Thanks to a new publishing initiative at Virginia Tech University Libraries, university researchers will have a wider range of options for publishing online, open-access scholarship.

University Libraries recently signed a three-year agreement with Ubiquity Press, a United Kingdom-based scholarly publisher and publishing services provider with a growing presence in the United States. Through Ubiquity, the libraries will gain a state-of-the-art web platform that increases its capacity to publish freely accessible scholarly research in a variety of formats, such as journals, books, conference proceedings, along with openly licensed text, media, and other digital work used for teaching, learning, and research.

The move to Ubiquity is part of a larger strategy by the libraries to build a publishing program — called VT Publishing — designed for the 21st-century digital economy.

“The libraries currently provide technical support for open-access journals through a locally hosted website, but the shifting scholarly publishing landscape has opened up opportunities to rethink our publishing program in innovative and sustainable ways,” said Tyler Walters, dean of University Libraries. “With VT Publishing, we will be able to expand the scope of our publishing services without the huge investment in infrastructure.”

VT Publishing is scheduled to launch in October, said Peter Potter, director of publishing strategy for University Libraries, who has led negotiations with Ubiquity.

The libraries’ existing journals will move to the new publishing platform. The libraries plan to add new journals while looking selectively for open-access books, textbooks, and conference proceedings.

Through Ubiquity, the libraries also will offer professional publishing services, such as copy editing, design, and production.

Virginia Tech is not a newcomer to online publishing. It began publishing online journals in 1989, and it was one of the first universities in the country to require students to submit theses and dissertations electronically.

“I am delighted to see the University Libraries pushing the boundaries of traditional scholarly publishing in support of increasing our global and interdisciplinary research impact," said Provost Thanassis Rikakis. "Virginia Tech was one of the earliest players in online, open-access publishing, and now, VT Publishing promises to keep us at the forefront of cutting-edge information and communication technologies."

With the launch of VT Publishing, Virginia Tech joins an international network of publishing partners that include the University of California Press, Penn State University Press, and Stockholm University Press.

As a member of Ubiquity’s network, Virginia Tech is part of a board that helps to determine the platform’s future direction.

"We're extremely excited to be partnering Virginia Tech in providing open access publishing options to their staff and students,” said Ubiquity CEO Brian Hole. “Providing this service through the libraries is very progressive and will result in much greater reach and impact for VT research. We very much look forward to supporting the libraries in developing this vision."

One of the first books published through VT Publishing will be the second volume of a collection of essays about policy and governance, written by an interdisciplinary group of Virginia Tech graduate students.

Max Stephenson, co-editor of the approximately 260-page book, “RE: Reflections and Explorations,” said the libraries’ new platform will save his group from paying an outside consultant for technical help with the book’s electronic publishing, slated for next month.

“It should go easier all around,” said Stephenson, a professor of public and international affairs and director of the Institute for Policy and Governance at Virginia Tech.

Written by Jenny Boone


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