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Open-access publishing is focus in California Digital Library’s latest project

The California Digital Library, which provides digital library services to the University of California libraries such as Powell Library, launched the Next Generation Library Publishing project to support open-access publishing. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Armando Carrillo

Sept. 9, 2019 12:52 a.m.

The California Digital Library launched a new project this month to support open-access publishing.

Arcadia, a charitable fund started by philanthropists Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, is funding the Next Generation Library Publishing project with a $2.2 million grant.

The CDL operates under the University of California Office of the President and provides digital library services for UC libraries.

Catherine Mitchell, a founder of the project and the director of publishing services for CDL, said the project aims to support open-access publishing by improving library publishing infrastructure.

Library publishers provide academic institutions, faculty and students with platforms to publish their research, Mitchell said. They also offer open-access publishing options, which make research publications freely available to the public, she added.

This project will ultimately support open-access publishing by making open-access library publishing a more robust alternative to commercial publishing options, she added.

The project will help enhance the UC’s own open-access publishing platform, eScholarship, she said.

Mitchell added she thinks academic institutions should exert more control over the dissemination of their research.

“Libraries have been supporting open-access publishing for several decades now,” Mitchell said. “But increasingly, we don’t have control over the platforms we use. They’re owned by commercial entities.”

The project’s partners include the CDL, Educopia Institute, Strategies for Open Science, Confederation of Open Access Repositories, Longleaf Services and Lyrasis, organizations that support the dissemination of knowledge.

The project’s team intends to build open-source tools, noncommercial tools that are community-owned, so the UC and other institutions can meet their publishing needs without using commercial services, she said.

“We feel that open-source tools are more mission-aligned with open-access publishing, but … we want those tools to be compelling alternatives, which means that they have equivalent services,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said academic institutions should support open access by improving their own publishing services in addition to establishing transformative open-access agreements with commercial publishers, such as the agreement between the UC and Cambridge University Press.

“We think it’s a moment where institutions can really start to publish in a big way, in open access, and start to change the nature of the publishing environment at a much bigger scale than we’ve been able to before,” Mitchell said.

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Armando Carrillo
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