News: Academic Publishing Weekly

Oral history project on bookselling finds a home, Ithaka S+R unveils generative AI tracker, and awards galore

By Choice Staff
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Happy Awards Season!

This week the Association of American Publishers (AAP) announced the 2024 PROSE Awards finalists and Category Winners. More than 100 works from 2023 were recognized, spanning subjects in medicine, architecture, education, legal theory, and more. Numerous university presses received nods, among which included Cambridge University Press, University of Texas Press, and University of Toronto Press. As Publishing Perspectives noted, the 41 Category Winners “will be eligible for the next level of PROSE honors: the Awards for Excellence,” arriving in the next few weeks. Next up, we recently highlighted a new award—the Women’s Prize for Nonfiction—and its older sibling, the Women’s Prize for Fiction​, just released its longlist. The list of 16 works includes eight debut publications, and the shortlist will be announced in late April and the winner in June. So get reading (especially during Women’s History Month)!

GenAI Product Tracker and Florida Universities Join Path to Open

Overwhelmed by artificial intelligence gadgets? Ithaka S&R released a new tool that tracks generative AI (GAI) products aimed at those in higher education. Described as a “living document,” the Generative AI Product Tracker offers information on price, features, vendor, and the data behind the tools. The release includes an issue brief with the goal to “provide the higher education community with an easy way to keep up with developments in this space and assess the value of individual products.” The Tracker is part of Ithaka’s Making AI Generative for Higher Education project, announced last year. Next, Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) has joined pilot Path to Open, an open access monograph publishing program. Assisting the state’s 40 public universities, FLVC “marks Path to Open’s largest library consortia commitment to date.” Path to Open began last year as a partnership between JSTOR, a nonprofit service of ITHAKA, the University of Michigan Press, the University of North Carolina Press, and the American Council of Learned Societies, and to date includes “nearly 150 libraries around the world, and 42 presses.”

Bookseller Oral History Project and ScholComm Priorities

The Bookseller Oral History Project has found a home at the University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections and Archive. A four-year undertaking chronicling the history of bookselling in America, the project will continue to add to its collection of 32 booksellers’ accounts. The institution plans to make the audio files and transcripts available to the public and build onto the collection with physical documents, such as bookseller-related bookmarks, marketing materials, and spreadsheets. In other news, Roger Schonfeld of Scholarly Kitchen analyzed a January 2024 Ithaka S&R study on the digital transformation in scholarly publishing, pulling together key findings and recommendations for price, openness, and value in scholarly communication. Speaking to areas like university strategy and engagement, Schonfeld addressed how to handle the “atomization of the scholarly article” and the need to strengthen trust in scholarship.

New Agreement and Addition for T&F

After securing agreements with Elsevier and Wiley earlier this year, Vanderbilt University’s Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries has entered a three-year agreement with Taylor & Francis. The read-and-publish deal will allow Vanderbilt researchers to openly publish in hybrid and open access journals under Taylor & Francis and Routledge. The good news doesn’t stop there for Taylor & Francis. Open access peer-reviewed journal PeerJ will join the publisher, allowing PeerJ users access to Taylor & Francis’s programs and tools. PeerJ Co-Founder and Publisher Peter Binfield named the merger “an important step in PeerJ’s evolution,” continuing: “This move will allow us to cement our original commitments to open research, equitable and inclusive publishing and rigorous peer review.”

New March Books and Amazon’s Ebook Suit Update

Literary Hub listed new books out just in time for spring. Fiction dominates the list, but nonfiction titles sneak in with Anna Shechtman’s The Riddles of the Sphinx: Inheriting the Feminist History of the Crossword Puzzle, Arthur Goldwag’s The Politics of Fear: The Peculiar Persistence of American Paranoia, and more. Last, this week brought updates on the Amazon ebook monopoly lawsuit. The “consumer class action lawsuit accusing Amazon of anticompetitive conduct in the e-book market” will move forward, though “the court also officially dismissed all claims against the Big Five publishers that were initially accused of being co-conspirators with Amazon in a bid to fix e-book prices.” Two items from magistrate judge Valerie Figueredo’s 2023 report will continue, including claims of “monopolization” and “attempted monopolization” by Amazon. Let the games begin!