By Sharla Lair (Senior Strategist of Open Access and Scholarly Communication Initiatives, LYRASIS)
The library community is looking for new ways to use the funds they steward to open more scholarly content. There are fairly established strategies for funding open access (OA) journals, but many librarians have been asking:
What are the opportunities to direct funds to make scholarly books OA? And how do libraries evaluate these programs to determine whether library funds should be used to support them?
OA Book Programs: What are they and where to find them
The following is a fairly comprehensive list of OA book programs that are actively seeking funding from the library community:
Central European University Press Opening the Future
Language Science Press
Liverpool University Press Opening the Future
LYRASIS United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fund
MIT Press Direct to Open
Open Book Publishers
Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME)
University of Michigan Press Fund to Mission
Various entities are aggregating lists of these programs so that they are easier for libraries to find:
In the United States, LYRASIS maintains a list of all of the OA programs they support, including books programs.
Jisc also acts as a hub of OA ebook programs for UK institutions.
Libraries can also look to their peers for guidance. Some libraries are listing the programs they support like KU Leuven and the University of Kansas.
Evaluating Open Access Books Programs
Once you know where you can find these programs, you then need to evaluate them to determine whether your library wants to dedicate part of its budget to support any of them. It can be overwhelming to evaluate these programs, especially with decreasing staff and resources. So where is the best place to start? Libraries that do participate in OA book programs usually start by asking a few questions.