What is DPubS?
DPubS (Digital Publishing System) is an open-source software system designed to enable the organization, presentation, and delivery of scholarly journals, monographs, conference proceedings, and other common and evolving means of academic discourse. DPubS was conceived by Cornell University Library to aid colleges and universities in managing and disseminating the intellectual discoveries and writing of scholars and researchers.
Since no two electronic publishers’ needs are alike, DPubS was developed to be uniquely customizable. Its modular architecture provides flexibility—the system can be extensively customized to meet local needs. Because it has abundant Web-presentation capabilities, the presentation of each publication can be individually tailored, allowing for creative branding opportunities. Publishers can configure DPubS to deliver full-text content as well as to accept metadata in any file format. Publishers can also set the access controls to support subscription, open-access, or pay-per-view options and can configure DPubS to interoperate with institutional repositories such as Fedora. Finally, DPubS was designed to be extensible and scalable to support various publishing environments.
Characteristics That Set DPubS Apart From Other Systems
• Enables publication, resource discovery, and delivery of journal, monographic, and grey literature with the same technology environment
• Scales well to support an expanding number and variety of publications
• A library-developed tool, designed with an understanding of sustainability and preservation issues, to support change in the scholarly communication environment
• Supports the building of a library-supported publishing program and facilitates cooperation with university presses
• Modular architecture makes DPubS flexible and extensible
• Accommodates both open access and e-commerce to support different business models
Libraries Should Get Involved in Publishing
For several centuries, commercial publishers have been the principal route by which scholars have disseminated their work. The peer review, editing, and marketing of publications by profit and nonprofit publishers add value to the original. The act of publication and the publisher’s imprint have come to signify levels of quality and provide credentials for the scholar in the promotion and tenure process.
Over the past two decades, the publishing industry has consolidated, with the result that large companies now own most of the journal titles to which academic libraries subscribe. The prices for publications have risen at a rate that is consistently higher than the budgets libraries have for acquiring them. The publishing environment is increasingly stratified, with large, multinational commercial publishers at the top of the hierarchy and layers of enfeebled publishers at the bottom. One solution to this dysfunctional model is to disseminate publications directly from the academy.
By stepping into the publishing arena, libraries can help level the playing field. The centrality of the library in the academy enables it to act as a primary catalyst for change in the scholarly communication domain. Libraries understand the culture of scholarship and are strategically well positioned to approach publishing from a service perspective. A great deal of scholarship, particularly in the humanities, now goes unpublished because conventional publishing models make it unprofitable to publish this material. But academic libraries, by using innovative publishing models and strategic partnerships, can rectify these inequities by offering models and services that address unmet publishing needs inside the academy.
Librarians are known for their skills in acquiring, organizing, preserving, and providing access to information. Now they are in the process of expanding their services to include the complete life cycle of the content, which will be a critical function for twenty-first-century libraries.
DPubS Can Help Libraries Be a “Change Agent” in Scholarly Communication
DPubS is an excellent tool with which to engage the community in a dialogue on the challenges to scholarly publishing. The adoption of open-source publishing systems like DPubS can correct the imbalance in the scholarly communication environment by providing a venue for nontraditional publishing initiatives.
DPubS enables libraries to develop a scholarly communication program that supports various publishing activities. One of the aims of DPubS is to encourage libraries to invest in scholarly publishing and build programs so that they can become players in this arena. By developing economically more-feasible publishing models, we can better manage our local communities’ knowledge and help the academy take charge of its own scholarship. DPubS encourages libraries to “create change” by providing them with a publishing system designed and engineered by the library community itself.