Final lecture in "Publishing, Knowledge Institutions, and Society: E-Revolutions?" course.
WHERES THE MONEY?Dorothea Salo
How does humanity fund culture? Popular publishing: crowdfunding Library/archive crowdsourcing Scholarly publishing Library as publisher
FIRST... SOMETHING WEVE LEARNED Money (especially post-creation sales) is an absolutely
TERRIBLE proxy for cultural value. Just wretched.We saw that with monographs (undervalued), serials (many
overvalued), news (undervalued and getting worse)...
At this historical moment... were relying on will sell = good much more than we probably should be.
But its such an easy heuristic to use that its critically hard to walk away from. Including in librarianship.The Open Web vs. The Library, anyone?
I think we have to figure out how, though. You may disagree.
TAKE A MOMENT... You want to make your living writing popular fiction.
What are your options? You want to make a documentary, but you dont have the
money. What are your options? You want to start a community choir. What are your
expenses, and what are your options? You want to build an archive and mini-museum for a local
celebrity. How do you keep it afloat financially?
YOU WILL FACE THESE QUESTIONS,AND OTHERS LIKE THEM.
WE DONT GET TO SKATE ANY MORE,IF WE EVER DID.
And we owe it to the people whose stuff we work withto consider these questions on their behalf as well!
OPTION: SELL SOMETHING The most obvious one, right? ... right?
At this moment in time, yes... but it has not always been so. Hold that thought!
The what changes as technologies do.Late 19th/early 20th c.: sheet music was a big seller!Then along came the phonograph...... and after that various other generations of recording and
playback devices...... and now the Internet. Yes, people buy mp3s!
Weve spent most of the course talking about how this plays out for various text-based artifacts.
RELATED OPTION: SELL SOMETHING ON THE SIDE
Advertising, anyone?!Its not what journalism is for exactly, but its a saleable thing that has
allowed journalism that wouldnt otherwise pay for itself to be done at all.
Comic books ran on this in the 1980s.The variant-cover thing was absolutely a bubble, but the point remains.
Ive seen a pretty convincing argument that a LOT of trade/popular nonfiction exists to advertise its authors for lucrative speaking engagements.
OPTION: SELL AN EVENT
Music, post-Napster: theyll make money touring.Well. Maybe. Harsh life, though.
How movie theatres stay in business?
OPTION: SOLICIT DONATIONSOR INVESTORS
The public-radio, public-television modelWhich is starting to emerge in indie form, e.g. Patreon, Gittip
The stock market! (Going public)Which brings its own set of constraints and issues, e.g. short-
term thinking, heavy reporting responsibilities, problematic governance structures, ethics failures, looty management
Part of what killed major newspapers? Homogenized broadcast media? Homogenizing publishing?
OPTION: COLLECTIVE CULTURE We dont just consume culture; we make it, too! And this doesnt have to cost a lot; in fact, its historically been
self-supporting to an extent.Think about all those music scenes in movies set in the Regency era. There
was a reason music and art were considered accomplishments for ladies!Craft (of many kinds), storytelling, visual art, dance, ritual, poetry slams...Digitally: fanfic/fan art, supercuts, .gifs, blogging, Twitter fiction, etc.
Libraryish things, too. Little Free Libraries? The Occupy libraries?But do libraries proper support collective culture? How? What about
archives?And I dont need to say anything else about the current copyright regimes
opinion of collective culture, do I?
OPTION: PATRONAGE Rich people or organizations fund culture, for an audience
of those like them, or for othersClassic (heh) example: Western European art musicLibrary example: Andrew Carnegie!
Governments, churches, individual philanthropists...Newspapers: classically family-owned in the US!
Always assume theres an agenda!And the agenda affects the culture produced.True in libraries and archives too. Like Wikipedia, we are not and
have never been politically or socially neutral organizations!Supposedly charitable or progressive agendas can hide a lot
of condescension, misunderstanding, and oppression.
Tell a man what he may not sing, and he is still half free; even all free, if he never wanted to sing it. But tell him what he must sing, take up his time with it so that his true voice cannot sound even in secretthere, I have seen, is slavery.
Mary Renault, The Praise Singer (Take a moment: examples?)
