Innovation in Digital Publishing: A Summary

By Cecy Marden, Wellcome Trust Open Access Project Manager

On January 5, the last day of the 2015 American Historical Association Conference, a panel of people from “other disciplines,” chaired by digital historian Stephen Robertson,  spent two hours discussing innovation in digital publishing in the humanities. The audience did an astonishing job of summarizing the discussion on Twitter which @EstherRawson kindly Storified.

Matthew K. Gold (New York City College of Technology and City University of New York, Graduate Center) kicked off proceedings talking about creating well-designed open-source platforms that trace scholarly creation in all its versions and forms. Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Modern Language Association) extended this thread to highlight the social challenges faced by scholarly societies in creating communication platforms for their members. Martin Eve (Open Library of Humanities), Cecy Marden (Wellcome Trust) and Lisa Norberg ( K|N Consultants) discussed approaches to making open-access publication financially sustainable, considering the roles played by publishers, funders, librarians, and institutions in innovative digital publishing in the humanities.

The intentionally short presentations left us with an hour and a half for discussion, which the audience had no problem filling with questions. We ranged over how to overcome the social challenges identified by Kathleen and how to preserve the increasing variety of “stuff” that constitutes scholarly communication. We looked at whether researchers are being rewarded for the innovative work they do, and the fact they are not being rewarded for ongoing projects. We ran out of time before we ran out of questions, so if the Storify, or the blog posts by the panelists, leave you with a burning question please ask it in a comment.