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Digital publishing initiatives bring grant

Dr. Bonnie Robinson and April Loebick
Dr. Bonnie Robinson (right) and April Loebick

Digital publishing initiatives bring grant

In today’s digital world, information is often accessed at high speeds via the internet rather than by book or essay—a trend that is affecting change in areas where more traditional forms of publishing have existed for decades. Higher education is no exception, and Dr. Bonnie Robinson, professor of English at the University of North Georgia, has helped bridge the gap for the University Press by developing digital initiatives and helping to secure a Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The University Press is a scholarly, peer-reviewed press used to promote education, research, and intellectual activity, and provides students an environment to gain experience in publishing and marketing.

 

What are the advantages of digital publishing?

For publishers, digital publishing eliminates the paper, cover, binding, and printing costs associated with book production, as well as the print catalog production and delivery, the print advance readers’ copy production and delivery, and external metadata tracking costs associated with marketing. It also eliminates the warehousing, freight, damages to print units, overages, and insurance costs associated with delivery. For authors, the rapidity of publication as well as universal and general accessibility to audiences is extremely advantageous.

What are some of the challenges of this transition?

For a university press, the greatest challenge is securing for our authors professional development recognition for their digital-only scholarship. Instructors and administrators still privilege-print cloth-bound books when assessing the long-term value of research and scholarship. Sustainability is also a concern, especially with cloud storage.

How will the Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant help some of your current initiatives?

Double- or single-blind peer review, or refereed publication is still the most respected form of published scholarship; therefore, finding ways to systematize peer review processes for digital born scholarship, so that such digital publication earns authors credit toward tenure and/or promotion, will help our press function more efficiently and effectively.  We will find ways to continue to provide publishing services that authors and readers value the most—services like editing, peer review, marketing, and distribution—while eliminating or reducing those services that are less essential or in transition, such as print production. These intended grant outcomes will especially help our publishing Open Access Textbooks (open educational resources), global scholarly monographs and translations, and peer reviewed undergraduate research.

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