November 29, 2020

Coming Soon to a Library Near You: The Short-Form Monograph

Jennifer Howard has an interesting piece over on The Chronicle of Higher Education, in which she describes a number of academic efforts to publish short form ebooks instead of the usual weighty academic tome.

You don’t have to have a PhD. to figure out how this could be a win-win situation for all involved. Shorter works would take less time to wind their way through peer review, editing, and publishing. They would likely be less expensive for libraries. And they would take less time for readers to read and digest.

“Daniel Cohen,” writes Howard, “an associate professor of history at George Mason University and an advocate of revamping the academic-publishing system, calls this ‘right-sizing scholarship.'” Right-sizing indeed. Why should an academic labor to create a 300-page book when one half that size or less might be all that is required to make and sustain a thesis that would take too much room for a journal article.

I think this is a good direction for academic publishing, and scholarly presses like the Princeton University Press and the Stanford University Press, among others, should be applauded for leading the way.

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.