On 14th June, Research England announced the award of a £2.2 million grant to the COPIM (Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs) project, which is designed to build much-needed community-controlled, open systems and infrastructures that will develop and strengthen open access book publishing. As a founder member of ScholarLed, one of the COPIM partners, we will be taking a key role in this project and our co-Director Rupert Gatti will be leading work packages on the dissemination and archiving of open access scholarly books. (For more details about the COPIM project and the aims of the various interlinked work packages, see the ScholarLed statement released on 17th June.)
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 →
In the past, Open Access publishing has been accused of being akin to vanity publishing or self-publishing, while the term ‘predatory publishing’ describes a phenomenon in which a publisher charges expensive fees for guaranteed publication while failing to provide peer review or even basic editing.
Reputable Open Access publishers clearly advertise their quality-control systems. For example at OBP we emphasise our rigorous peer-review system, as well as the high standard of our editing and production work – and this is evident in our publications, which are easy to check precisely because they are Open Access. Meanwhile the well-established publishers who produce Open Access work, such as Cambridge University Press, do not throw their quality control out of the window when they publish books or articles on an Open Access basis.Continue reading →
When you create original work, you possess the copyright. When you wish to publish that work, some publishers might ask you to sign the copyright over to them as a condition of publication, so that they can disseminate the work exclusively and therefore maximise its profitability. However, you do not have to agree to this – you can ask to retain copyright, or to transfer only a limited number of your rights to the publisher.
Pay attention to the contract the publisher is asking you to sign, make sure you understand it, and negotiate if you are unhappy with any of the terms. Be aware that signing away exclusive rights to the publisher might mean that you are not able to republish the work yourself in future, if for example you wish to republish a journal article as a chapter in a book. Continue reading →
This is one of the most important questions for authors: if the reader doesn’t pay, who does? BPCs (Book Processing Charges) and APCs (Article Processing Charges) are fees levied on authors, their institutions or their funding bodies to pay for Open Access publishing (also known as author-side fees). 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 →
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 →