“In developing services, our philosophy is “first of a kind, not one of a kind.” A good example is the Fulcrum publishing platform, developed with support from the Mellon Foundation and now self-sustaining. Fulcrum shares an open-source backend with the Deep Blue data repository. That means every type of output is a first-class publication: A Fulcrum-hosted monograph with integrated multimedia gets the same stewardship commitment that Deep Blue applies to health sciences research data. And the creator of a research dataset gets the same rich metrics (e.g., citations, altmetrics, downloads) that we would deliver to a monograph author….
I think we’re at the “so now what” stage of open access (OA). With a critical mass of freely-available, reusable literature and data, what tangible benefits can publishers offer society? And how should publishers format and distribute the outputs of open scholarship to turn free access into valuable access? With this question in mind, we’re doing several things at Michigan: expanding discovery networks (e.g., creating best practices for research data through the Data Curation Network, delivering OA books to public libraries via the Palace project, highlighting quality certification via the DOAB PRISM service), making sure our platforms and content are accessible (staying current with Benetech Certified Global Accessible audits, making monographs available as audiobooks through the Google Text-to-Speech program) and scoping open source integrations with partners that complement Fulcrum’s functionality (working with Mellon and the Big Collection initiative to integrate Fulcrum, Manifold, and Humanities Commons, and integrating Fulcrum repository functionality into the Janeway journals platform).
We’re also focused on how to measure and communicate the greater reach and engagement OA enables. We’re working with Curtin University to refine a publicly-accessible Books Analytics Dashboard and partnering with Jisc and Lyrasis to expand US participation in IRUS repository statistics. The IP Registry is developing a product with us to identify the institutional use of OA books, and we’re supporting the OAeBU project to build a trusted framework for publishers to exchange OA usage metrics. We recorded at least 12 million Total Item Requests in 2022 for Michigan Publishing publications. But that’s a meaningless number unless put in context.
Authors should never be required to pay to publish open works. Let’s try and avoid perpetuating or creating a new inequity of access. The Fund to Mission program, supported by our parent institution and more than 100 libraries, enables this for U-M Press. We also partner with a consortium of over 50 liberal arts colleges to run Lever Press as a truly diamond open-access book publisher. The capacity to do such work is building. I particularly credit Lyrasis Open Programs, the BTAA Big Collection academy-led publishing program, the American Council of Learned Societies Publishing Initiatives, the S2O community of practice, and the Open Access Books Network….
I worry that larger publishers with better resources to handle complexities like transformative agreements are sucking away the resources to support open-access books and journals. Small, independent publishers (barely for-profit, if commercial) face similar challenges to university presses. We must ensure that funder and library policies don’t accidentally erase the bibliodiversity that independent and institutional presses have brought to their regions and disciplines for decades. I am particularly excited by the potential that Path to Open (JSTOR) and the