Quality communication: is there a best practice for all library publishing programs?

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Laird, Allyson
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IFLA Special Interest Group (SIG) on Library Publishing
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Communication with editors and journal managers in a library publishing program looks different across all institutions. Each library publishing program differs in the amount of staff and support they have, so the amount of time available to spend overseeing each journal publication and communicating with their editors also varies. Library publishers have the additional challenge of working with both traditional publications and bespoke or otherwise explorative publications with less defined measurements of success and quality. Student-run journals or faculty journals that do not publish on a specific schedule, for example, are important for library publishing programs to support, but they pose specific challenges when it comes to editor communication and discussions of quality. At Penn State, our solution is to publish with two levels for our journal publications, a “Supported” and “Imprint” level, which allows us to differentiate between these publication types. With these levels, new journals are able to move up in support after we discern their publishing quality and timeliness. Other library programs do not differentiate between these publications and support all of them in similar ways. However, neither framework defines how often communication with each editor should be made, and thus editors are often only communicated with when a problem arises on their end, rather than with consistent follow up and guidance from the library publisher. I would like to suggest that a method of consistent communication is necessary for all types of publications, even if the application looks different across library publishing programs with different levels of staff and support. This paper and the discussion at the IFLA SIG on Library Publishing highlights some important differences between library and commercial publishers, and identifies some questions that library publishers should be asking to help formulate a method and model for communicating with editors, which can be adapted to work for all types of library publisher.