Melusina is a hybrid and multimodal open access publishing initiative, that is carried out by the Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences of the University of Luxembourg (FHSE). In principle, it seeks to significantly improve researchers’ possibilities to make use of the means of digital technologies in scholarly publishing. It, furthermore, reacts to a long-standing request for digital publishing services, able to overcome some of the limitations researchers experienced within former publishing endeavour. Finally, it complies with the faculties’ interest to make visible its research in a collated and transparent way that is close to the faculties’ research activities and responsive to the needs of its researchers.
Melusina is a hybrid publishing initiative. It supports traditional ways of scholarly publishing, while it is open to more innovative aspects of scholarly publishing that have emerged throughout the last 25 years. We strongly believe that the challenges of digital technologies for publishing will not lead to a replacement of old forms with new ones, but, more precisely, to a variety of entanglements between new and old forms within a transformative scholarly publishing ecology. Consequently, Melusina supports online, print and raw data-like versions of publications at the same time. Moreover, Melusina cannot just be reduced to the online platform, where publications are advertised and can be accessed. It draws together relevant services and environments of which some already existed before – as in the case of the Universities’ code repository for raw data-like publications. It, thus, creates relational infrastructure that appreciates environments that work well already and adds services where these appear meaningful.
Melusina is a multimodal publishing initiative. The last 25 years have shown that digital technologies, more than establishing new types of publications, diversify the structures and practices in which research is communicated. Beyond monographs, essays or proceedings, Melusina therefor supports, among others, publishing endeavour around data papers, multi-media narratives, living handbooks, and video essays, whenever these formats seem useful and sustainable.
Melusina is an open access publishing initiative. In accordance with the University’s support of the Open Access movement, Melusina’s institutional support and embeddedness permits the use of certain facets of digital technologies in a way in which authors, readers and institutions all benefit from an open approach to publishing. As more recent research has shown, openness does not create value as such, and much of the momentum that open access received throughout the last years was driven by market concerns and shaped by publishing cultures in the sciences. But not all publishing cultures work similarly. Melusina is committed to take part in recent attempts to develop open access publishing models for the Humanities and Social Sciences – disciplines that had no big share in the open access movement in the past. Considering this, the Melusina team feels especially attached to the concept of so-called diamond open access, aiming at disrupting a common open access pattern in which the burden of publishing costs is just transferred from readers to authors.
Finally, Melusina builds upon the believe that in digital publishing until today too little attention has been payed to social and cultural aspects of publishing. Scholarly publishing is a socio-cultural ecosystem, hence, technological innovation and the imagination of the potential benefits of new forms of publishing alone will not innovate publishing in a sustainable way. Persistent preoccupations about the volatility and finity of digital publications are reliable testimonies for this situation. Consequently, Melusina puts a lot of energy in the development of and contribution to new social norms concerning the transparency of new publishing processes, in the assessment of quality of new types of publications, in issues of citability and the relationship between scientific discourse and acts of publishing under changing conditions. The main goal is to create value for researchers who decide to publish with Melusina, for those who find interest in its publications and for the scientific community as such.