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One of the different elements of working in an academic library as opposed to a public library is that writing an article to be published in a proper ‘academic’ journal becomes more likely.  It becomes something you might do whereas in the past it wouldn’t have been something I would have particularly considered.  Articles for ‘trade’ publications maybe, possibily in one of the library technology journals perhaps.  But not something that was particularly high up on the list of things to do.

As an aside I’ve felt that the importance of journals (or serials) is one of the biggest differences between public and academic libraries.  The whole journal infrastructure (both technical and publishing aspects) weren’t ever particularly prominent in the agenda of a public library.   It’s interesting though to find that there’s now a pilot to provide public walk-in access to academic journals through public libraries.   I will be fascinated to see how that pilot turns out as my experience in public libraries was that we rarely had any demand for widespread academic journal access over and above the odd inter-library loan article request.  So it will be interesting to see what demand they see and how it might be promoted to build up an audience for this material.  My suspicion has long been that the reason for the lack of demand was that library users simply didn’t have an expectation that it might be possible.

Going through the publication process for an article (even as a co-author) has been a useful experience in helping me understand more about the publishing process that academics have to go through as part of their professional life.  Faced with the practical decisions about whether to go open access and pay an article processing charge (APC), or publish in a subscription journal (a choice between author pays or customer pays) throws a sharp focus on the practical implications of Green or Gold and Open Access.  Getting a copy of an early version of the document into the institutional repository was another task that had to be included.

It’s been interesting to see how the focus on publication swiftly turns to a list of things to do to promote the article, such as setup your identity on Google Scholar and link your publication to it (fascinating for me in that it showed up a report for a project as well as a long forgotten dissertation listed in Worldcat).   But also things to do like establishing an Orcid ID (that put me in mind of LinkedIn for academics for some reason) and then linking your publication to it.  Although the importance of citations was something I’ve been aware of (and I work at one of a few UK academic libraries with a bibliometrician post), it certainly does make you realise how critical it is for an academic’s reputation and how their career depends on their papers being cited when you realise that there are a list of things to do to promote your article.


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December 2013
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