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Editorial: As the World Turns So Do We: A New Publication Strategy

In Brief: Announcing an update to In the Library with the Lead Pipe’s publication strategy.

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In the Library With the Lead Pipe began in the fall of 2008 with lofty publication goals. Six librarians launched the site as a peer-reviewed blog, with plans to publish an article every Wednesday. In their introductory post, they even mentioned the idea of increasing publication to twice weekly.

Five months later, the editorial board announced that they would be moving to a bi-weekly format and opened up submissions for guest post proposals. The board found that writing lengthy peer reviewed articles every week was challenging, and readers (while enjoying the content and conversations) were having a difficult time keeping up with that amount of output. Starting in the spring of 2009, members of the editorial board contributed articles on a rotating basis, with guest proposals sprinkled in when available. The editorial board was essentially filling dual author/editor roles.

Since 2012, Lead Pipe has moved away from a group blog model and toward a journal model. While many readers may still consider Lead Pipe a blog based on our history and format, our editorial board is transitioning the language we use and our approach to publishing. We have ISSNs, index in research databases, publish long-form articles, and participate in the peer-review process. Because of these efforts, we have come to see Lead Pipe as a scholarly journal.

With these changes have come shifts among our roles as editorial board members. Although originally in dual author/editor roles, over the course of the last several years, editorial board members have steadily moved away from authorship. Instead of writing content for Lead Pipe, we now focus on soliciting guest proposals, developing our website, serving as internal peer reviewers, recruiting external peer reviewers, replying to website comments, and coordinating social media.

What this means is that the editorial board of Lead Pipe is no longer regularly contributing articles for the journal, but is instead focused solely on editorial responsibilities. We do contribute through irregular editorials (usually filling in when our standard, bi-weekly publication schedule would require an article to be published on a holiday) and news updates like the one you’re reading now. Editorial board members are still welcome to submit a proposal for a Lead Pipe article, but editors are not expected to write articles.

Taking the editorial board out of the publication rotation has decreased the amount of content we have to publish. As a result, we are relying more heavily on submissions. In the past, most author submissions were recruited by Lead Pipe editors—writers who we knew or whose work we admired. With a submissions-focused model, we are now working with more unfamiliar (and often emerging) authors. We feel that our peer review process is particularly supportive of new professionals, and we enjoy working with that demographic, though it often takes more time to get articles publication-ready. We currently do not have enough content on a regular basis to reliably publish a brand new, long form, peer reviewed article every other Wednesday. After much discussion, we have decided to change our publication strategy once again.

We will publish an article every 2 weeks—either on Wednesday (a brand new article) or on Thursday (a “Throwback Thursday” article pulled from our archives of over 170 previously published articles). This strategy will allow us to promote some of our older, yet still relevant articles to readers who may have missed them the first time around.

Lead Pipe believes that libraries and library workers can change the world for the better. We improve libraries, professional organizations, and their communities of practice by exploring new ideas, starting conversations, documenting our concerns, and arguing for solutions. We are always looking for submissions. We encourage creative thinking, envelope-pushing, and constructive criticism. Authors can send in a completed article or an idea for consideration, and we are eager to work with new professionals or those without prior publishing experience.

We look forward to hearing from you.

4 Responses

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  2. I think you’ve raised an important point here. The “pink labor” that happens in journal publishing is frequently behind an opaque wall. The work that it takes to work with authors to develop their emerging voices is a rare model in peer-reviewed publishing paradigms. From the outset Lead Pipe has valued this over the amount of content, so I applaud the current Ed. Board in making this hard decision to stick with these values.

  3. Pingback : In the Library with the Lead Pipe » Change In Publication Schedule