey of all sizes of academic libraries were either implementing or developing library publishing services (http://wp.sparc.arl.org/lps). Of the largest research libraries (members of the Association of Research Libraries) over three-quarters of the survey respondents either had publishing services or were developing them.

While the vast majority of these programs had been founded with the broad remit of “contributing to change in the scholarly publishing system,” many found more focused opportunities in responding to the unmet publishing needs of their campus faculty, staff, and students. These tend to revolve around the creation of niche journals, often in interdisciplinary fields; the publication of online conference proceedings; the more systematic dissemination of gray literature such as technical reports; and the support of experimental projects in areas such as digital humanities.

Where possible, libraries have also been partnering with each other or with university presses to explore opportunities for better supporting and transforming the more formal system of scholarly communication which is widely believed to be unbalanced, with too much power vested in large commercial publishers. In this context, the concept of Open Access publishing, where the cost of publication is shifted from the consumer to the producer, has attracted much interest among libraries, and many libraries publishing programs are adamantly Open Access in orientation despite some of the issues around sustaining such a system that continue to be debated.