A Short History of LiU E-Press

In the mid-1990s, Erik Sandewall, professor of computer science at Linköping University (LiU), had an idea that the World Wide Web - still in its infancy - could be used to reform the review process of scholarly publications. The established form of review was, and still is, to send an article manuscript to an academic journal for anonymous review by a group of experts – so called peer review. Instead, Sandewall suggested, articles could first be published online, and then openly reviewed by other researchers, thereby guaranteeing a more transparent process. The Internet had opened new possibilities in publishing and communication, and Professor Sandewall also created an interactive textbook online in his own research field artificial intelligence

These initiatives required some form of publishing platform. Sandewall proposed the creation of an online publisher at Linköping University. The university board endorsed the proposal and in October 1996 Linköping University Electronic Press (LiU E-Press) was established, with Sandewall as editor-in-chief.

The first journal published by LiU E-Press was Electronic Transactions on Artificial Intelligence (ETAI), which used the open peer review process that Sandewall had proposed. LiU E-Press also started publishing dissertations, student theses, conference proceedings and working papers from LiU departments.

The academic electronic publishing world was still surrounded by controversy, and critics argued that mixing scholarly publications with works by students was detrimental to quality. Others expressed concerns that the Internet was an unproven publishing platform and that its longevity could not be taken for granted. What would happen with electronic publications if the web proved to be a fad? For preservation purposes, LiU E-Press initially also published their journals in print.

From the start, LiU E-Press was not affiliated with any specific department within the University. In April 2004 it became an independent unit at the University Library, and a few years later LiU E-Press was made an integrated part of the Library and subordinated to the Library board. From 2009, LiU E-Press is a part of Linköping University Library’s Publishing Infrastructure (PI) department.

In order to publish student theses, LiU E-Press initially used a publishing platform created by LiU’s Department of Economics and Management. Researchers’ publications was published on static web pages on LiU E-Press’ web site. A separate system was used for the registration of publications by LiU researchers. In 2005, LiU E-Press started using DiVA, an online repository developed at Uppsala University, to publish student theses. A year later DiVA became the platform for publishing dissertations as well. Since 2008, DiVA is also used for the registration of research publications that is not published in full text.

Today, LiU E-Press is the host of a dozen academic journals, all of them Open Access, i.e. freely available online. LiU E-Press is also the host of databases with historic documents such as parish registers, law courts’ fines, prison records and medical and hospital records. Several of these databases have their origins in digitizing initiatives during the 1990s. Bibliographic databases and search services are also made available by LiU E-Press, as well as an array of services to LiU researchers.