Library Publishing Through the IFLA Global Lens

This posting is sponsored by the Library Publishing SIG and published in cooperation with the ARL Section. Members of the Library Publishing SIG reach out to library publishers and invite them to respond to a series of questions.

This post features Ursula Arning who is Head of the Open Science Department at ZB MED – Information Centre for Life Sciences. Ursula is responsible for the Open Access Publishing Platform PUBLISSO ( Since 2020 she is also Professor of Open Access and Management of Digital Resources at TH Cologne (University of Applied Sciences). 

What attracted you to work in library publishing?

I like the idea that open access is a possibility to contribute to equality in the world. (I am aware of the limitations, but we can try to do something about them.) We offer all researchers in the Life Sciences the opportunity to publish their research results in our journals ( or Living Handbooks ( for free or for moderate fees. With this, we enable the connection of researchers all over the world. Our journals are listed for example in PubMed Central and in our Discovery System LIVIVO ( as well as in other important databases like DOAJ, to assure the best dissemination for the research results.

What infrastructure are you working with?

Our PUBLISSO open access platform is based on the content management system Drupal. We are continuously developing new features in order to be state of the art in the field of library publishing. This means that we are a single source publisher using the versioning option of Drupal to facilitate our authors to publish new research results connected to the previous version. We offer enhanced publications, allowing for archiving the support material in our repository and assigning a DOI to this material so that it can be considered as a stand-alone publication. HTML and PDF formats are standards while XML publishing is on its way. Moreover, all our publications are published under a CC-BY licence to facilitate the accessibility and reusability of research results. Currently, we are working on the implementation of a discussion platform, which will permit commentaries (post publication review) to enable the communication between authors and researchers in the field. Last but not least, we put a lot of effort in the implementation of fully accessible PDF and HTML publications – with an implementation rate of 90 percent; signifying a huge step towards true inclusiveness.

What partners do you collaborate with?

Our main partner is the AWMF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Wissenschaftlichen Medizinischen Fachgesellschaften; English: Working Group of the Learned Societies for Medicine), but we are open for other learned societies from other disciplines like social and political sciences in order to publish and disseminate their research with our PUBLISSO-System.

What do you think is the impact of library publishing in the broader scholarly communications landscape?

The big commercial publishers are still making too much money while there is still too much emphasis on the Journal Impact Factor. However, there are now more efforts in library publishing, or scholar-led publishing, and higher acceptance from researchers. With cooperation and collaboration, we can do a lot to develop technical platforms, with all necessary features, to offer the researchers what they need to publish easily and to enable them to receive credits and to enhance reputation.

If you were not a library publishing professional, what would you be?

I would organize workshops or events, for children or adults, to promote reading or highlight Citizen Science. I still think that libraries are a democratic place not only to enable the freedom to read in a (mostly) free and accessible manner, but also to come together and discuss different opinions in a civilized and respectful way. In addition, they are the perfect place to develop the best method and give the necessary tools to understand and enhance the research process and results.

Jane Buggle, Institute Librarian, Institute of Art, Design, and Technology (IADT), Dublin, Ireland and Convenor, Library Publishing SIG.



One thought on “Library Publishing Through the IFLA Global Lens


    This is a commendable achievement. Thanks to all the contributors and sponsors for this effort.

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