Unit Plan 2011 to 2016

Background and Context

The "Purdue University Press Unit Plan 2011 - 2016" sets out a series of goals for Purdue University Press, strategies by which we aim to achieve these, and metrics by which we measure our progress. It is a subset of the Purdue Libraries, Press, and Copyright Office Strategic Plan 2011-2016 by which the Press, as a unit of the Libraries, is guided. All sections of Purdue University aim to align with the overall plan for the University, articulated in New Synergies, 2008 - 2014.

Dedicated to the dissemination of scholarly and professional information, Purdue University Press selects, develops, and distributes quality resources in several key subject areas for which its parent university is famous, including business, technology, health, veterinary medicine, and other selected disciplines in the humanities and sciences. As the scholarly publishing arm of Purdue University and a unit of Purdue Libraries, the Press is also a partner for university faculty and staff, centers and departments, wishing to disseminate the results of their research.

As an academic publisher, Purdue University Press performs three core functions:

  1. Selection: The Editorial Board of distinguished faculty selects the best scholarship to publish, through a rigorous double-blind peer review and voting process.
  2. Development: Production staff engage in developing and quality-assuring each selected author's manuscript through copyediting and design so that research is effectively communicated.
  3. Distribution: Marketing staff, working with commercial partners, ensure that each end product is distributed and marketed internationally, in print and electronic formats, so that interested readers can discover and use the trusted information presented.

As one of around one hundred members of the Association of American University Presses, the Press is committed to carrying out the business of a publisher in an ethical and transparent way that reflects the values of the academy. While it is charged with recovering the costs of its publishing program, through sales and external subsidies, the Press is a not-for-profit entity and reinvests all income received in making sure that good scholarship will always find a publisher, whatever the prospects for sales.

To an almost unique extent, Purdue University Press also regards close partnership with academic libraries as essential. Over the past few years it has become an integral unit of Purdue University Libraries, and shares its mission, vision, and strategic objectives.

Defining Characteristics of our Publishing Program 2011 to 2016

We will focus and align the Press more directly to support Purdue’s mission. We will collaborate inside and outside the university and integrate with other units of Purdue Libraries to build publishing capacity. We need such partnerships so that we can innovate, not only in the types of products we publish but in the business models that support them, especially those that permit the free and open accessibility of information to all interested users.

  1. Focus: We will focus our publishing program on a small number of fields of study. Only by focusing the Press’s energies can we effectively support the advancement of knowledge within these select global disciplinary communities. A more focused list leads to more effective editorial, production, and marketing operations. We will select areas to publish in with the guidance of a diverse Editorial Board and on the basis of quantitative and qualitative metrics such as sales, usage, citation, and review coverage.
  2. Alignment: By focusing on disciplines that align with Purdue University’s current priorities and land grant heritage, we will not only demonstrate relevance to the University but will extend the reach of what we publish by leveraging the Purdue name. We believe that the “land grant mission” (updated for the 21st century) presents an underlying philosophy that can guide us as well as suggest some disciplinary focuses.
  3. Collaboration: We will partner inside and outside the University. Inside the University, we will look for synergies with other departments involved in publishing activities, especially ITaP, Agricultural Communications, Marketing & Media, and the departments of English, Visual Communications Design, Computer and Graphic Technology, and Communications. Outside the University, we will seek shared solutions to common problems by partnering with HathiTrust, the University Press Content Consortium, and other potential partners who share our values and vision.
  4. Integration: We will continue to explore the synergies between publishers and libraries, and determine what the responsibilities as well as benefits of being a university press within a library are. We will maximize back-office efficiencies and leverage Libraries expertise in intellectual property, and the organization and preservation of information. We will, in return, share our expertise in disseminating and adding value to scholarly information.
  5. Innovation: We will take full advantage of our privileged, non-profit, subsidized position to explore new business models and support experimentation in scholarly communication. We will play a role in leading innovation in select scholarly disciplines through collaboration with faculty involved in the University’s areas of strength. We are no longer a publisher of “books and journals” but of “content” and will create products that serve publishing needs across a continuum, from informal to formal.
  6. Open Access: We will support publishing models where scholarship is immediately free-to-access for users. Open Access promotes interdisciplinary research, extends the reach of credentialed knowledge to practitioners and citizen scientists outside universities, and levels the playing field for scholars in developing countries and less well-funded institutions. However, Open Access publishing that does not have a sustainable funding model leads to poor quality, unreliable products. We will always balance the maximization of access with realistic business models. We follow other publishers, such as the Modern Language Association is believing that "that a publisher’s ability to earn revenue from the services that it provides need not be hindered by the provision of broad public access to scholarly work."

