Brown Bag Lecture
"Digital, Scholarly Publishing: A Systems View"


Oct
25
2011

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  • Host Department: Institute for the Humanities
  • Date: 10/25/2011
  • Time: 12:30PM - 2:00PM

  • Location: 202 S. Thayer St, Room 1022, Ann Arbor, MI

  • Description: The system of scholarly publishing that we are familiar with took shape only about fifty years ago, in the 1960s. At that time, US university presses began universalizing the practice of anonymous peer reviewing of both journal articles and monographs (the exclusive, binary publishing formats). Almost all institutions of higher learning began requiring published books or a quantity of articles as an integral part of faculty promotion and tenure processes. Lavish government funding underwrote, directly and indirectly, much university-based research and resulting publication, and well-funded libraries were able to support expanded publishing activities. Now, after half a century of productive publishing, that print-based publishing order is in its final throes of dissolution, having suffered the combined blows of withdrawal of external funding and significant loss of revenue overall, drastically declining demand from libraries and scholarly customers, and, most importantly, the digital revolution which challenges every aspect and assumption of the legacy print publishing process. This presentation will barely sketch the scope and the transformed and transforming ingredients of the system of scholarly publishing as it is being radically reconstituted for and by the digital environment, from a stable, bounded, well-ordered and well-policed publishing circuit into one that is inherently unstable and shape-shifting in all its elements and networked connections, increasingly pluralistic and boundless, and unimaginably rich in future publishing options and opportunities.

    Phil Pochoda recently retired as director of the University of Michigan Press. Previously, he was associate director and editorial director of the University Press of New England; editorial director of Anchor Books and Dial Press at Doubleday; and vice-president at Simon & Schuster while publisher and editor-in-chief of Prentice-Hall Press. He has written numerous articles on digitization and the future of university presses.