Home Technology Emerging Trends in Digital Scholarship: Publishing

Emerging Trends in Digital Scholarship: Publishing


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.




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 July 2016, he retired as APUS president and continued as CEO of APEI. In September 2017, he was reappointed APUS president after the resignation of Dr. Karan Powell. In September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his planned retirement in June 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. During his tenure, APUS grew to over 100,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 90,000 alumni. In addition to his service as a board member of APUS and APEI, Dr. Boston is 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, a board member of the Presidents’ Forum, and a board member of Hondros College of Nursing and Fidelis, Inc. 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.


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