The open-access monograph conundrum can be solved

peter.suber's bookmarks 2020-11-03


"I have been thinking about models for OA monographs for over a decade, trying to find an affordable way for small-medium -sized presses – and particularly university presses – to transition to fee-free OA. My experience of implementing a business model with these characteristics at the Open Library of Humanities has taught me many valuable lessons about the degree of labour involved and the limits of scalability.

I believe that this year we have developed such a model, through our work at COPIM, that could work for many mid-size university presses. It is a model that preserves print and that is low risk. A model that is affordable for libraries but avoids charging authors. Most importantly, it is a model that scales dynamically: as membership grows, books are made OA the second that a press hits the revenue threshold, meaning that it is not an “all or nothing” approach. The model is called Opening the Future.

The model works by offering a subscription package to elements of a press’s backlist. That is, the press offers options of collections of 50 or so titles to libraries, to which institutions subscribe. These titles are not open access but are offered as a subscription for the duration of the term.

However, in Opening the Future, revenue from the subscriptions is used to fund frontlist titles to go open access. This model, then, appeals both those who wish to pay for subscription-access content (more traditional university acquisition models) and those who support OA initiatives. It brings many institutions together under one roof for an affordable route to open-access books. Of course, the model does not obviate the need for subsidy; the Central European University Press, who are the first press to implement the plan, receives support from its host institution (as should all university presses)...."


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Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » peter.suber's bookmarks

Tags: oa.books oa.business_models oa.copim oa.up oa.print

Date tagged:

11/03/2020, 09:16

Date published:

11/03/2020, 04:20