Nursing Librarian Part of New Journal Development

by Erinn Aspinall 

Left to right - Marty Lewis-Hunstiger (managing editor), Riane Eisler (editor in chief), Liz Weinfurter (production editor), and Teddie Potter (executive editor)
Left to right – Marty Lewis-Hunstiger (managing editor), Riane Eisler (editor in chief), Liz Weinfurter (production editor), and Teddie Potter (executive editor)

Liz Weinfurter has been the Nursing Librarian at the Bio-Medical Library since 2005.

During this time, she has developed relationships with faculty and students within the University of Minnesota School of Nursing that have often led to new and interesting projects.

Weinfurter says that a result of these strong relationships is that the library is seen as a potential partner on things that are not a typical library role.

Weinfurter’s typical day usually involves working with scholarly journals. As the Nursing Librarian, she helps faculty and students search the literature, evaluate research findings, and become savvy navigators of the information world.  

This work has led to a not-so-typical collaboration with the School of Nursing that draws upon her detailed knowledge of journal content and structure. Namely, Weinfurter was invited to serve as a partner in the development of what was to become the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies (IJPS).

Libraries supports journal philosophy

The scope of IJPS is to bring an interdisciplinary voice to the study of partnership models by asking, “How can a system of mutual respect, accountability, and benefit develop a system where power is empowering?”  

The journal scope aligns closely with the University Libraries’ commitment to support interdisciplinary work for mutual benefit.  

An outcome of this shared philosophy has been the development of the journal on an open access platform, allowing anyone to view and use the information. The use of an open access model was an easy decision for the editorial board, and a goal for the journal from the very beginning.  

“We wanted to create a mechanism to facilitate the free flow of knowledge about partnership systems to anyone across the world,” says Weinfurter. “It’s exciting because this is what the core values of libraries are about. With a scholarly, open access, electronic journal, we’re able to shift from a discipline-specific fee-based publisher model (a domination paradigm) to an open, partnership paradigm. It’s the embodiment of an interdisciplinary partnership system,” she adds.

Developing a new workflow

“Working with our fantastic team has been one of the great perks from this collaboration, and I learn from it every time we meet and connect.” —Riane Eisler

IJPS was developed through a collaboration between the School of Nursing, the University of Minnesota Libraries, and the Center for Partnership Studies.  

When Weinfurter first became involved in the journal’s development, she was able to define her role and lead the way as the University Libraries outlined a framework to support journal creation. She worked closely with the journal developers — Teddie Potter, faculty at the School of Nursing, and Riane Eisler, co-founder of the Center for Partnership Studies — to develop their collaboration. 

As the project became closer to reality, Weinfurter began serving as the journal’s Production Editor. “My role has been to facilitate communication between the IJPS editorial board and the new Publishing Services unit in the University Libraries, as well as to do most of the hands-on production work for the journal site,” says Weinfurter. 

She adds, “As a core member of the editorial board, I advise on any number of issues related to scholarly communication, such as Creative Commons licensing, best practices for online journal layout, metadata strategies, file naming conventions, and publication elements that are important for demonstrating rigorous scholarly quality.”

The partnership between Weinfurter, Potter, and Eisler has been a successful one that has benefited each of them. As Eisler notes, “Working with our fantastic team has been one of the great perks from this collaboration, and I learn from it every time we meet and connect.”

Journal impact

Before IJPS, there weren’t any existing scholarly forums dedicated to partnership knowledge. IJPS shares information on this theme by including various article types, from community voices to interviews to scholarly articles.  

“The idea was to disseminate traditional scholarly articles to help advance the field in academic realms, but also to publish information about how these theories are used in practice,” said Weinfurter about this approach. “That’s where the real paradigm shift happens ‐ seeing how the theories can be used in real life.”

The journal is preparing to publish its second issue and there is much to celebrate. IJPS has seen some notable usage. The first issue has been visited by nearly 1,900 unique users from a dozen countries across the world since it was released in November. The journal site has received nearly 5,000 pageviews to date, and full-text articles have been downloaded about 450 times. Weinfurter has also been instrumental in moving the journal to a new publishing platform hosted by the University of Minnesota Libraries, which will increase the journal’s functionality in the online environment.

As Weinfurter reflects on her experience, her enthusiasm about the journal is clear. “This is an especially exciting opportunity because we are creating something new, and partnership systems can literally change the world. The Libraries have supported this project by making an open access institutional publishing platform a reality, and this paves the way for others at the University to openly disseminate scholarship. It has been a transformative experience for us all.”

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