Toward a new social contract between publishers and editors

26 January 2015, Maison de Science de l’Homme – Alpes, Grenoble

The event brought together publishers and scholarly editors in order to discuss how best to produce digital editions which are at the same time both economically viable and in keeping with scholarly standards.

In the pre-digital world, publishers and editors normally collaborated: the editors would produce the edition, following the guidelines provided by the publishing house, which for its part would take care of marketing and distribution, as well as essential scholarly services such as peer review. Digital scholarly editions, on the other hand, tend to be self-published by scholars within their own universities, most often without any connection with a publishing house – an arrangement which is hardly sustainable, for various reasons, and often not available to younger researchers producing their first editions and without access to suitable funding. At the same time, publishers are increasingly engaging with the digital, in particular in connection with tablet distribution. But the majority of such eBooks are generally not up to the standards expected by the scholarly community: in many ePubs, for instance, basic features such as footnotes are a luxury – to say nothing of a proper critical apparatus. How can be we best address these issues, to the mutual benefit of all involved parties – editors, publishers and the scholarly public? These were the questions that were asked at the conference.

The speakers were split more or less equally between scholarly editors and publishers; people came form Denmark, United Kingdom, Luxemburg, Poland, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal and France, covering therefore a large part of Europe. The discussion centered over several points, but in particular: what is the contribution of publisher in scholarly communication? What are the obstacles that prevent to move digital editions in an Open Access framework? Which is the price to pay to be able to publish texts with a small readership? What can editors do to meet the demands of publishers and what publisher can offer in exchange?

For further details of the event, please see the attached PDF.

Groups audience: