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
This is 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 final part, click here.
A Global Outlook: Access for Everybody
Why Are We Needed?
Most people in the developing world never own a book. Even in developed countries, the prohibitive price of textbooks and academic titles hinders education, eating into shrinking library budgets and also making it less likely that individuals can afford to buy academic books. In developing countries the situation is even more critical: economic factors combine with lack of infrastructure to restrict access to printed textbooks and university-level titles.
Globally, there are more people enrolling in courses of study than ever before; more people engaging with research and ideas than ever before; more people using digital technology to discover information than ever before. By changing the nature of the academic book, we want to enable everyone to access high-quality textbooks and peer-reviewed research, regardless of income. With the power of digital Open Access publishing, we can make this happen. Continue reading
Open Book Publishers was born in 2008, sparked into life by co-founder and managing editor Alessandra Tosi’s first-hand experience of the frustrations of academic publishing. The thrill of seeing her book in print was dampened by the realisation that, thanks to its exorbitant price and small print run, very few people would have the opportunity to read it. She and co-founder Rupert Gatti began OBP to make high-quality academic books accessible for everyone everywhere and free of charge.
Nine years on we have come closer to realizing our ideal of a world where scholarly works are available to all. With the publication of our hundredth title, Michael Bryson and Arpi Movsesian’s Love and Its Critics: From the Song of Songs to Shakespeare and Milton’s Eden, it is a good time to ask: what have we achieved as we arrive at this milestone, and what do we want to do next?
Over three blog posts we will discuss our innovative publications, our Open Access model and our technological development to celebrate some highlights from our first one hundred books – and to chart a course for the next hundred!
OBP is delighted to announce the launch of OBP Customised, a new line of customised editions that lets readers create their own books! We are the first Open Access publisher in the UK to offer such a service – an exciting opportunity for readers to mix, match, and personalise their own books. By creating their own cover, combining chapters from OBP books, or by mixing OBP content with third-party content, readers will be advancing the Open Access vision of knowledge dissemination paired with knowledge reuse. Continue reading
There is quite a lot of discussion about how to finance the costs of publishing monographs in Open Access. While lots of alternative business models have been identified, actual hard data on the publishing costs and revenue associated with academic books are conspicuously absent from the debate (for fairly obvious reasons – commercial publishers consider such data to be commercially sensitive). Continue reading
In the first part of this post I identified some of the problems I perceive with the legacy publishing model for academic books, articulated the primary objectives of OBP, and noted that at OBP we have the same number of sales per book and two orders of magnitude more readers than legacy publishers do. The intention of this second part of the post is to present some data and use it to assess our success in meeting our four objectives. In Part Three, I will present cost and revenue data to assess the business model. Continue reading
Here are our cost and revenue figures. As also reported at the OASPA conference, they are for the 12-month period from 1 September 2014 to 31 August 2015. Being based in the UK, our accounts are actually denominated in British pounds, but to ease international comparison I have reported everything in US Dollars. As I mentioned in Part One, the most interesting and exciting aspect of Open Access publishing is, I believe, the ability to reduce the costs of academic publication and distribution. After all, that is what the Internet was invented for! Continue reading