Con­fe­rence Fol­low-up: International experts discussed the future of publishing

Christian Heise —  December 3, 2014 — Leave a comment
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 http://www.postdigitalscholar.org/. 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.

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Christian Heise

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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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