- OA titles can generate significant print revenue. While there may be some tradeoff between OA editions and print sales, publishers can produce print sales revenue from their OA lists. Publishers may wish to take such revenue into account in considering business models for OA publication today.
- OA titles can generate meaningful digital revenue. When made available through consumer channels such as Kindle, ebooks that are available openly on other platforms can in parallel generate meaningful consumer sales. Publishers may benefit from giving focused consideration specific to OA monographs to their pricing and windowing tactics for such channels.
- Outliers are essential. A small number of OA titles sell particularly well, just as is historically the case in traditional monograph sales models. Publishers bearing this in mind will be thinking in terms of the sustainability and growth of their lists overall rather than each title individually.
- Titles with both hard and soft cover formats generate the most revenue. This may be the result of format choices publishers based on market forecasting, so from our data we cannot be sure that there is a causal relationship. Still, publishers may wish to give additional attention to their format strategy for OA books.
- Sales vary widely by field. History, arts, and humanities saw lower unit sales while social sciences saw higher unit sales and STEM fields saw the greatest. Publishers may need to pursue different sustainability models for OA books based on their field.
- An opportunity to increase print sales? There is currently significant friction for users in navigating from digital to print editions. Publishers and digital distribution platforms should work together to create a more seamless reader experience from digital discoverability of and engagement with the OA version to potential print sales.
The University of South Carolina Press and University Libraries are embarking on a new collaborative venture: Open Carolina, an open-access publishing platform. . . .
Many ventures into open scholarly resources are planned as temporary pilot operations because they are funded by time-limited grant pools. Thanks to consistent funding from the Libraries, Open Carolina has a sustainable model that will allow scholars with limited publishing funds to share their research via the platform, partially or totally foregoing associated fees. In its inaugural year, the Libraries aim to fund four full-length books and support is in place to make the program sustainable for years to come and allow Open Carolina to grow steadily.
Open Carolina will offer opportunities to a wide range of scholars and researchers regardless of university affiliation.
The Association of American Universities, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Association of University Presses published a final report assessing the success of the Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) project. The five-year pilot project engaged with more than 60 university presses and more than 150 open access scholarly works to encourage sustainable digital publication of and public access to scholarly books. The Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) project was launched in 2018 to publish humanities and social science scholarship on the internet, where these peer-reviewed works can be fully integrated into the larger network of scholarly and scientific research. The final report examines whether the pilot’s community of writers, institutions, libraries, and presses found it useful.
Thanks to the support of libraries participating in Direct to Open (D2O), the MIT Press will publish its full list (see below) of 2023 scholarly monographs and edited collections open access on the MIT Press Direct platform. . . .
In its second year, 322 libraries, an increase of 33% from the first year, from around the globe committed to support D2O. Expanding D2O’s international footprint, the Press also entered into all-in agreements with Big Ten Academic Alliance and the Konsortium der sächsischen Hochschulbibliotheken, as well as central licensing and invoicing agreements with Council of Australian University Librarians, Center for Research Libraries; Greater Western Library Alliance, MOBIUS, Northeast Research Libraries, Jisc, Partnership for Academic Library Collaboration and Innovation, SCELC, and Lyrasis.
Big Ten Open Books connects readers everywhere to fully accessible, trusted books from leading university presses. The first collection of 100 books is on the subject of Gender and Sexuality Studies. The ebooks are free-to-read by anyone with an Internet connection. They are also openly-licensed under Creative Commons licenses which make most of the titles free-to-reuse in any non-commercial way. . . .
The works in this collection have all been previously published by university presses and have undergone a rigorous selection and quality certification process that allows readers and users of this collection to trust the veracity of the content made available. Participating presses are Indiana University Press, Michigan State University Press, Northwestern University Press, Purdue University Press, University of Michigan Press, and University of Wisconsin Press.
We investigate the relations among university presses, academic libraries, and e-book vendors, by examining university presses’ perceptions of academic libraries and e-book vendors, and presses’ perceptions of themselves and the university press community. Findings are drawn from one-on-one interviews with 19 participants from 18 different university presses in the United States during 2020–2021. We observe a market structure for HSS e-books where most presses were satisfied with Big Four e-book vendors, including Project MUSE, EBSCO, ProQuest, and JSTOR, and lacked strong incentives to search for new e-book vendors. We find that most presses often treat libraries, including the one from the same institution, as their customers with limited interactions; findings also show university presses’ varied self-imaging, along with a shared perception about the collegiality of the university press community.
The University of Vermont has launched an open-access academic press aimed at removing the financial barrier between peer-reviewed research and audiences worldwide. Fully funded by the university and overseen by UVM Libraries, the UVM Press operates under a "diamond open access model"— meaning that authors pay no fees to publish with the press, and readers pay no fees to access the press’s published materials. . . .