GOVERNMENT PATRONAGE: RELYING ON THE TAXPAYER
How a lot of libraries and archives survive! One of the only remaining ways to achieve ongoing support if youre not selling things.Though crowdfunding may gradually be changing this...
Salutary for us to ask ourselves what does it mean to be a civic institution?
But also has its issues (e.g. community standards) and conflicts (law vs. ethics)
BIG QUESTION FOR LIBRARIES:
DO WE OFFER PATRONAGE TOO?SHOULD WE? IN WHAT FORMS?
LIBRARY PATRONAGE WEVE SEEN Author talks (yes, really! think about it; its usually
indirect support, but it counts) Open access
Support here usually in-kind, but occasionally straight-up $$$. If you ask me, I think that balance needs to tilt quite a bit more in favor of straight-up $$$.
Open textbooks/OER Library-as-publisher/self-publishing support Supporting community organizations in publishing and
SOMETHING TO NOTICE:WHERE MONEY FOR PATRONAGE COMES FROM
Its almost NEVER the collections/acquisitions budget.Events/programs, IT, gift funds, whatever.But ask a collection developer for money for the cultural commons
and hear talk to the hand.
What is this? Billions of dollars for Big Deals, not one cent for open access?Well, yes. Lots of reasons. One is that our patrons are selfish, also
stuck in library-as-wallet thinking. Scary and hard to budge them!Another is that for all the talk of change, the library that dies with
the biggest collection STILL wins.
Go ye forth into the library world and FIX THIS, please.Leslie Chan: 1% solution
OPTION: GRANTS FROM PHILANTHROPIC ORGANIZATIONS
Extending patronage beyond the grave Or a governance mechanism for those with money
uninterested in doing the governing themselves Notorious problems: time-finite, high-overhead,
sometimes low-accountability, sometimes too-high or misaimed accountability
THERES MORE THAN ONE WAY TO DO IT.
WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING? Asking for up-front donations from many people toward
a defined project, product, or purpose.The Internet makes this a lot easier than it used to be, especially
for individuals.Until recently, similar to grants in that its one-time-only funding.
Many crowdfunded projects involve some kind of cultural production that never could have been funded this way before!Issue brief coming; I wont stomp on it.
WHAT IS CROWDFUNDING NOT?
A magic bullet Easy money
Just keeping track of all the premiums is tough!
An automatic democratization of culture fundingIt helps, sure. The rich arent calling the whole tune!Doesnt fix that some people just plain have more disposable
income than others, and therefore have disproportionate impact on what gets funded.
COULD LIBRARIES BE CROWDFUNDED? CROWDFUND OTHER THINGS?
Maybe.A lot would depend on whether legal and policy structures permit it. I dont
have any insight on this point; I dont know libraries that have tried this!Also, theres a danger: they dont need taxes; The Crowd will fund them!
Remember, this is usually project money, not ongoing money.You cant easily fund (e.g.) permanent staff this way! Its just like cobbling
Could we use library money on crowdfunded projects?Wed have to check policy, again... but theres that cultural issue, too.Librarians think of acquisitions as things bought for their specific patron
base. Many crowdfunded projects (not all, as some produce saleable objects, but many) wind up with open results.
So, are librarians ready/willing to fund open? Under what circumstances? With what consultation with patrons?
PAYING FOR SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE WITH MONEY IN THIS SYSTEM?
Individual purchasers of books and journalsScholarly-society wrinkle: society journal as membership perq
Libraries Universities themselves (distinct from their libraries) Research funders
HOW WEVE BEEN DOING IT
We buy physical things.This used to be the entirety of what we did in this system!
We lease access to electronic things. Note that theres a huge implicit subsidy of the system
here! Theres money! We, yes WE, have money! We could theoretically use this money to shift the
system. As discussed... we largely havent.
HOW CAN OA BE PAID FOR? Depends on color, to an extent. Green OA
Running repositories, institutional or disciplinary (arXiv is run by Cornell University Library, with money from many libraries). Funders can do this, too, and have (e.g. PubMed Central).
Remember the university-press trap! Depending solely on your host institution for subsidies means you die if they yank funding.
