September 23, 2021

Just Published: “Books Contain Multitudes: Exploring Experimental Publishing” (A COPIM WP6 Research and Scoping Report)

The report linked below was recently published by COPIM.

From the Report’s Introduction:

Books contain multitudes: Exploring Experimental Publishing is a three-part research and scoping report created to support the Experimental Publishing and Reuse Work Package (WP 6) of the COPIM project. It also serves as a resource for the scholarly community, especially for authors and publishers interested in pursuing more experimental forms of book publishing.

COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) is a 3-year project led by Coventry University as part of an international partnership of researchers, universities, librarians, open access (OA) book publishers and infrastructure providers and is funded by The Research England Development Fund and Arcadia—a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin. COPIM is building community-owned, open systems and infrastructures to enable OA book publishing to flourish, delivering major improvements in the infrastructures used by OA book publishers and those publishers making a transition to OA. The project addresses the key technological, structural, and organisational hurdles—around funding, production, dissemination, discovery, reuse, and archiving—that are standing in the way of the wider adoption and impact of OA books. COPIM will realign OA book publishing away from competing commercial service providers to a more horizontal and cooperative knowledge-sharing approach.

As part of seven connected Work Packages, COPIM will work on 1) integrated capacity-building amongst presses; 2) access to and development of consortial, institutional, and other funding channels; 3) development and piloting of appropriate business models; 4) cost reductions achieved by economies of scale; 5) mutually supportive governance models; 6) integration into library, repository, and digital learning environments; 7) the re-use of and experimentation with OA books; 8) the effective and robust archiving of OA content; and 9) knowledge transfer to stakeholders through various pilots.

The Experimental Publishing and Reuse Work Package looks at ways to more closely align existing software, tools and technologies, workflows and infrastructures for experimental publishing with the workflows of OA book publishers. To do so, it will produce a set of pilot cases of experimental books, which will be developed with the aid of these new tools and workflows and integrated into COPIM’s infrastructure. As part of these pilot cases, relationships will be established with open source publishing platforms, software providers, and projects focused on experimental long-form publications and outreach activities will be conducted with OA book publishers and authors to further promote experimental publishing opportunities. This Work Package will also explore how non-experimental OA books are (re)used by the scholarly community. As such, it will examine those technologies and cultural strategies that are most effective in promoting OA book content interaction and reuse. This includes building communities around content and collections via annotations, comments, and post-publication review (e.g., via the social annotation platform hypothes.is) to enable more collaborative forms of knowledge production. To achieve this, this work package will map both existing technological solutions as well as cultural barriers and best practices with respect to reuse.

This Work Package will also produce an online resource to promote and support the publication of experimental books. This report has been produced to support both the development of this online resource and the pilot cases we are developing together with partner presses (including Open Humanities Press and Mattering Press). In parts one and two of this report, we situate experimental books in the context of academic research and map current experiments in book publishing in order to create a typology accompanied by a selection of examples of experimental book publishing projects. In part three of this report we then review existing resources on tools, platforms, and software used in the production of experimental books, and we sketch a roadmap and methodology towards the creation of the online resource mentioned previously. To support the pilot cases we have made a start with exploring two key practices within experimental publishing and the creation of experimental books that feature within this online resource: collaborative writing and annotation. As such we outline tools, platforms, software, and workflows that support and enable these practices next to describing the desired aspects we argue this technical infrastructure should cover.

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The title of this report, ‘Books Contain Multitudes,’ is based on a Twitter thread and blogpost by Julien McHardy for the workshop Verlage Selber Machen organised by the publishing initiative cache.ch.

Direct to Full Text Report

Hat Tip: LaList

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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