Information Today
Volume 18, Issue 11 December 2001
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California Digital Library, bepress Announce Partnership

The California Digital Library (CDL; http://www.cdlib.org) and The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) have announced a partnership designed to advance innovations in scholarly communication. Through the partnership, the CDL will make a suite of electronic publishing tools from bepress available to University of California researchers. The tools enable rapid and low-cost creation, management, and online publication of electronic journals, discussion papers series, and other electronic forms of scholarship.

According to the announcement, the partnership is an important development for the library's eScholarship program (http://escholarship.cdlib.org), which is actively supporting new electronic publications and services for tobacco-control research, environmental science, international and area studies, and dermatology research, among others. The newly forged partnership will extend new capabilities to those and additional fields.

The bepress technology will allow, for example, multiple e-print repositories in the social sciences to be created and integrated, thus supporting the emergence of a primary source of information for students and researchers in either a specific or a broad-based academic discipline.

According to the announcement, the CDL and bepress have similar motivations and visions for improving scholarly communication, including creative use of technology to quickly, efficiently, and cheaply distribute research results. Access to research will be enhanced by rapid dissemination; by nearly unlimited additional materials such as images, animations, and original datasets; and by automating much of the editing and peer-review process.

"We have created a range of tools that are ideally suited for this type of partnership," said Robert Cooter, co-CEO of The Berkeley Electronic Press. "The primary goal of our company is to place the publishing power in the hands of the individual researcher. Our relationship with the California Digital Library ensures that cutting-edge research will be more readily available with lower barriers of access. We are quite pleased to have the insight of CDL and its member communities to help shape our future efforts."

"CDL is committed to the concept of scholar-led innovations in the communication of research," said Catherine Candee, director of CDL's Scholarly Communication Initiatives. "Providing bepress editorial tools to our faculty partners and hosting their content online is a great way to further this aim. Now, a research institute at UCLA or a lab at UC­Berkeley can use an eScholarship-hosted e-print server or electronic journal to release their work. There is no reason these new publications could not be extended to other members of their disciplines, fostering broad-based change."

According to the announcement, the bepress system is a comprehensive and easy-to-use tool for scholarly publishing. UC researchers interested in establishing a new electronic journal, preprint (i.e., non-refereed) series, or other form of scholarly communication will be able to customize their product's presentation, policies, and functionality.

For example, some researchers may wish to use The Authors & Reviewers' Bank, a component that allows editors to track scholars' contributions as writers and referees. Others might wish to employ the bepress journal-family concept, whereby multiple unique journals that concentrate on a single subject area share editorial boards and peer-evaluation mechanisms. Like many of the features within the bepress system, these elements are modular. As a result, each journal or preprint series will have its own unique look and feel.

Three University of California­Berkeley professors founded The Berkeley Electronic Press in 1999. According to the company, bepress develops Internet-based software to address the problems in scholarly publishing, including slow time to market, typesetting gaffes, an inequitable revenue split between contributor and publisher, and exorbitant subscription rates. In addition to licensing software tools, bepress publishes its own slate of electronic journals.

[Editor's Note: For more on bepress, see the interview with Cooter on page 1 of the March issue or at http://www.infotoday.com/it/mar01/hane.htm.]

Source: The Berkeley Electronic Press, Berkeley, CA, 510/981-0910; http://www.bepress.com.

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