DO NOT BE AN IDIOT ABOUT COSTS. Running a repository is not free. Its not even cheap; repos that cheap out fail.
Staff and technology cost. Content recruitment especially costs! (And a mandate is not a silver bullet here!)
In open-data circles, theres some venture capital sloshing around. Well see how that plays out; Im not sanguine.
PAYING FOR GOLD In-kind support
e.g. library-based journal hosting servicesDO NOT BE AN IDIOT ABOUT COSTS and workflows. Some
faculty know how to do a shoestring journal. Most dont, and theyll look to a library service to do or subsidize such things as editing and typesetting/file conversion.
Author-side feesOften paid by research funder rather than authorSome libraries have author-side fee funds for gold OA. (Again,
these are almost never from the actual materials budget! At UW-Madison they were from unrestricted gift funds.)
Still a great deal of faculty concern about vanity publishing, publishing only available to wealthy scholars.
A THING I HEARD ONCE
Virulently anti-OA publisher representative Well follow the money, he said. If the money moves
to OA, so will we. Insofar as libraries are not moving money to OA, we are
complicit in the toll-access system.Maybe were okay with that (many of us are!), maybe were
not. We dont get to look away from it, however.
BEATING THE PRESTIGE GAME Every time I see a librarian or LibGuide that reinforces
Journal Impact Factor, I want to cry.We know the system is dysfunctional; why advertise it?
Insofar as we direct faculty and student eyeballs, why do we not direct them to OA?(Cultural reason we dont: professional heuristics for quality
materials that privilege materials libraries pay for.)Some savvy academic libraries have discovered that adding OA
searching to ILL workflows can save time and money.
Eating our own dog food Refusing to be silent. Or silenced.
WHAT IS CROWDSOURCING?
Humans and computers differ in the tasks theyre good at. Some large-scale tasks cant be done by computers, but
are too vast to be done by one or a few human beings. These kinds of tasks are good crowdsourcing candidates.
Classifying galaxies (GalaxyZoo)Transcribing handwritten manuscripts (many, many projects, some
of them library-based)Making an encyclopedia!
Because the work cant get done any other way Because all of us are smarter than any of us
We see this in libraries/archives with metadata crowdsourcing, crowdsourced current-history collecting online.
To ENGAGE PEOPLE and COMMUNITIES in the work you do.Yes, crowdsourcing is an outreach tool!
WHY NOT CROWDSOURCE?
If youre just thinking woo! free labor! please stop.Thats exploitation, and exploitation is not cool.Figure out what youre giving back, not just what youre getting.Not to mention that volunteer-herding is real work!
Because you have a driving need to be The ExpertHonestly, this is what stops a lot of libraries and archives from
crowdsourcing: a sense that Only We Can Possibly Do It Right.I have zero patience for this. It is condescending nonsense.Trolls, spammers, griefers can be worked around; dont let that
LIBRARIES AS PUBLISHERSone form of the makerspace movement
WHOS DOING THIS? Academic libraries
Journal-hosting services (though to be honest, a lot of these are half-assed and unsupported)
Library imprints (e.g. Parallel Press here, UNebraska)Repository-as-publisher (usually of gray literature)
Public librariesMicropublishing (local-interest publishing)Facilitating self-publishing
Archiveslarge ones may have publishing imprints of their own
WHY ARE WE DOING IT? Because other libraries are, or some pundit told them
they had toThis is the worst reason ever to do anything! Lemming services
rarely work out well. No fire in anybodys belly!
To diversify the world of published informationOn any number of fronts! This is partly a social-justice issue.
Libraries have historically smoothed out differential access to information; can we now smooth out differential access to making oneself heard?
To fix perceived problems in current publishing systems To serve one or more demonstrable patron needs
HOW DOES THIS CHANGE LIBRARIES? Historically, we have facilitated information
consumption. What people made or did with that information was largely outside our purview.
Dilution of our assessment/QA function? Were used to buying stuff, for our patrons specifically.
Can we become collective actors, buying for the entire world, instead?The alternative, as weve seen, is free-riding.
I AMAR PRESTAR AEN.BUT WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD, TOO.
AND CHANGE WITH IT.
This presentation is available under a Creative Commons Attribution United States 4.0 license.