Overview of Scholarly Publishing

There are many different options for publishing your scholarly content. The information in this overview is meant to give you a sense of the considerations and decisions needed for each content type.

Content: Journal Article

Journal articles can be published in a wide variety of business models. An author can select whether they want to publish their article open access or restricted access. Commercial publishers offer a variety of models including restricting access via subscription, hybrid or moving-wall restrictions to access, and open access funded with article processing charges. Major non-profit publishers like PLOS ONE and PeerJ also fund open access via article processing charges. Society publishers may offer restricted access based on membership fees or subscriptions, and they may offer open access options. Institutions like the University of Minnesota will also support open access through the Open Access Policy, the Open Access Fund and support for Libraries Publishing for affiliated publications.

Archiving Your Article

Another way to make a journal article open access is by archiving a copy of the article in an institutional repository or a subject repository. University of Minnesota authors with the support of our institution's Open Access Policy, may wish to deposit an open access copy of their articles in the institution’s open digital archive, the University Digital Conservancy.

Working Papers and Data Sets

Researchers may also need to make working papers and data sets openly available. Working papers associated with research may also be archived in the University Digital Conservancy for preservation and sharing purposes. Data sets may be archived using the Data Repository for the U of M. DRUM is intended for the deposit of U of M created digital research data that is in a finished, distributable state. Data specialists in the Libraries will collaborate with depositors to ensure that data is discoverable in a way that maximizes its potential for re-use.

Content: Monograph

As with other types of content, it is now becoming possible to publish books in a wide variety of business models. Monographs may be published by society publishers and university presses. The University of Minnesota Press specializes in the humanities and social sciences as well as works about Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Traditionally, publisher quality is a very important factor for scholarly monograph publication. The University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing will support affiliates in publishing openly licensed books.
Scholarly authors can also retain some or all copyrights in their books, sharing the rights with the publisher, so that the author can distribute electronic copies online, or more easily make derivative works without seeking permission. Scholarly presses may release free (usually Creative Commons licensed for open sharing) PDF copies of a book a few months to a year after print publication as well as free versions of backlist books and publications.


While much of the textbook publishing world continues in more traditional patterns, there has recently been an explosion in the world of open education, with Open Educational Resources (OER) and open online courses growing rapidly. California recently passed a law enabling greater use and creation of open educational resources throughout its public educational system. These developments may be a big boon for students, long burdened by high costs for course materials. Openly licensed materials also allow instructors to customize materials for a particular course from multiple sources, or make changes to reflect new research developments. The University of Minnesota College of Education has created the Open Textbook Library, where faculty can search for open textbooks in their own disciplines, read reviews by other academics, and review the materials themselves.

Content: Conference papers

Conference papers are often published open access, supported by the society or institution responsible for the conference. At the University, conference papers may be published with support from the University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing or they may be archived in the University Digital Conservancy.

Content: Electronic Dissertations & Theses

Dissertations & Theses produced by University of Minnesota students are eligible for archiving in the University Digital Conservancy. This archive allows Dissertations & Theses to be available open access online at a stable and persistent url.

Content: Instructional Materials

Many instructors will choose to create online and supplemental materials for their courses. The University offers access to a Moodle course management system for posting and managing access to instructional materials. Many faculty are beginning to share and use Open Educational Resources (OER). The University Libraries eLearning offers a variety of services to meet the needs of a particular class or an assignment. Library Media Services is a resource for creating and using media resources in instructional settings.

Content: Creative Works & Multi-Modal Scholarship

Some authors are also exploring options outside of traditional publishers by self-publishing in print or electronic forms. This allows authors to experiment with content, pricing, and distribution models. Many scholars work with materials beyond the traditional written papers and monographs. Faculty in fine arts departments have long worked with images, music, video, and many other forms. Today, as part of the evolution of scholarship, scholars and researchers in many disciplines are exploring the potential of new forms. These forms, even more than alternative models of traditional publishing, may challenge established practices around promotion, tenure, and evaluation of scholarship - but they may also enrich scholarship greatly. The Libraries' Digital Arts Sciences + Humanities (DASH) provides Tools and support for researchers to make projects that incorporate different forms of media and data.

Electronic distribution eases inclusion of audio, video, and other accompanying media. Many journal publishers have been exploring how to include non-text, non-image scholarly materials - often online-only and open publications have pushed this envelope. Many subject-oriented and institutional repositories have also developed robust support for long-term preservation and access to non-text materials. Other scholars have found that their work in non-traditional media stands alone. Distributed via blogs and user-generated content sites, their work pushes the boundaries of scholarship in exciting new ways.

We are happy to consult with you on any of these publishing venues.

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