Our Three Strategic Goals

Goal Area 1: Learning ("Launching Tomorrow's Leaders")

The strategic plan we share with the other units of Purdue Libraries states that: “Our learning goal focuses on information literacy and learning spaces. Information literacy will be an integral part of undergraduate curricula and graduate programs contributing to student success and the development of lifelong learners. Learning spaces, within the Libraries and elsewhere on campus, are changing to better meet changing curricula and student learning needs. Libraries faculty lead in information literacy and learning space implementation, research, and scholarship.”

Strategies: How the Press will advance toward this goal:

  1. JPUR: We will work with information literacy experts to ensure the way we produce the Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research (JPUR) is having the maximum effect on student learning and success. We will expand the number of students who benefit from the publication of JPUR and the range of disciplines they come from.
  2. Student Internships: We will involve undergraduates in Press operations as interns and student assistants, partnering especially with the Professional Writing, Computer Graphics Technology, and Visual Communications Design programs. We will educate them in ethical publishing and business practices.
  3. Education Publishing Program: We will publish handbooks and research monographs that promote new methodologies and best practices in information literacy and education, especially in the science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and math fields. Engineering and veterinary medical education will be two initial focuses.

Metrics: How the Press will measure success:

  1. JPUR: Qualitative information derived from interviews with and surveys of students, faculty, and other stakeholders in JPUR; number of students involved in JPUR in some capacity; percentage of JPUR submissions from the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Health and Human Sciences.
  2. Student Internships: Number of undergraduate interns and assistants at the Press every year; student accounts of what they have learned at exit interviews.
  3. Education Publishing Program: Quality of books that we publish in these subject areas as measured by sales and reviews.

Goal Area 2: Scholarly Communication ("Promoting Discovery with Delivery")

The strategic plan we share with the other units of Purdue Libraries states that: “We facilitate and enhance the continuum of scholarly communication from discovery to delivery through the provision of information resources, services, partnerships, and national and international leadership. Libraries faculty are active participants in the scholarly communication process, through their own contributions to scholarship as well as leadership in the changing scholarly communication environment.”

Strategies: How the Press will advance toward this goal:

  1. Digital Availability: We will improve and increase access to and use of scholarly resources produced by the Press by making them all available in sustainable digital forms. This will initially be accomplished by including all our academic publications (backlist and frontlist) in the University Press Content Consortium e-book collection since this is an efficient way of making sure they are available to libraries and their patrons electronically, in standard formats and on library-friendly terms.
  2. Partnership with Archives: We will encourage the further development of unique archival collections at Purdue by producing publications that promote and make use of special collections, especially in aeronautics, engineering, and agriculture.
  3. Linked Data: We will make linkage to data an integral part of our publications, supporting multimedia as well as datasets. We will promote the use of stable identifiers from CrossRef and DataCite. We will assign CrossRef DOIs to books at book and chapter level and will expand the number of journals that are fully integrated, both using DOIs themselves and reference linking to other publications.
  4. New Publishing Models: We will more clearly articulate the “campus publishing services” aspect of the Press’s operations, formalizing pricing and branding propositions. Working with our colleagues in the Libraries, we will create a structure that leverages a common infrastructure but separates “university press” publishing from “publishing services.” We will promote Open Access business models, prefer open source publishing platforms (e.g., OJS) where possible, work with the University Copyright Office to protect author rights and promote Fair Use, and expand our own commitment to sustainable Open Access publishing.

Metrics: How the Press will measure success:

  1. Digital Availability: Percentage of our complete list of publications within the UPCC collection; percentage available electronically through any channel.
  2. Partnership with Archives: Number of publications that use materials from the Purdue archives; use of Purdue archival resources traced back to our publications.
  3. Linked Data: Number and type of data links in our publications; use of data that can be traced back to our publications.
  4. New Publishing Models: Profit and loss statement for publishing services, and whether we are losing money on the program as a whole or breaking even; quantitative (COUNTER compliant) and qualitative measures of use; percentage of our products that are available in Open Access format.

Goal Area 3: "Meeting Global Challenges"

The strategic plan we share with the other units of Purdue Libraries states that: “We will lead in international initiatives in information literacy and e-science and utilize our expertise in the provision of information access, management, and dissemination to collaborate on campus-wide global initiatives.”

Strategies: How the Press will advance toward this goal:

  1. Industry Involvement: We will promote understanding of the opportunities for publisher and library collaborations by participation in AAUP, SSP, and SPARC initiatives and by disseminating the results of the “Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success” project conducted in 2010 – 2011 with IMLS support.
  2. Open Access: We will broaden global availability of scholarly information through continued support for sustainable Open Access publications.
  3. Local Printing: We will fully engage in short run and print-on-demand initiatives that allow our publications to be printed locally in international markets. Initially our focus will be on partnering with Lightning Source in the UK and Australia.
  4. Editorial Orientation toward International Topics: We will orient our publishing program to engage with more international topics. We will seek opportunities for collaboration, especially with the Global Policy Research Institute, to promote Purdue scholarship globally.
  5. International Partnerships: We will reach out to publishing operations on the campuses of Purdue global partner universities, especially in Brazil and China, to explore opportunities for partnership.

