Funding open access monographs: A coalition of libraries and publishers
College & research libraries news
A coalition of libraries and publishers S cholarly monographs present one aspect of open access (OA) publishing that is just beginning to see the sustained analysis that comes with reliable data. Until recently, actual hard data on the publishing costs and revenue associated with academic books was conspicuously absent from the debate over OA. Studies such as the ones undertaken by Ithaka S&R 1 and OAPEN-NL 2 are addressing this gap, giving us for the first time the means to assess the costs
... and revenue streams for, OA monographs in relation to the "legacy" publishing model. Here we consider the OA business model employed by our company, Open Book Publishers (OBP), 3 based in the United Kingdom. We first outline how publication of OA monographs redresses problems of reach and dissemination inherent to traditional publishing practices for academic books. We summarize other key OA business models currently employed in the United States and United Kingdom and demonstrate how, with a combination of cost-efficient production, revenue from sales, the targeted use of publishing grants, and library coalition support, OBP has developed a sustainable publishing model to: 1. publish only high-quality research; 2. maximize readership of the content of the works published; 3. maximize engagement with, and re-use, of the works; and 4. improve the quality, range, and scope of academic research by encouraging and developing innovative outputs. Using our own costs, sales, and readership data, we also make the case that social enterprises are an appropriate mechanism for delivering the opportunities OA provides.