The University of Michigan Press, a scholarly, peer-reviewed publication, announced this week that it was planning to move to digital publication. "We believe this helps the university to use leading communication technologies to greatly improve the dissemination of the U-M Press imprint and thereby cultivate discourse on the ideas inherent in scholarly works," said University of Michigan Provost Teresa Sullivan.
According to the University of Michigan Press blog, "to maintain its leadership role in scholarly publishing in the digital age, the University of Michigan will restructure its largest publishing affiliate, University of Michigan Press. With the changes, the press will shift its focus to the recruitment, production and dissemination of primarily digital monographs."
Of course, the move aslo enables University of Michigan Press to take advantage of technological advances digital media have over traditional print. From the blog: "Among the most significant changes from printing on paper to making scholarly works available in digitized formats will be an emphasis on interactive design, which will include much enhanced digital options, including hot links, graphics, 3D animation and video. 'The multimedia options for authors to communicate the subtleties of their work will be greatly enhanced,' Phil Pochoda, director of U-M Press, said. Print on demand—the ability to turn electronic works into bound volumes quickly and in small batches—will be used extensively by the revamped Press."
Another, and perhaps more significant aspect of the changes at University of Michigan Press is a realignment away from the traditional, financially self-sustaining unit. Instead, the Press will be a part of a department that reports to the dean of libraries. Several other university presses, such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press and New York University Press, have similarly structured arrangements.