Therefore, I am instead suggesting that colleges and universities strategically invest directly in the publishing process and industry through various forms of sponsorship, partnership, or even outright ownership. Today, with outsourcing and partnerships becoming the norm, why shouldn’t scholarly output follow suit? Why not expend campus resources in ways that give institutions more control over costs and modes of distribution? Doing so could begin to erode the commercial publishing conglomerates’ stranglehold on scholarly output and put at least some of that control back into the hands of those who produce this output. Perhaps this could be characterized as extending the Diamond approach of institutional funding to underwrite free and open access in a strategic way that provides more direct benefit to the funding academic institutions and, just as importantly, increased power in the marketplace.
A significant number of institutions are already paying extra to make their faculty publications OA. Why should these institutions waste funds on up-front fees that fail to move us any closer to universal OA and that keep commercial publishing monopolies in control of the marketplace? If more colleges and universities were to take up the charge and invest in at least one high-quality OA journal through sponsorship, partnership, or ownership, the academic community could begin to take charge of its own intellectual property and change the scholarly journal marketplace. Crazy idea? Perhaps. Who would be willing to invest, why would they do so, what would be the result, and how would it happen?