Butler Faculty Member Launches Innovative Fiction Writing Journal for Academics

Butler University faculty James McGrath is the founding editor of AcademFic, a new open access periodical dedicated to publishing fiction by academics outside areas that include writing in their academic and professional activity. Using the PALNI’s Open Journal Systems (OJS) and team support, and with assistance from Butler University Libraries, McGrath was able to launch the journal on an open-access platform eliminating the financial barrier to creating and accessing new issues and articles.

McGrath shares the inspiration behind AcademFic saying, “When I first had the idea to create a place that would publish works by academics outside of the field of creative writing […] I soon discovered that it was of great interest to many. There is a burgeoning area of publishing novels that seek to explore subjects like biblical studies through the writing of historical fiction, including quite a few penned by academics in the field. In addition to everything else, writing fiction can be a way to convey historical information to a wider audience. It can also be a way to test our [professional academics’] historical reconstructions and hypotheses.”

The first volume exemplifies McGrath’s vision and includes stories ranging widely in length, genre, and professional fields. The journal was made possible through the PALNI Press, which hosts a suite of publishing platforms.  All faculty, staff, and students affiliated with a PALNI supported institution may propose an open access publication for the PALNI Press that supports the teaching and learning objectives of their institution. See press.palni.org for more information.

To view AcademFic,  please visit: https://press.palni.org/ojs/index.php/academfic/index

Quilt Exhibit Goes Digital with Open-Access Platform

Mennonite Historical Library and Goshen College Librarian Tillie Yoder opens up digital access to a unique collection of quilts by the College Mennonite Church using the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana’s (PALNI) Omeka platform service. Using this open-access software to digitize the physical collection exhibit, the public can view the special collection online, for free.

“I am grateful that PALNI provides access to Omeka hosting and enjoyed tinkering with the many options the platform provides,” shares Yoder. “Using Omeka enabled us to create a professional online exhibit at a time when access to our in-person exhibit is restricted. We anticipate digitizing past exhibits as well and look forward to seeing how our partner libraries use the platform in their own ways.”

The online exhibit was co-sponsored by the Mennonite Historical Library and Goshen College Good Library. The public can view photos of the various quilts and the corresponding physical display, a list of the exhibit leaders, and a video showcasing the physical exhibit alongside interviews and statements from several quilters.

PALNI’s Omeka service is made possible through the efforts of the Publishing Services Administration Team (PSAT), which administers the PALNI Press.  The PALNI Press openly publishes the scholarly and creative content of PALNI-supported institutions.

To view the “Quilts from College Mennonite Church” collection exhibit, please see: https://press.palni.org/omeka/exhibits/show/quilts2020

PALSave Textbook Creation Grants Program: Call for Proposals

The PALSave Admin team is thrilled to announce the launch of the PALSave Textbook Creation Grants Program, which will fund the creation of five open textbooks!

Faculty members are invited to submit textbook creation proposals for courses they teach. Textbooks may cover any discipline at the undergraduate or postgraduate level. We seek proposals for complete textbooks geared toward a specific field of study, which meet the inclusion criteria for the Open Textbook Library.

Grant funding of up to $6,500 is available per accepted proposal, with an individual author maximum of $5,000. While joint authorship proposals are welcome, the lead author must be a faculty member employed at a PALNI-supported institution. PALNI will coordinate peer review, copyediting, layout, and hosting services.

Before applying, please review the full Call for Proposal document, which includes the proposal requirements, application form, grantee obligations, and review criteria. This document, and more information about the program, can be found on the PALSave Website.

To apply, send proposal requirements listed in the Call for Proposal document to palsave@palni.edu by January 15, 2021. Notifications on proposal acceptance will be sent March 1, 2021.

Butler Faculty Member Publishes an Open Textbook with PALSave Program

Butler University faculty Brian Weidner reduces the student textbook cost burden by creating an open access book for his course, “Brass Techniques 1,” after receiving a PALSave Course Redesign Grant.  Using an open-access textbook, each student in this course will save $50 with a total savings of $550 for Fall 2020.

Brass Techniques and Pedagogy Book Cover (Author Brian Weidner)

PALSave combats rising textbook costs at the twenty-four PALNI supported institutions using free materials like open educational resources (OER) instead of expensive commercial textbooks. Along with receiving a Course Redesign Grant, Weidner was the first in the consortium to use Pressbooks, an open-source, open-access publishing platform provided by PALNI, to create his textbook. Pressbooks allows editing and remixing of existing material, providing faculty with the ability to customize their course materials to meet their students’ needs.

About the course redesign process, Weidner states, “Redesigning this course around a custom-made OER has allowed me to flip the classroom as the textbook meets the exact needs that my students have. While it has taken me time to build a brand new text as there were no open textbooks out there already, my students have expressed how excited they are to have a resource that they do not need to pay for, and colleagues at other institutions have discussed adopting this text to support their students as well. I look forward to having this text improved by others who choose to use it in the future.”

PALNI is hosting and supporting Pressbooks for current Course Redesign Grant awardees, and this fall the service will be available to any faculty member at a PALNI-supported institution. To encourage faculty to create their own, original open textbooks, PALSave Textbook Creation Grants will also be announced this fall.

PALNI’s Pressbooks service is made possible by two of its collaborative groups, the OER Publishing Task Force and the Publishing Services Administration Team.  The PALSave program itself is supported with funding from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

To view Brian Weidner’s open textbook, “Brass Techniques and Pedagogy” please see: https://pressbooks.palni.org/brasstechniquesandpedagogy/

PALNI Library Publishing Task Force Report

Library publishing programs help libraries more actively participate in the scholarly communications cycle, advance open access, and meet local needs related to the creation and dissemination of scholarship. PALNI’s Library Publishing Task Force recently wrapped up its exploration of this emerging consortial service area and prepared a report to discuss its findings and recommendations. Read and download the report here: PALNI Library Publishing Task Force Report