Guest Post – Scaffolding a Shift to a Values-driven Open Books Ecosystem – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Pressure from all sides of the ecosystem has propelled growth, experimentation, and commitment to making more scholarship accessible to more people. There is increased awareness, too, that making research open does not resolve all issues of equity and access to knowledge, that more critical engagement with the moral economy of open access is still to come. Living in a pandemic has accelerated the momentum and heightened the sense of urgency, not only in discourse, but in concrete steps being taken and strategies developed by institutions and publishers alike. Libraries, scholars, students, and readers of all kinds have had to move rapidly to adopt and adapt digital resources and tools. Open access books offer increased access to knowledge for the reader, but they also present an opportunity to remake a fragmented ecosystem, and to increase channels of communication about the processes involved in researching, writing, shepherding, financing, publishing, acquiring, and reading research….

Digital books, open or not, require infrastructure. Disintermediating hosting, distribution, and sales helps simplify cost structures. Non-profit presses are developing their own infrastructure to support greater strategic choice. Fulcrum, from Michigan Publishing, and Manifold, from the University of Minnesota Press, are two such developments that expand the new universe of values-aligned platforms. The MIT Press Direct platform launched in 2019 in an effort to disintermediate the relationship between the press and libraries. The platform aligns ebook distribution with the university press mission and opens space for dialogue with libraries. The greater connection with libraries has confirmed a gap in knowledge sharing between librarians, editors, library sales, and authors that, when filled, could make the monograph publication process clearer. Each stakeholder, internal and external to a press, holds valuable information about open access book development, funding, hosting, and discovery. Creating channels to share this information, and doing so through new, collective models, has the potential to benefit the system as a whole….”

African Minds – African Minds is an open access, not-for-profit publisher of scholarly books.

“African Minds is a not-for-profit, open access publisher based in Cape Town, South Africa. We publish predominantly in the social sciences and our authors are typically African academics and thinkers, as well as international academics who have a close affinity with the continent. We offer a new publishing channel to authors frustrated by a lack of support from traditional book publishers as well as with publishing’s anachronistic and lengthy approach to making knowledge available. African Minds is therefore not a traditional, commercial publisher. Our emphasis is less on the commercial viability of our publications than on fostering access, openness and debate in the pursuit of growing and deepening the African knowledge base.”

Scholarly Publishing Collective: For Librarians and Vendors

“In 2021, Duke University Press (Duke UP) announced a partnership with several nonprofit scholarly journal publishers and societies to provide journal services including subscription management, fulfillment, hosting, and institutional marketing and sales in a collaboration called the Scholarly Publishing Collective.

Electronic content for publications hosted under this program will migrate to the Scholarly Publishing Collective’s platform, managed by Duke UP and powered by Silverchair. Silverchair also hosts Duke UP’s books and journals in the humanities and social sciences at read.dukeupress.edu. The platform will launch in 2022 and Duke University Press will begin accepting renewal orders for the 2022 subscription year in July 2021….”

Duke University Press – Duke University Press now offering journal publishing services to nonprofit scholarly publishers

“Duke University Press is pleased to partner with nonprofit scholarly journal publishers and societies to provide journal services including subscription management, fulfillment, hosting, and institutional marketing and sales in a collaboration called the Scholarly Publishing Collective (SPC).

Beginning in 2021, the SPC will provide subscription management and fulfillment services, in partnership with Longleaf Services, to Cornell University Press, Texas Tech University Press, and the University of North Carolina Press. The SPC online content platform will launch in 2022, hosting journals and fulfilling digital access on behalf of Michigan State University Press, Penn State University Press, the Society of Biblical Literature, and the University of Illinois Press….”

WordPress Saves Creative Commons Search Engine From Shutting Down

“Creative Commons Search is joining WordPress.org, which will help keep the search engine of free-to-use images running for the foreseeable future.

Matt Mullenweg, CEO of WordPress parent company Automattic, says he decided to bring CC Search on board after hearing it was in danger of shutting down….”

The Open Library of Humanities merges with Birkbeck — Birkbeck, University of London

“Today, extending their existing partnership, and cementing the future of the platform, the Open Library of Humanities (OLH) has merged with Birkbeck. 

The merger allows OLH to maintain its charitable status, while ensuring its ongoing financial sustainability and reducing redundant administrative overhead….”

New nonprofit boosts Research4Life’s mission to build research capacity in lower- and middle-income countries

“Friends of Research4Life, a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in the United States, was launched to support the critical mission of the Research4Life partnership to enable full participation in the global information environment. Organizations and individuals can now make contributions that directly benefit Research4Life programs….”

OA.Works: Powerfully simple open access tools

“OA.Works is a non-profit building tools so that open access is easy and equitable. They’re free, open source, and co-designed with advocates for a just world….

We build tools like ShareYourPaper.org that make it simple to freely and legally unlock papers from behind paywalls. We helped create a global network of libraries sharing knowledge freely during COVID through RSCVD. Our tools like InstantILL and Open Access Button support accessing research without a steep price tag. In the past decade, our products have been used millions of times, across the world….”