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Emerging Trends in Digital Scholarship: Publishing

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by Sarah Canfield-Fuller, Acquisitions Editor, APUS ePress

Digital publishing is transforming the landscape of academic scholarship. In the 20th century, academic publishing relied on a time-, labor-, and cost-intensive print process that could take a year or more to bring articles from submission to publication. The process could take even longer for books. Today, academic publishers benefit greatly from digital tools.

The online editing workflow and digital publication process makes journals and e-books available more quickly and in a variety of convenient formats. Scholars can now access research materials through computers, e-readers, tablets, and smartphones. The time it takes to publish an e-journal like Internet Learning has been cut in half.

Not only is digital publishing faster and more convenient, it eliminates postage and print-on-demand services lower the printing costs dramatically. These savings make it easier for publishers to provide quality content at low cost, easing the financial burden on libraries and allowing for a freer exchange of ideas.

The most exciting aspect of digital publishing is the ability to create interactive e-texts. Where traditional print allows only two kinds of content—text and static images—e-books and e-journals enable more dynamic content. Examples are:

  • Hyperlinks to Web content (such as data sets, bibliographic sources, or related materials)
  • Embedded audio, video, and animated graphics
  • Rollover text and pop-up sidebars
  • Comments and direct feedback

Challenges remain, of course. Two particular obstacles have slowed the progress of innovation—a lingering print mindset and a lack of flexible tools. Academia has been slow to break free of the traditional printed page. Writers, editors, and production staff must develop new skills to take advantage of digital enhancements. “Emerging Trends in Digital Scholarship—Authorship: Part I” discusses this from the author’s viewpoint, but it applies to publishers as well.

The technical end of digital publishing is not as well developed as it needs to be. No simple one-stop-shop for converting content from print to e-text exists for all popular file formats. Fixed formats

require different standards than flowable text, with separate adjustments required for each file type before final publication.

These challenges can be overcome. Electronic publishing is the future of scholarship as more and more scholars depend on online research to do their work. While the transition to digital has been rocky, the benefits to publishers and scholars alike cannot be ignored.

Sarah Canfield Fuller, PhD, is the Acquisitions Editor for the APUS ePress and Production Editor for Internet Learning 2.2. She was an early adopter of eLearning strategies in her classes and brings her expertise as an instructor to the task of publishing dynamic and engaging online monographs, textbooks, and journals.

 

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Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and as a member of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.

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