by Lucy Barnes and Rupert Gatti
On 16 May 2019, Knowledge Unlatched announced the beta launch of a new hosting platform for Open Access books, the Open Research Library (ORL). Our books are a prominent part of this nascent project, both on the website and in the marketing associated with the launch, and this, together with Knowledge Unlatched’s claim that they are ‘working with publishers and libraries worldwide’, might give the impression that we are actively participating in and endorsing the platform. However this is not the case: we were not informed or consulted about this project at any stage; we were not told that our books would feature on this platform; and we do not support ORL. In fact we have grave concerns about its approach and business model, and those of Knowledge Unlatched (KU), which we will set out here.
OBP has participated in the data-gathering exercise that is currently being carried out by Fullstopp Gmbh on behalf of the Universities UK Open Access Monographs working group. The questionnaire, which is available online, has been designed to collect information that will inform future OA policy decisions, and in the spirit of openness we share our responses in full below. We also share the data we provided to Fullstopp, which comprises sales data for all the print editions of our books published before the end of 2017. We also have sales information for our digital editions and readership statistics for all our titles that we are happy to make available if requested.
We are always happy to share information and data about our work – we put as much of it as we can on our website, but if you’d like to know more, please get in touch! Continue reading
Knowledge Unlatched has recently announced the launch of a new platform for Open Access (OA) books – KU Open Funding (KUOF) – designed to:
- Facilitate payments from libraries/universities to Open Access publishers
- Provide a list of, and information on, OA publishers receiving institutional funding that researchers can use to identify and select their publisher
Firstly, it is worth noting that this service is designed to address issues of importance for sustainable OA book publishing. If business models for Open Access book publishing involve any form of funding transfer from an institution (university/grant body etc.) to the publisher (and there are many different forms this may take), then there are potentially significant transaction costs for each institution (and publisher) in setting up and administering these payments (if there are U universities and P publishers – then there are U x P financial flows to set up and maintain). These costs can be significantly reduced if all the transactions flow through a central hub – or platform – allowing each university or press to maintain just a single connection with the platform, rather than lots of individual connections. This reduces the number of connections for each university or press to just one, and across the whole system the number of required connections falls from U x P to U + P. In a world with lots of universities and lots of publishers, the potential savings are significant. Many such collective payment services already exist within the library community – although none focused entirely on OA books (e.g. JISC Collections in the UK provides a similar, but non-exclusive service for UK libraries wishing to pay subscription and other fees to publishers – including library membership fees to OBP). Continue reading
OBP: William St. Clair https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0084
When Alessandra and Rupert invited me to join them in establishing Open Publishers as a Community Interest Company, I was delighted to accept. Having been a senior manager in the British Treasury I had experience of economic and financial matters, and that experience had first been brought to bear in my 2004 book, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period, of which a free to read online summary was published later, as The Political Economy of Reading. Continue reading
The next ten years: “We need to show this can be different.”
While Gatti and Tosi are fiercely proud of what they have built, they believe the future of OBP lies in enabling the growth of other Open Access publishers. Gatti sees this as the way to achieve significant and lasting impact: “We did think we would grow bigger initially, that we’d want to be publishing a hundred books a year or something, but the Radical Open Access Collective, ScholarLed, this is a much more powerful expansion if you can facilitate that rather than us getting bigger.” Continue reading
Ten years ago today Open Book Publishers was born. Non-profit, scholar-led and now the leading UK Open Access publisher in the Humanities and Social Sciences, OBP began as a small-scale experiment, a passion project for co-directors Alessandra Tosi and Rupert Gatti. They were frustrated with the existing academic publishing landscape and convinced that Open Access could offer something different. Continue reading
OBP: Lucy Barnes https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1425-6985 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0064
Open Technology: The Future of Open Access
This is the third and final part of a three-part series of blogs to celebrate the publication of our hundredth book. To read the first part, click here. To read the second part, click here.
One of the major drivers behind the development of Open Access is technology. The internet allows us to make our books available online, and the ready availability of cheap mobile devices means that people all over the world can access them. Technological development in the internet age is partly fuelled by open source projects and phenomena such as crowdsourcing, which harness the willingness of skilled people to work together and share the fruits of their labour for others to develop further. Continue reading