Information Automation Limited, Penbryn, Bronant, Aberystwyth
Department of Information and Library Studies, University of Wales Aberystwyth
This eLib Supporting Study was conceived to investigate the incidence and nature of the publishing of electronic scholarly monographs and textbooks in the United Kingdom. Given the international nature of academic publishing, and the fact that the professional literature suggested a higher incidence of activity within North America, the study was extended to encompass publishing beyond the UK. This afforded a comparative context by which to view UK initiatives.
The project focused on publications used in tertiary education or for research, and
‘electronic publishing’ was taken to mean texts made available in any computer-mediated format: diskette, CD-ROM or via the Internet.
A range of methodological approaches was employed in conducting the research. These included a comprehensive literature search and review; a survey of publishers of electronic monographs by means of an interrogation of their Web sites, and case studies were also conducted with selected UK publishers. A separate investigation of the publishers of national bibliographical sources and services was also undertaken using telephone interviews, and UK university libraries were surveyed by means of an email questionnaire.
The project explored several interrelated areas. The nature of the general publishing context of scholarly monographs and textbooks was investigated to ascertain the current status of academic book publishing. The study offers a description of the structure of electronic monograph publishing, addressing such issues as incidence of provision, management structures, costing mechanisms, authoring and editorial responsibilities. An analysis of the issues associated with the characteristics of CD-ROM and Web monographs is provided, together with a delineation of the nature of narrative content, added value components, subject orientations, rights issues and quality control. File formats, document authority and identification, publication security and metadata are considered for both CD-ROM and Web monographs.
The project explored the implications of electronic monograph publishing for those involved in collection management, and provides an analysis of the current nature of bibliographic access and delivery. A cursory investigation into the provision of monographs in university libraries complemented that analysis, and was conceived as the precursor for a further in-depth study.
The findings of this report are extensive and complex. They suggest that UK electronic monograph publishing is embryonic, but alert to the salient issues. The structure of the industry reflects to some degree international initiatives yet displays unique characteristics. Extensive bibliographical problems remain, especially for Web monographs, and there is little evidence of collection management activity associated with electronic monographs in university libraries. A set of thirteen recommendations delineates areas that require further investigation, together with suggestions for enhancing awareness about the central issues identified in the research. A major conclusion concerns the need to establish a national forum to debate these issues and to foster electronic monograph publishing.
1.1 Background 4
1.2 Terms of reference 5
1.3 Survey variables 6
1.4 Working definitions 6
1.5 Parameters 7
1.5.1 Terminology 7
1.5.2 Scope 7
1.5.3 End-users survey 8
1.5.4 The report 8
1.6 Acknowledgements 8
2. METHODOLOGY 9
2.1 General management of the project 9
2.2 Literature search 9
2.3 Survey of publishers 10
2.3.1 Non-scholarly monograph or non-textbook publishers 10
2.3.2 UK publishers of electronic scholarly monographs and textbooks 10
2.3.3 UK publishers of scholarly monographs and textbooks not engaged in electronic publishing 10
2.3.4 Non-UK publishers of electronic scholarly monographs and textbooks 11
2.3.5 Analysis 11
2.4 Case studies of UK electronic publishers 11
2.5 Survey of bibliographic sources and services 11
2.6 End-users survey 12
2.7 Use of data 12
3PUBLISHING CONTEXT 13
General debate about the status and future of the scholarly monograph 13
4.PUBLISHING PROCESS 18
4.1 Structure of the electronic monograph publishing trade 18
4.1.1 University presses 18
4.1.2 Non-University commercial publishers 18
4.1.3 Specialist publishers 18
4.1.4 New publishing structure 19
4.2 Implications for costs 20
4.3 Authoring 21
4.4 Management process of electronic publishing 21