Bryn Geffert, UVM’s dean of libraries, has experience with open-access publishing having launched the Amherst College Press in 2013. Geffert also led a consortium of libraries in establishing the open-access Lever Press in 2016. Geffert believes that the role of a library is to connect patrons to information, making UVM Libraries a logical partner for managing the UVM Press.
The new fund will support the MIT Press’s ground-breaking efforts to publish open access books and journals in fields ranging from science and technology to the social sciences, arts, and humanities. It will also help the MIT Press continue to develop tools, models, and resources that make scholarship more accessible to researchers and other readers around the world. . . .
Arcadia is providing an outright endowment gift of $5 million, as well as a $5 million “challenge” gift to incentivize other funders by matching their support of MIT’s open publishing activities.
This spring, Digital Scholarship’s bibliographies in the HTML format were reformatted as single page files with internal navigation. This included all bibliographies that were in HTML format only as well as the HTML versions of paperback books. These new PDFs are in a 12 point font and are designed for printing; however, they also have live links for immediate access. There were no content changes. For a list of all Digital Scholarship publications, see the site map.
The project seeks to understand empirically whether the availability of OA editions of scholarly books has a quantifiable effect on the sales performance of print editions. While many university presses have pursued experiments with OA publishing, sustainable financing of high-quality, rigorous scholarly publishing operations is a significant concern. The study will look at both OA and traditionally published titles across multiple disciplines from many presses. Findings from the study will be shared publicly in support of scholarly publishers, peer institutions, and associations devoted to humanities scholarship.
Overall, there’s no question that society and university publishers are progressing in the race to OA. It appears they’re just doing so at a slow and steady pace, likely to avoid stumbling over ongoing sustainability challenges, as revealed in Part 1 of "The OA Diamond Journals Study" from cOAlition S, based on a survey of 1,619 fully-OA journals. Respondents to that survey reported mixed degrees of OA publishing program sustainability, with a little over 40% breaking even and 25% operating at a loss.
Digital Scholarship has released the Academic Library as Scholarly Publisher Bibliography, version 3. This bibliography includes over 300 selected English-language articles, books, and technical reports about academic libraries’ digital publishing programs from 1989 though 2022. While academic libraries have published a variety of digital publications during this period, this bibliography primarily covers the open access publishing of scholarly books, journals, and other serials. It provides a brief narrative overview of the early development of these publishing efforts. It covers the establishment of new university presses by academic libraries, especially all-digital open access presses, and the merger or cooperative efforts of libraries and university presses. It also covers the technical publishing infrastructures used by library publishing programs. It includes full abstracts for works under certain Creative Commons Licenses. It is available as a website and a PDF file (52 pages). It includes a Google Translate link.
The bibliography has the following major sections:
- 1.0 Pioneering Library Publishing Projects in the 1980s and 1990s
- 2.0 Librarian-Led Association and Unaffiliated Publishing Projects in the 1990s
- 3.0 Library-Based Publishing Since 1999
- 3.1 New University Presses Established by Libraries
- 4.0 Library and University Press Mergers/Partnerships
- 5.0 Technical Publishing Infrastructure
Digital Scholarship’s website bibliographies have been reformatted as single-page files and a PDF file designed for printing has been made available for each one. They include a Google Translate link.
For our next step at UNC Press, we have been helping to develop a new initiative that is essentially a compromise between the legacy model of university press publishing and a fully -funded OA model. Path to Open is a concept modeled on the NEH Fellowship Open Book Program which provides for a three-year embargo period during which presses can participate in conventional cost-recovery activities, including selling print and consumer (e.g., Kindle) eBooks. During this time, JSTOR will be offering the digital versions of these titles to academic libraries and institutions in an exclusive subscription collection. JSTOR will pay presses an estimated $5,000 for each title put into the program.
Supported by a gift from the Arcadia Fund, shift+OPEN will provide a platform for subscription journals that wish to move to a diamond (i.e., institutionally subsidized, with no reader or author fees) open-access (OA) publishing model. . . . [Nick Lindsay] We have enough support to underwrite a modest-sized journal that is publishing on a quarterly basis and has a traditional set up. There’s a range of possibilities that we can consider inside those parameters and we plan to examine the operations of the selected journal very closely to make sure that it can reasonably fit within our financial constraints.
In keeping with its mission and longstanding commitment to increase access to scholarship, the MIT Press is pleased to announce shift+OPEN. This new initiative is designed to flip existing subscription-based journals to a diamond open access publishing model. Shift+OPEN is generously supported by the Arcadia Fund.
The MIT Press welcomes submissions for English-language journals in any field and from any part of the world. Intended for existing titles, shift+OPEN will cover the expenses of transitioning a journal to open access model for a three-year term, provide the Press’s full suite of publishing services, and support the development of a sustainable funding model for the future. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2023.