The Team of the Hybrid Publishing Lab at the Post-Digital Scholar Conference 2014

The Team of the Hybrid Publishing Lab at the Post-Digital Scholar Conference 2014

The con­fe­rence “Post-Di­gi­tal Scho­lar: Pu­blis­hing bet­ween Open Ac­cess, Pi­ra­cy and the Pu­blic Sphe­re” tur­ned in a good score­card with nine ses­si­ons, three work­shops, about 130 par­ti­ci­pants and 950 tweets. Or­ga­ni­zed by the Hy­brid Pu­blis­hing Lab, the con­fe­rence took place in Lüne­burg from 12 to 14 No­vem­ber 2014. In this re­port you can read more about the to­pics dis­cus­sed by in­ter­na­tio­nal scho­lars, pu­blis­hers, re­se­ar­chers, pro­gramm­ers, ar­tists and busi­ness ma­na­gers. Pu­blis­hers, en­tre­pre­neurs, li­bra­ri­ans, ar­tists and scho­lars came to­ge­ther in the Lüne­burg Mu­sic School from 12 to 14 No­vem­ber 2014 to dis­cuss the chal­len­ges and chan­ces for scho­lar­ly com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on in the di­gi­tal age. How are the wri­ting of aca­de­mic texts and the book for­mat chan­ging? What role should li­bra­ries play in the fu­ture? How can the de­mand for open ac­cess to scho­lar­ship be sa­tis­fied in an eco­no­mi­cal and aca­de­mi­cal­ly re­s­pon­si­ble way? And how can tra­di­tio­nal aca­de­mic pu­blis­hing hou­ses keep pace with the­se de­ve­lop­ments? The­se ques­ti­ons and others were in­ten­se­ly dis­cus­sed and so­me­ti­mes hot­ly de­ba­ted in nine pa­nels and three work­shops at the con­fe­rence “The Post-Di­gi­tal Scho­lar: Pu­blis­hing bet­ween Open Ac­cess, Pi­ra­cy, and the Pu­blic Sphe­re”.

The con­fe­rence was or­ga­ni­zed on by the Hy­brid Pu­blis­hing Lab of the In­no­va­ti­on In­cu­ba­tor at Leu­pha­na Uni­ver­si­ty of Lüne­burg. The 130 par­ti­ci­pants lar­ge­ly agreed that open ac­cess to aca­de­mic know­ledge should be sup­por­ted. As Fe­lix Ebert from the pu­blis­hing hou­se Wal­ter de Gruy­ter and the Pro­fes­sor of Book Stu­dies Chris­toph Bläsi made cle­ar, the­se days the ma­king of high-qua­li­ty pu­bli­ca­ti­ons is not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly any sim­pler or less ex­pen­si­ve than in the time of pre-di­gi­tal book pu­blis­hing. In this re­spect pu­blis­hers con­ti­nue to pro­vi­de an im­portant func­tion even when their role so­me­ti­mes shifts into the re­alm of a pu­bli­ca­ti­on ser­vice pro­vi­der’s.

Con­cerns were fre­quent­ly ex­pres­sed over the in­cre­a­sing con­cen­tra­ti­on in the pu­blis­hing mar­ket into the hands of a few glo­bal­ly ac­tive pu­blis­hers. This de­ve­lop­ment, com­bi­ned with the shrin­king bud­gets at uni­ver­si­ty li­bra­ries, me­ans that scho­lars are in­cre­a­sin­gly ope­ra­ting in a le­gal gray zone when they pu­blish their own texts on­line or when they gain ac­cess to li­te­ra­tu­re. Gary Hall of Co­ven­try Uni­ver­si­ty ad­vo­ca­ted a “Pi­ra­te Phi­lo­so­phy” that could take on the tasks of ques­tio­n­ing es­ta­blis­hed struc­tu­res and try­ing out new forms of aca­de­mic com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on and pu­blis­hing. Gi­ven the gre­at di­ver­si­ty of know­ledge, a vi­tal and ver­sa­ti­le pu­blis­hing land­scape is in­dis­pensa­ble.

The ap­proach ad­vo­ca­ted – which may also ser­ve as a sum­ming up of the con­fe­rence – in­vol­ves ha­ving scho­lars de­ve­lop new for­mats and pu­blis­hing mo­dels joint­ly with pu­blis­hers, li­bra­ries and en­tre­pre­neurs and to­ge­ther crea­te the fu­ture of scho­lar­ly com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on. A high de­gree of tech­ni­cal and eco­no­mi­cal ex­per­ti­se is un­doub­ted­ly nee­ded to meet the chal­len­ges of di­gi­tal tech­no­lo­gies like en­han­ced books and to ex­ploit their po­ten­ti­al (Bläsi). As Kath­le­en Fitz­pa­trick stres­sed in her keyno­te ad­dress, re­a­ders and aca­de­mics were the ma­jor cont­ri­bu­tors to the de­ve­lop­ment of the book in the past and will con­ti­nue to be in the fu­ture. It doe­sn’t mat­ter if the books are di­gi­tal, “mega-di­gi­tal” (a term used by Ams­ter­dam me­dia ex­pert and pu­blis­her Ge­ert Lo­vink) or post-di­gi­tal.

Pro­of that the con­fe­rence tap­ped the pul­se of the di­gi­tal age can be seen in the ex­ten­si­ve feed­back it got on the In­ter­net. Even du­ring the event ne­ar­ly 1000 tweets were de­vo­ted to the con­fe­rence. A selec­tion from each day is on the con­fe­rence Web­site at The­re you can also call up in­ter­views con­duc­ted with par­ti­ci­pants pri­or to the mee­ting and blog ent­ries pos­ted af­ter­wards. The vi­deo do­cu­men­ta­ti­on of the con­fe­rence will soon ap­pe­ar on the site.

Christian Heise


Research Associate at the Hybrid Publishing Lab and Member of Board of the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, currently working on his Ph.D thesis about Open Science. More about me...

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