Lever Press; supporting new models in scholarly publishing and exploring new techniques with peer review

The DeWitt Wallace Library is just one of the more than 45 pledging institutions who are supporting the new publishing initiative, Lever Press.  Lever Press grew out of several years of study and investigation and you can read more about the background and history of these efforts on a website entitled, Lever Initiative.  Utilizing a new model that is based on libraries pledging financial support, Lever Press is committed to publishing monographs at no cost to the author or author’s institution.  Another distinguishing factor is that all monographs will be open access.  This collaborative project is built on three commitments (excerpts from the website): 

  • Alignment with the mission and ethos of liberal arts colleges. Like the colleges supporting our mission, we welcome works exploring intellectual connections across academic disciplines and divisions…Inspired by the close collaborations between faculty and undergraduate students at liberal arts colleges, we seek path-breaking ideas communicated with clarity and creativity—publications that “teach what they know.”
  • Platinum OA. Lever Press is a fully open access press: all works will be freely available to readers on the web immediately upon publication. Uniquely, Lever Press is committed to what we’re calling “Platinum OA,” in which all the costs of acquiring, editing, developing, and producing the work are borne collectively by our supporting institutions—not by individual authors or their sponsoring departments or institutions. …Platinum OA means one thing  more: that the work we produce is of the highest quality, and has been selected exactly because it is worth investing in.
  • Digitally native. While Lever Press titles will appear in print form wherever possible, we approach publishing as a digital-first endeavor. Unconstrained by legacy publishing processes and leveraging the opportunities for reuse facilitated by an open-access business model, Lever Press will welcome projects of digital scholarship not well served by scholarly conventions limited to print-only outcomes.   

As a new model, another interesting development of this press is related to the peer review process.  The peer review process is a key factor in scholarly publications, but it is managed in a variety of ways depending on the publisher.  Mark Edington, Editor of Lever Press, has developed a proposed system of identification for peer review of monographs based on the Creative Commons icons.  We recently hosted a webinar in which Mark Edington, Editor of Lever Press and Jason Mittell,  Professor of Film and Media Studies and American Studies at Middlebury College and member of the Editorial Board talk about the peer review process at Lever Press.  The webinar is hosted by Becky Welzenbach, Program Manager for Lever Press.  I would welcome your comments after you review the webinar.

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