LIS journal publishing for the digital age

Jaye Weatherburn, University of Melbourne
Ross Harvey, RMIT University

Concurrent session 6
Tuesday 30 August 2016, 1:30pm - 1:55pm


Professional library journals such as the Australian Library Journal and Australian Academic and Research Libraries, published for ALIA by Taylor & Francis, currently conform to an outdated print-based journal publishing model whose primary product is four print issues per year. This model does not cater to the ways in which social media-savvy, digitally literate information professionals work, and is in decline: ‘Orthodox journals will soon be understood as tombstones: end of debate certificates’ (Dunleavy,

We describe a new publishing model for an Open Access (OA) library and information science (LIS) journal that also encompasses cultural heritage, informatics, and the digital humanities.

Our model is developed from investigating current literature and developments in open access journals worldwide, identifying relevant features of journals in information-related fields, and observation of social media use by information professionals. Our investigations are based on focus questions:

  1. What could a new LIS OA journal look like?
  2. Could it still be a professional association’s ‘journal of record’?
  3. How could it harness the full potential of social media?
  4. Should a new publishing model be an online platform, integrating aspects of content management and archival systems for preservation of research and data?

Our investigations to date suggest that a new journal needs to harness technologies used extensively by information professionals but not widely applied in traditional journal publishing. It should take account of social media such as Twitter and alternate methods of self-publishing such as blogging, thus tapping into a highly networked and digitally literate readership. It should also accommodate more traditional forms of publication such as research papers, articles, case studies of innovative practice, and conference proceedings and the associated social media coverage. It must be based on the principles of open access, fostering communities through collaboration, flexibility to allow experimentation, and collecting and reusing research outputs. For this new model to be sustainable and remain relevant to research and practice, the value of establishing collectives of information professionals who can contribute to and help sustain an OA journal will also be explored. This model should be one that encourages and supports the potential of new researchers, both in academically-focused and researcher-practitioner circles.

A new model for an OA journal for social media-savvy, digitally literate information professionals is emerging from our investigations. This new model has considerable potential to be a platform that enables the galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM) sector to disseminate messages to wider audiences, especially to younger demographics. It is also a model that could revolutionise how these messages are received, understood, and acted on.

Paper - Now available.

Presentation - Now available.


Creative Commons Licence

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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