The Newsletter 82 Spring 2019

Spreading knowledge easily - Open Access publishing in Asian Studies

Nicole Merkel-Hilf

For more than three years CrossAsia-ePublishing has supported unlimited and free access to scientific information on the Internet, and has provided electronic publishing in open access. The range of services varies from the hosting of e-journals to the publication of books of different types and formats, i.e., digital and print-on-demand editions. Our current focus is to enhance the traditional publishing formats in order to bring them up to the standards of the ‘digital age’. Annotations, links to external resources and the incorporation of multimedia content, as well as related research data in CrossAsia-ePublishing, are crucial to providing scholars today with a publication service that meets their needs.

CrossAsia-ePublishing is part of the project ‘Fachinformationsdienst Asien’ (FID Asien), funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The FID Asien is cooperatively carried out by the State Library in Berlin, Heidelberg University Library and the South Asia Institute (SAI) in Heidelberg. The web portal CrossAsia is used as the central access point to the project results and for scientific information in Asian studies ( The area of ​​‘electronic publishing’ in the FID context is the central field of action of the project team of the Heidelberg University Library and SAI, where all publication platforms are developed, hosted and operated.

What are the publishing options for scholars?

The document server CrossAsia-Repository offers Asia scholars from around the globe the opportunity to electronically publish their research work. On the repository we publish articles, pre-prints and post prints or book chapters. All publications are indexed with standardized metadata, they are permanently archived, citable and referenced in national and international catalogs and search engines. Currently CrossAsia-Repository contains approximately 4,100 publications with free access to the electronic full text.

The open access platform CrossAsia-eBooks in its turn offers Asia scholars from around the world a publication option for scholarly e-books. We use the open source software OMP (Open Monograph Press) of the Public Knowledge Project (PKP). The primary form of publication is online publishing in various digital formats (PDF, HTML) in Open Access Gold. The publication of a print-on-demand hard or softcover edition, which can be purchased from local or online bookstores is also possible. We publish monographs and anthologies from all fields of Asian studies. All titles receive a DOI and their own ISBN and are therefore permanently citable. In order to ensure academic standards, the series editors, or in the case of dissertations the supervisors, provide the recommendations for publication.

Another part of CrossAsia e-publishing is CrossAsia-eJournals. With the Open Journal Systems (OJS) software, CrossAsia-eJournals provides a technical platform for publishing electronic journals. The transformation of print magazines into e-journals is also possible. OJS handles the entire editorial review and publication process – from the submission of an article, to the organization of the peer review and the publication of the final issue, each step is handled comfortably via the Web browser. The OJS interface is available in several languages and is adapted by the Heidelberg project team to the respective wishes of the editors. Currently, CrossAsia-eJournals hosts 10 e-journals with a focus on Asian studies. The project team of UB Heidelberg and SAI supports editors in the clearance of copyrights as well as in the publication process in general.

Dynamic and collaborative

At the present time Heidelberg University Library focuses its current activities in the area of electronic publishing on the further development of dynamic and collaborative publication possibilities. This includes so-called ‘enhanced publications’, i.e., linking scholarly texts to images, maps or 3D visualization. Moreover, through ontology-based data storage in a triple store, research results can be linked to other data repositories worldwide by using linked data.

In addition to e-publishing, CrossAsia-ePublishing offers the possibility of permanently archiving and referencing research data in the field of Asian studies. These can be directly linked to online publications on the Heidelberg Publishing Platforms. All research data, be it images, videos, audio files, tables, graphics, etc., receive a DOI and thus become permanently citable and visible as independent scientific achievements. The research data is stored in ‘HeiDATA Dataverse Network’, the research data repository of Heidelberg University.

To access all these services please visit:

Nicole Merkel-Hilf, Chief coordinator ‘South Asia’ FID Asien, SAI Library