Visualizing the Impact of the University of Michigan Press Fund to Mission Initiative

“In the humanities, the monograph often acts as the lab where scholars experiment and engage with other thinkers. Despite the valuable ideas emerging from these fields, the academic community has struggled to find sustainable ways to make humanities monographs open access. Grant money and other funding is often less available to these scholars than to their counterparts in the sciences. As a result, the academic and publishing communities have had to explore new ways to make the turn to open. Fund-to-Mission from the University of Michigan Press is one such project to open the humanities….”

Beyond BPCs: Reimagining and re-infrastructuring the funding of Open Access books | Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)

Deville, J. (2023). Beyond BPCs: Reimagining and re-infrastructuring the funding of Open Access books. Community-Led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM).

If you have heard any of the Open Book Collective team talk about our work, perhaps in a meeting, perhaps in a talk, then it’s likely that at some point, the issue of ‘BPCs’ will have come up. BPCs, or Book Processing Charges, are to books what APCs (Article Processing Charges) are to journals. BPCs are levied — usually to a university or a funder, but also in principle potentially to the author — as a fee for making an academic book available on an Open Access basis. By Open Access I mean work that can be accessed online without barriers, published using an open license — typically, but not necessarily, a Creative Commons licence.

Within the academic publishing industry, BPCs remain the most common way to fund Open Access books. They are used by publishers small and large, and by not-for-profits and commercial publishers. For small/not-for profit publishers, BPCs are usually used to cover the core production costs associated with book publishing. For large commercial publishers, BPCs can sometimes also be used to offset some of the profit — for example, from books sales or licensing contracts — that is lost when a book is made openly available to all.



Birkbeck plays leading role in project set to increase access of valuable research to the general public — Birkbeck, University of London

“Open Book Futures (OBF) is a new project working to increase access to valuable research through developing and supporting organisations, tools and practices that will enable both academics and the wider public to make more and better use of books published on an Open Access basis. In particular, the project aims to achieve a step change in how community-owned Open Access book publishing is delivered. 

Funded by Arcadia and the Research England Development (RED) Fund, the project marks a shift in the ambition, scope and impact of community-owned Open Access book publishing. It will significantly increase and improve the quantity, discoverability, preservation and accessibility of academic content freely and easily available to all.  

This will be done by building the infrastructures, business models, networks and resources that are needed to deliver a future for Open Access books, led not by large commercial operations but by communities of scholars, small-to-medium-sized publishers, not-for-profit infrastructure providers, and scholarly libraries.  

This includes expanding the work of the recently launched Open Book Collective, which makes it easier for academic libraries to provide direct financial support to Open Access publishing initiatives, as well as the Thoth metadata management platform; the Opening the Future revenue model, piloted with Central European University Press and Liverpool University Press; and the forthcoming Experimental Publishing Compendium….”

EU-Mitgliedstaaten betonen die Rolle von wissenschaftsgeleiteten Open-Access-Modellen jenseits von APCs | [Translation: “EU member states emphasize the role of science-driven Open Access models beyond APCs |”]

Translation: “EU member states emphasize the role of science-driven Open Access models beyond APCs |”

Guest Post – Manifesto for a New Read Deal – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Two trends in recent library-publisher relations have been the unbundling from big deals and the bundling of open access publishing onto read deals. Neither directly addresses how libraries undertake that fundamental role of brokering access to paywalled content from scholarly publishers on behalf of their communities.

Read-and-publish deals bundle a ‘publish’ component onto a preexisting ‘read’ component but, practically-speaking, little changes for the read component. And while unbundling from Big Deals does change the structure of read deals, this is not a proactive subscriptions strategy, it’s a retreat from a failed one. While neither trend offers a model for a new read deal, understanding how they shape the current terrain does help us navigate a future path.

Let’s consider the role of equity, which is gaining headway into library decision-making. Read-and-publish increases the overall number of articles published as open access through a publisher, which increases free access for readers; this increases equity. This also standardizes author-side OA publishing fees, decreasing opportunity for under-affiliated authors, which decreases equity. Some will argue that read-and-publish is good for equity, and others will argue it’s bad for equity, which is evidenced by the continued growth of read-and-publish deals as well as the continued criticism of them.

Setting that debate aside, where can energy be redirected productively? Easy. Consider less controversial frameworks that libraries operate under, such as the desire to maximize fulfillment of local users’ content needs within set budgets. Read-and-publish doesn’t necessarily do this in a ‘read’ subscription context and, unless we consider retreat from Big Deals as advancement in a different direction, the strategy vacuum left in that space is largely unfilled….

I propose that publishers make all of their paywalled content available to a partnered library’s users and, in turn, libraries pay invoices based on total usage of paywalled content at a single flat rate. (As opposed to a bespoke formula based on journal brand value and institutional classification.) Giving users the ability to read everything from a publisher is maximum coverage. Paying only for the paywalled articles that users use is maximum value….”

Opening the Future at CEU Press: an update on progress

“A brief look at our progress so far, since launching our OA funding programme in 2021

Central European University (CEU) Press, in partnership with the COPIM project, are proud to share the first insights into the global reach of open access (OA) titles funded by their Opening the Future (OtF) initiative. This collective subscription model gives libraries access to a selection of the Press’ backlist and uses the membership fees to publish new OA titles to increase readership. A forthcoming report, based on Project MUSE usage data, looks in detail at the usage of these OA books – below we outline a few highlights from the report.

WHAT did we achieve so far?

The model, launched in 2021, has grown its membership continuously and we already have the funding for more than 35 OA titles over the next few years.

HOW did OA book usage grow?

