February 29th, 2016
Cheryl Ball, associate professor of English at West Virginia University, has joined WVU Libraries as director of the newly established Digital Publishing Institute. Professor Ball is a leading scholar of digital publishing studies and a member of the Professional Writing and Editing faculty in the department of English.
The DPI is a hub for scholarly digital communications that will support researchers at WVU and abroad in producing journals, e-books and other multimedia-rich, peer-reviewed content, making it available online for free whenever possible.
“Dr. Ball will bring valuable expertise and vision to the Digital Publishing Institute and ensure that WVU remains committed to high standards of excellence and a rigorous peer review process while providing open access to scholarly communication,” Provost Joyce McConnell said. “WVU Libraries and the Digital Publishing Institute will be a model for innovative publishing in a time of enormous change in academia.”
The DPI, to be housed in the Downtown Campus Library, will function as a service-oriented professional lab for digital publishing, a research space for digital projects and a pedagogical unit that offers workshops and seminars on writing and editing in digital spaces.
The initiative, a collaboration among WVU Libraries, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and the Department of English, is supported in part by a $1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded last year to Ball, an associate professor of digital publishing studies in the Department of English. The Mellon grant funds development of a new academic publishing platform, Vega, which will provide an easy online hosting option for editing and publishing books, journals, media-based projects, data sets and other scholarly artifacts.
“Vega is the centerpiece for the research, pedagogy and service goals of the DPI and will be open source and free to anyone to download and use for their own publishing project. But the DPI will also host publications at WVU that want to use Vega,” Ball said.
In addition, the DPI will assist publications with archive and preservation resources and other sustainability efforts for digital scholarship and collections.
Dean of Libraries Jon E. Cawthorne is excited for work to begin, noting that just days prior WVU achieved designation as a “Highest Research Activity” as defined by the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of Higher Education.
“WVU faculty, staff and students are engaged in a variety of groundbreaking research,” Cawthorne said. “We are thrilled to provide wider access to their findings and work.”