Hybrid Publishing Lab

Academic communication in the digital age

The Hybrid Publishing Lab researches, develops and engages with new forms of academic publishing and communication for the digital era  

Approach – working with publishers, librarians, software developers, and authors the Hybrid Publishing Lab engages with new concepts and technologies of digital publishing particularly focusing on the humanities. By embedding these results into economic projects, for example with setting up a "Hybrid Publishing Consortium" to consult about Open Source software solutions, academic research is not only turned into an applied experiment but into a business model. Central for the Lab's projects is the idea of open access regarding education, academic knowledge and research, as well as a strong curiosity about new business models in a disruptive digital environment.

Challenge – digital distribution channels have changed the access to science and education as well as the further use of academic knowledge thereby introducing important keywords like "Open Access" and "Open Science". New forms of communication are on the rise like scholarly blogs, videos of conference lectures, or the distribution of academic papers via the universities' repositories. However, for a qualitative evaluation, a consistent quotation, a long term data archiving as well as for an economically viable publishing solutions that will prove satisfactory still have to be found. The fascinating new technologies of a global, instant and interactive publishing have to be made available to the humanities in their digital era – an interesting and important challenge.

Information – The Hybrid Publishing Lab is part of the Centre for Digital Cultures (CDC), which brings together the transdisciplinary research on digital media of circa 80 academics of the EU funded Innovation Incubator at the Leuphana University Lüneburg. Headed by Dr. Mercedes Bunz with 20 staff members it is financed until end of July 2015. The activities at the Leuphana University Lüneburg provide a focal contact point for the region.


In col­la­bo­ra­ti­on with pu­blis­hers, li­bra­ri­ans, soft­ware de­ve­l­o­pers and aut­hors, Hy­brid Pu­blis­hing is a lab that en­ga­ges with new con­cepts and tech­no­lo­gies in di­gi­tal pu­blis­hing with a par­ti­cu­lar fo­cus on the hu­ma­nities. Em­bed­ding its re­se­arch re­sults in eco­no­mic con­texts, for ex­amp­le by set­ting up a Hy­brid Pu­blis­hing Con­sor­ti­um to con­sult about Open Sour­ce soft­ware so­lu­ti­ons, the Lab both car­ri­es out ap­p­lied ex­pe­ri­ments in pu­blis­hing as well as in­cu­ba­ting new busi­nes­ses. Cen­tral for the lab's pro­jects is the idea of Open Ac­cess re­gar­ding aca­de­mic know­ledge, re­se­arch, and edu­ca­ti­on as well as a strong cu­rio­si­ty about new busi­ness mo­dels in a dis­rup­ti­ve di­gi­tal en­vi­ron­ment.


In part­nerships with pu­blis­hers and tech­no­lo­gy com­pa­nies the Hy­brid Pu­blis­hing Con­sor­ti­um re­se­ar­ched di­gi­tal de­ve­lop­ments in pu­blis­hing to es­ta­blish an Open Sour­ce soft­ware in­fra­struc­tu­re for small and me­di­um-si­zed en­t­er­pri­ses and uni­ver­si­ty pres­ses. Its fo­cus was to sim­pli­fy the pro­cess of mul­ti-for­mat pu­blis­hing in the aca­de­mic field.

Se­veral ex­pe­ri­ments ex­plo­red the un­bound book in the di­gi­tal age: "Book Sprints", a me­thod for col­la­bo­ra­ti­ve wri­ting first de­ve­l­o­ped by Adam Hyde, brought to­ge­ther a group to pro­du­ce a book in 3-5 days; "The Per­so­nal Ar­chi­ve" re­thought our re­la­ti­on to ar­chi­ves in the di­gi­tal era; a co­ope­ra­ti­on with DIE ZEIT trans­formed ana­log learning ma­te­ri­als into a hy­brid for­mat.

The in­no­va­ti­ve re­se­arch en­vi­ron­ment al­lows any num­ber of de­tails, or sub­re­gi­ons, wi­t­hin an image to be high­ligh­ted and de­scri­bed. It links an­no­ta­ti­ons wi­t­hin a cor­pus to each other, ma­king them ac­ces­si­ble in in­di­ces. In­te­rim re­sults as well as fi­nal ver­si­ons can be com­pi­led at any time as an on­line/​off­line hy­per­me­dia pu­bli­ca­ti­on.

The re­se­arch pro­ject pu­blis­hed re­se­arch on di­gi­tal cul­tu­res and net­wor­ked me­dia to ex­plo­re and ap­p­ly new di­gi­tal pu­blis­hing prac­tices. Its pu­bli­ca­ti­ons chal­len­ged con­tem­pora­ry theo­ries and ad­van­ce de­ba­tes re­la­ted to the Hu­ma­nities in the di­gi­tal age. Pus­hing the boun­da­ries of the book, the press com­bi­ned Open Ac­cess and tho­rough peer re­view with no­vel ap­proa­ches like Book Sprints.

Initialized by the Hybrid Publishing Lab this vo­ca­bu­la­ry dis­cus­ses and po­si­ti­ons key terms lo­ca­ted at the in­ter­sec­tion of di­gi­ta­liza­t­i­on and the hu­ma­nities in which each key­word gi­ves an over­view of de­ba­tes and dis­cour­ses, daws out in­herent ten­si­ons, and ex­plo­res fu­ture di­rec­ti­ons.