Looking at usage data on the Project MUSE platform between December 2021 and December 2022, we compared the ten OtF-funded OA books to ten similar closed titles. Similar titles were chosen on the basis of close publication dates and subject scope.

Project MUSE host the gated backlist packages as well as the new frontlist OA titles and we can see that the readership of our books has risen substantially with the introduction of OA, which is no surprise. Since 2021 our OA books funded by Opening the Future have been downloaded 36 times more frequently than similar gated titles. 

In fact, for the same time period, the overall download numbers for all CEU Press books on Project MUSE also show not only significant increase in usage across all titles, but more specifically a strong growth in the usage of OA books….”

eLife’s New Model: Initial three-month update | Inside eLife | eLife

“eLife’s new approach to publishing has been open for submissions since the end of January this year. During that time, we’ve been encouraged by the positive feedback from the scientific community and there has been a lot of interest in how it’s working and what we are learning behind the scenes.

To monitor the progress of the new model, we are working with the team at Incentivizing Collaborative and Open Research (ICOR) to analyse the data we are collecting with regards to submissions, disciplines and attitudes towards publishing. ICOR is building a collaborative research culture by strategising, connecting and implementing projects that seek to change the status quo of competition throughout the research cycle.

In this joint blog, we review what we have seen in the first three months* and reflect on what we have learnt so far. It has always been our intention to be transparent about the rollout of the new model and so, whilst this is very early data which we cannot draw firm conclusions from, we felt it was important to share at this stage. We plan to reflect a much fuller picture six months from the launch when we have collected more representative data….’

40 editors at a scientific journal just resigned in protest of their publisher’s “greed”

“This came to a boil on April 17, when more than 40 scientists resigned from their editorial positions at a journal called NeuroImage — one of the world’s leading publications concerning brain imaging. Founded in 1992, the journal publishes around 1,000 articles per year with an impact factor of 7.4, which is a metric for how often the journal’s research is cited by others. NeuroImage has been open access since 2020, a mode of scientific publishing that eschews paywalls, allowing anyone to read the research, share it and build upon it….”

Supporting diamond open access journals. Interest and feasibility of direct funding mechanisms | bioRxiv

More and more academics and governements consider that the open access model based on Article Processing Charges (APC) is problematic, not only due to the inequalities it generates and reinforces, but also because it has become unsustainable and even opposed to open access values. They consider that scientific publishing based on a model where both authors and readers do not pay, the so-called Diamond, or non-APC model, should be developed and supported. However, beyond the display of such a support on an international scale, the landscape of Diamond journals is rather in the form of loosely connected archipelagos, and not systematically funded. This article explores the practical conditions to implement a direct funding mechanism to such journals, that is reccurent money provided by a funder to support the publication process. Following several recommendations from institutional actors in the open access world, we consider the hypothesis that such a funding would be fostered by research funding organizations (RFOs), which have been essential to the expansion of the APC model, and now show interest in supporting other models. Based on a questionnaire survey sent to more thant 1000 Diamond Open Access journals, this article analyzes their financial needs, as well as their capacity to interact with funders. It is structured around four issues regarding the implementation of a direct funding model: do Diamond journals really make use of money, and to what end? Do they need additional money? Are they able to engage monetary transactions? Are they able to meet RFOs visibility requirements? We show that a majority of OA Diamond journals could make use of a direct funding mechanism with certain adjustments. We conclude on the challenges that such a financial stream would spur.

Astronomy & Astrophysics to remain in Open Access under Subscribe to Open model in 2023

“Astronomy & Astrophysics (A&A) is pleased to announce that it will continue to publish its research in open access for the second consecutive year under the Subscribe to Open (S2O) model. In contrast to other core astronomy journals that have transitioned or will transition to open access via the Gold (APC) route, A&A has chosen a different approach to achieve immediate open access while minimizing any potential disruption to authors or subscribers. This decision reaffirms A&A’s commitment to making its high-quality research easily accessible to the global scientific community, while also ensuring sustainability and financial stability for the journal.

A&A’s Board of Directors and EDP Sciences have confirmed that despite the challenges in maintaining subscriptions under the S2O model, they have decided to continue publishing in open access for another year. This ensures that A&A’s high-quality scientific content remains freely accessible to all readers with no article processing charges (APCs) imposed on authors. Authors retain copyright ownership and comply with institutional and funders open access requirements. The engagement of A&A with the S2O model is a testament to the journal’s commitment to open access and to providing a cost-effective publishing option for many authors, despite the challenges faced by the scholarly publishing industry….”

Path to Open: Exploring a Sustainable Model in Publishing New Open Access Books

“The quest for a sustainable model to support open access (OA) academic books continues, especially for literature in the humanities and qualitative social sciences. While there is a proliferation of initiatives, they tend to be publisher-specific or small scale. Achieving sustainability is challenging, particularly for small and medium university presses, but the demand and interest in the content is high. When publishers converted licensed ebooks to open access, they saw usage surge by 5,500% on JSTOR.

How can we meet the scholarly community’s shared goal of increasing equity and access to knowledge while ensuring value for funding libraries, reducing the financial risk for scholarly publishers, and expanding authors’ impact? In this webinar, you will learn how partners spanning the entire community collaborated to develop Path to Open, an innovative model for OA monograph publishing.

Representatives from two university presses, University of Tennessee library, The Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA), and the nonprofit JSTOR, will explore their new initiative to meet these challenges and address opportunities. You will learn how this program supports bibliodiversity in publishing, provides infrastructure and scale for the publishing and library community, and selects titles that will have high impact for its readers. You will also find out why libraries are participating in this pilot and the factors considered in the decision-making process. And you will hear how you, too, can join us on this promising path to open.”