Metrics: How the Press will measure success:

  1. Industry Involvement: Staff participation in appropriate industry organizations and initiatives; media coverage and citation of “Library Publishing Services: Strategies for Success” report, especially internationally.
  2. Open Access: Global spread of users of our OA online materials, as indicated through Google Analytics; degree of inclusion of our OA materials in international Abstracting and Indexing services.
  3. Local Printing: Percentage of our publications listed as “in stock” by retailers in international markets; quantity of stock warehoused by our overseas distributors.
  4. Editorial Orientation: Percentage of our publishing list that covers international themes; number of foreign rights sales.
  5. International Partnerships: Number of contacts with Purdue international partner universities.

Building Infrastructure to Support our Strategic Goals

Infrastructure refers to the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of our enterprise. An effective and well-aligned infrastructure underpins our ability to achieve the strategic goals indicated above.

We will focus on increasing our capacity to operate effectively in the digital environment and will encourage diversity in our workforce and governance structure through the following strategies:

We will strengthen and expand our acquisitions editorial capacity to acquire content / build lists in strategic areas and improve quality in our existing publishing programs.

  1. We will partner with existing series editors to recruit proposals and manuscripts that fit with the Press’s strategic interests and maintain high standards of peer-review. We will explore the feasibility of hiring one or more dedicated acquisitions editors.
  2. As budget allows, we will attend more conferences in our areas of strategic interest to meet authors, gather market intelligence, and raise awareness of our program.
  3. We will be more proactive in reaching out to potential authors electronically and in person to develop new publications, rather than just waiting for manuscripts to come in, both through new series editors and our own commissioning efforts.

We will transform our production processes so that we add value in the digital environment in the same way as we have done in the print world.

  1. We will move toward workflows that allow us to produce XML at earlier stages in the production process while still working with the software tools (e.g., Microsoft Word) with which our authors are familiar (e.g., through use of eXtyles).
  2. We will work to transition e-books from being facsimiles of print to taking full advantage of the networked and interactive nature of digital technologies.
  3. We will take full advantage of the possibilities XML source files open up for repurposing existing content in new ways.

In the distribution of publications, we will use technology to become more efficient.

  1. We will dispose of excess overstock and move to Print-on-Demand (PoD) manufacturing where strategically possible to drive down storage costs.
  2. We will establish local printing arrangements internationally to reduce shipping costs and improve international availability.
  3. We anticipate digital editions becoming the version-of-record for most of our publications and will strive to make all of our publications available digitally in appropriate formats.

We will become expert in sales and marketing to niches.

  1. We will fully exploit electronic marketing tools, such as direct e-mail and social media, in marketing books and journals.
  2. We will aim to sell directly to the consumer, especially pre-publication, rather than through retailers to increase the margins on our publications.
  3. We will increase license income through entering into fewer but more focused relationships with content aggregators.
  4. With our books, we will aim to make more special sales and sell more foreign rights.

In the area of administration, we will be more efficient in the way we run our business by taking every opportunity to move to electronic workflows.

  1. We will aim to simplify the payment of royalties by, for example, offering a payment-up-front option to authors.
  2. We will support the Business Office’s efforts to fully utilize SAP modules.
  3. We will maintain careful oversight of our vendors and will conduct regular benchmarking exercises to make sure we always get the best deal.

In the area of governance, we will increase diversity, both in background and discipline, in the Editorial and Management Advisory Boards and challenge and stimulate our Board members so they feel their volunteer service is valued and worthwhile.

  1. We will encourage greater representation on our Editorial Board from the HSS and STEAM fields in which we have publishing ambitions.
  2. We will encourage regular rotation on our Management Advisory Board, so that the external members of the Board find their service rewarding and remain energized.

Metrics: How the Press will measure success:

  1. Quality of peer review reports; number of commissioned vs. accepted manuscripts.
  2. Additional functionality in our electronic publications; ease and cost of conversion to different formats.
  3. Reduction in storage charges; reduction in shipping charges; availability of backlist for order; percentage of sales income from e-books; amount of licensing income.
  4. Return on investment in marketing campaigns; number of orders as a percentage of population mailed; increase in net income per unit; number of names on e-mail lists; number of reviews published when compared to copies sent out; number of Facebook friends; number of Twitter followers; number of hits on our website.
  5. Time within which royalties are paid; number of paper forms processed.
  6. Percentage of Editorial Board members from HHS (Health and Human Sciences) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine) fields; alignment between our publishing focuses and the disciplinary backgrounds of Editorial Board members; participation of Management Advisory Board members; positive comments from Editorial and Management Advisory Board members about their experiences.

We welcome comments on our unit plan. Please direct these to pfroehli [at] purdue [dot] edu (Peter Froehlich).