We have recently published two dictionaries in our series African Language Grammars and Dictionaries which were automatically converted from the FLEX lexical database. These two books are The Ik language and A dictionary and grammatical outline of Chakali.
In this post, I will detail how structured lexical data as found in FLEX can be converted to *tex, which can be compiled into a LangSci book. I will complement this with some observations about conversions from the XLingPaper format.
Traditionally, once a book was published, there was little you could do to change its content afterwards. Works in linguistics which see a second edition are few and far between. The most you could hope for is a sheet of errata distributed with the book itself. One consequence of this was, incidentally, that many works were withheld for a long time to make sure they were absolutely perfect before releasing them to the printer’s, which would make the content immutable.
Errata. CC-BY-SA Sage Ross.
With electronic publication, things are different. The publication of a new version is comparatively cheap. In this blogpost, I will detail the lifecycle of a document at Language Science Press and show how we work together with PaperHive to get the document from the initial stage to the first (and subsequent) editions. At the end, I will put this approach into a wider perspective on academic publishing.
Linguistic books often include maps which give the location and surroundings of the varieties under investigation. As such, these maps provide very valuable background information about the setting. Unfortunately, very often the maps included in submissions we get cannot be printed. This has two reasons:
- we cannot print copyrighted maps. Most maps from other books are copyrighted and as such not usable by us, but also maps from the Internet (e.g. GoogleMaps or Ethnologue) are copyrighted.
- the map is in bad resolution. Screenshots are typically 72 dpi (dots per inch), but for good printing quality, we need 300 dpi, otherwise the picture looks blurry on paper (it may look OK on a screen though).
This blogpost is about creating simple maps which do not have either of these problems with the free software Inkscape. For an experienced user, this can be done within an hour or so; novices will need some more time.
Screenshot from OpenStreetMap
Next to publishing 35 books over the last 3 years, we have also explored ways to finance open access. We identified 5 revenue streams, but our evaluation showed that the most promising one is a “library partnership model”, similar to crowdfunding. Instead of charging readers or authors, we think that small contributions from a wide network of linguistics libraries worldwide are a better solution for long-term sustainability and this is also more in line with the spirit of the linguistics community.
Our target in terms of book publications is 30/year.
For this, we have to collect 115,000 EUR.
Ways to support
Together with Knowledge Unlatched, we have set up the following ways to contribute towards meeting this sum:
We will approach libraries over the next months and propose our financing model to them. Libraries are much more likely to contribute if researchers have talked to their library about the advantages of Language Science Press before, so you can help us immensely by sending just a very brief email to your librarian. (See sample below).
OAPEN has recently sent us the access statistics for the last year. OAPEN is a repository for open access books. All our books are listed there, in addition to our OMP platform.
It is interesting to see in how far one or the other platform is used, and how the differences could be explained. The raw data are given below.
OMP pdf downloads 2016
|The future of dialects
|New directions in corpus-based translation studies
|Einführung in die grammatische Beschreibung des Deutschen
|The Alor-Pantar languages: History and typology
|Natural causes of language
|The empirical base of linguistics
|Roots of language
|Advances in the study of Siouan languages and linguistics
|Einführung in die grammatische Beschreibung des Deutschen²
|Linguistic variation, identity construction and cognition
|Thoughts on grammaticalization
|The evolution of grounded spatial language
|A grammar of Yakkha
|Eyetracking and Applied Linguistics
|A grammar of Palula
|The Talking Heads experiment
|Syntax und Valenz
|The evolution of case grammar
|A grammar of Pite Saami
|Language strategies for the domain of colour
|How mobile robots can self-organise a vocabulary
|A grammar of Mauwake
|Prosodic detail in Neapolitan Italian
|Grammaticalization in the North
|A typology of marked-S languages
We started our annual retrospectives last year. This is the retrospective for 2016
Books and series
Up and until 2015-12-31, 225 works have been proposed to Language Science Press (+86). The curve is very regular and nearly linear.
Book proposals over time
The following figure gives a breakdown of the distribution of these works and their states of completion.
The most active series are Studies in Diversity Linguistics (52), Textbooks in Language Sciences (25) and Translation and Multilingual Natural Language Processing (11).
There are currently 19 series (+2). Last year, we accepted EuroSLA Studies and Phraseology and Multiword Expressions.
Language Science Press provides books as Open Access, but we also strive to make the whole publication process more open. Our software is open source, the Latex-code for all our books is openly available, and our bibliographies are on Glottolog.
One aspect of this openness is Open Review. The idea is that instead of two blind reviewers, the whole community can comment on a new manuscript and point out merits and possible improvements. A discussion of the theoretical axes along which Open Review can be differentiated can be found here; a report of practical experiences by Stefan Müller is here. At the time Stefan wrote his report, the technical infrastructure needed for doing Open Review was not fully in place yet, but now we are happy to announce that we will start Open Review as we intend it to be. Our first book to enter this Open Review stage is “Tone in Yongning Na: Lexical tones and morphotonology“.
As of now, there have been 212 expressions of interest to publish with Language Science Press. In the beginning, the time between one book publication and the next was rather long, but now we have a number of parallel projects which requires some scheduling.
An important part of our workflow is community proofreading. We send out chapters of to-be-published books to community members interested in the topic. These community members then proof the chapter and return the corrections. Their contributions are listed in our Hall of Fame.
The proofreading phase is currently 4 weeks. But our output will be more than 1 book/month in the very near future. This means that we will have several books in proofreading at the same time. The following is a list of upcoming projects and the projected order in which they will reach proofreading. The order is basically first-come first-serve, i.e. when a books is ready, we send it out for proofreading. We might deviate from that in order to ensure a mix of books. For instance, we currently have 4 Africanist books. We add some other books in between to balance the topics.
The current queue is given below. Time between one book and the next should be two weeks:
Many of our books contains images and graphics. These serve a variety of purposes (maps, photographs, charts). Very often, the images provided by the authors during the initial submission cannot be used. This blog post will shed light on some of the common issues we encounter when dealing with images.
One of the founding ideas of Language Science Press was that the press should operate without charging readers or authors (Platinum access). Of course, there are still costs associated with the operation of a press, which have to be financed in a sustainable way. We are happy to announce our cooperation with Knowledge Unlatched. Together with Knowledge Unlatched, we will implement a library partnership model. A library partnership model is similar to crowdfunding: a number of interested parties (in our case libraries) join forces to finance the production of goods they would like to see available (in our case high quality open access linguistic books). When there are enough contributors, production starts. In case there were not enough supporters, nothing is produced, and no one pays. This model is used for instance by the Open Library of Humanities. OLH runs Open Access journals, among which we find Glossa and Laboratory Phonology. There are currently 207 institutions contributing towards the financing of this platform.
Knowledge Unlatched operates on a similar to the model for books, focusing on the Humanities. In the rounds 1 (2014), 2 (2015), and 3 (2016), there were 28, 78, and 343 books funded, respectively, by a total of 380 institutions from 26 countries. This makes Knowledge Unlatched a natural partner for us: they have the expertise to set up the model, the network to make it work, and a track record which shows they know what they are doing.
In order for this model to work, it is necessary that we acquire 100 libraries or institutions which are willing to become members of the library partnership model. Please talk to your library about this project. We will prepare some information material over the course of the next months and make it available to our supporters. In spring 2017, libraries will be proposed membership. We count on our community to prove that linguistics is ready for real open access, without any direct charges for readers or authors. Please help us make this happen and make sure your home institution joins us.
Presentation given at the LangSci series editors meeting on 2016-10-07 (pdf, in German)