Introduction. Many surveys have been promoted and/or supported by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and ARL (American Research Libraries) to gain understanding of the initiatives and projects undertaken by universities and/or research institutions in the development of value-added services to manage in-house publications. These surveys considered the advantages of using open source software to manage digital contents and pointed out critical issues in the development of these services, stressing the necessity of integrating them with other digital repositories. Case studies of successful strategies are also reported, highlighting the research context, type of products and/or collections to be managed with e-publishing services.
Aim. This paper intends to describe a methodology used to analyze the editorial production of CNR Institutes belonging to the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences. This analysis is considered a pre-requisite to design a feasibility study with the aim of developing an e-publishing service tailored to HSS characteristics. To reach this aim the paper describes in particular the characteristics of editorial products defining a set of quality criteria for current production. The result of this analysis can provide insight into the identification of weak and strong points that have to be addressed when developing a new and sustainable e-publishing service.
Survey design. To gain insight into the characteristics of editorial products we identified a set of variables that express stability (start date, number of years and frequency of publication); editorial quality (presence of standardized bibliographic elements and codes; attribution of Copyright/Creative commons; Peer-review process) and visibility (indexed in national/international catalogues and/or archives, access modes). For the purpose of our analysis the results of the survey are described distinguishing between the editorial products entirely managed in-house and those that are published and/or distributed by commercial publishers. Moreover, results are also reported by type of editorial products (Monograph series, journals and e-journals and report series) considering that each type of product has specific modes of publishing and editorial process.
Results. CNR Institutes in HSS produce different types of editorial products in a stable way and with continuity over time. There is a consistent number of series that have published for more than 20 years and editorial activity is keeping pace with new-born products that also include e-Journals. No major differences emerged in the editorial quality of in-house and external products, especially if we consider formal editorial aspects. The selection of content depends on the type of products, while content evaluation of in-house publishing is not so diffused as well as the attribution of copyright/creative commons. The introduction of an e-publishing service could support more efficiently the peer-review process and also improve visibility thanks to their additional services embedded in their platform that support all the activities connected with the content exposure and retrieval in indexing and abstracting services. This is particularly important in HSS.
In the future we intend to further analyze the organization context where editorial activities are managed carrying out a questionnaire-based survey to explore the role of libraries and/or other stakeholders involved in this process as well as researchers' needs when publishing their results.