Here’s What You Can Do with Your Overhead · punctum books

“As punctum books over the last few years has tried to develop a sustainable model of scholar-led open-access publishing, and has devoted a considerable amount of resources to advocating for the common goods of public scholarship and knowledge, we have increasingly encountered arguments, both open and veiled, that somehow our practice would not be “replicable,” “scalable,” or, indeed, “sustainable.” These arguments often depart from the assumption that we—in one way or the other—are not playing by the rules of the academic publishing game. And because we would be rigging the game, our publishing model could reasonably never gain any traction, let alone serve as a model for others.

Some of these arguments suggest that we have poured our own supposed personal (or family) resources into punctum, and that this would give us an unfair advantage over traditional legacy publishers. If we choose to disregard the reality of the sizable endowments for certain university presses and the obscene profit margins of commercial players, it is indeed the case that for many years we have worked for salaries below the industry standard. However, we never made the claim that the scholar-led open-access model that punctum advocates necessitates such below-market remuneration levels; on the contrary, we believe that with the current money that is already in the system, all scholarly publishers, editors, and authors can be paid a reasonable living wage. We don’t assume that any open-access scholar-led publishing house that were to follow the model we are developing would have to make the same financial sacrifices we did in our early years—that, indeed, would be unsustainable and unreplicable….”