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Lever Press: A publisher of pathbreaking scholarship

Beth Bouloukos from Lever Press will visit Ursinus College on Thursday, October 18th.

Lever Press is an open access press supported by a consortium of liberal arts college libraries, including Ursinus, that publishes digitally native pathbreaking works of scholarship. Lever is aligned with the ethos and mission of liberal arts colleges and seeks out, identifies, evaluates, and advocates for transformative scholarship that spurs creative dialogue within and between traditional fields of inquiry, emphasizes disciplinary innovation, draws upon new models of collaborative research, and strives to reach the broadest audience possible.

At the Faculty Salon from 4 – 5:30 p.m. in the Bears’ Den on October 18th, Ms. Bouloukos will talk about Lever Press, the state of Open Access (OA) today and the question of what exactly the word “access” means in the term “Open Access.” She will discuss the benefits of OA broadly and focus on what is called “platinum OA,” a model that is not dependent on the market or contingent on large fees, donations, or grants. She will address the reputation problems suffered by Open Access presses, which are increasingly citing rigorous peer review processes to bolster their credibility. While scholarly publishers of all kinds (OA and traditional, commercial and non-profit) claim that their uniqueness pivots on the process of peer review, individual presses give varying answers when asked what form their peer review takes. Ms. Bouloukos will discuss the work that is being sponsored by Lever and MIT on a signaling system for peer review transparency. She will also discuss the unique challenge that Digital Humanities or Digital Liberal Arts projects pose in the peer review process.

Ms. Bouloukos will also review the nuts and bolts of monograph-length publishing, from proposal to bookshelf (or the cloud), addressing the three main areas of book publishing that are of interest to scholars: acquisitions, production, and marketing. Topics covered will include: writing an effective proposal, knowing when it’s time to make contact with a publisher, finding the right publisher, understanding the peer review and board processes, handling rejection, negotiating a contract, preparing projects for production, and promotion.

There will be ample time for discussion and questions at the end of the workshop.

Beth Bouloukos attended Hamilton College and received her doctorate from Cornell University, where she researched Latin American literature, film, and culture through a feminist lens. Before beginning at Amherst College and Lever Presses, she acquired books in education, Latin American/Latinx studies, and gender and sexuality studies at SUNY Press for seven years. She is particularly interested in projects that link theory to praxis and that give a platform to historically marginalized voices. She has also served as a visiting assistant professor at Fairfield University and the University at Albany, SUNY. 

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