Open Book Publishers takes leading role in £5.8 million project to significantly expand open access book infrastructures

COPIM Mar 30, 2023

Open Book Publishers (OBP) is delighted to announce that we are part of a diverse international team leading a new open infrastructure initiative, Open Book Futures (OBF), to significantly advance the systems that support community-owned Open Access (OA) book publishing.

Funded by Arcadia and the Research England Development (RED) Fund and led by Lancaster University, Open Book Futures will build on the pioneering work of the COPIM project, in which OBP has been a key partner. This will involve a significant expansion of key COPIM infrastructures built by OBP developers Javier Arias and Ross Higman: the Thoth metadata management platform and the forthcoming Thoth Archiving Network. It will also include the development of technical protocols and infrastructure to enable presses to better integrate accessibility requirements into their workflows.

OBP’s co-director, Rupert Gatti, will take a leading role as co-Investigator in OBF, while senior editor and outreach coordinator Lucy Barnes will be involved with OBF outreach and communication.

Open Book Futures will also accelerate the impact of the recently launched Open Book Collective, which makes it easier for academic libraries to provide direct financial support to OA publishing initiatives; the Opening the Future revenue model, which enables closed-access presses to flip to open access; and the forthcoming Experimental Publishing Compendium, which offers publishers concrete ways to embrace experimental workflows when publishing OA books. OBF will be guided by the principles of ‘Scaling Small’ that underlie the COPIM project, and with which Open Book Publishers is also aligned.

Open Book Futures, which will run from 1 May 2023 to 30 April 2026, will significantly increase COPIM’s long-term impact and ensure that a wide range of voices have the opportunity to shape the future of open access book publishing. To amplify bibliodiverse and equitable community-led approaches to OA book publishing, OBF will not only strengthen existing networks in the UK and North America but also engage more deeply with publishers, universities, and infrastructure providers in a diverse set of national and linguistic contexts, including Africa, Australasia, Continental Europe, and Latin America.

With this in mind, Open Book Futures will not only reunite many of the COPIM project partners in addition to OBP, including Birkbeck, University of London, Coventry University, Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), Jisc, Loughborough University, Open Book Collective (OBC), punctum books, Thoth and Trinity College, Cambridge University, but they will also be joined by a wide range of new partners including Continental Platform/University of Cape Town, the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI), the Digital Preservation Coalition, the Educopia Institute, Knowledge Futures, Lyrasis, OPERAS, Public Knowledge Project (PKP), Research Libraries UK (RLUK), SciELO Books, Scottish Universities Press/SCURL, and SPARC Europe. The project is also supported by Lancaster University Library.

OBP co-director Rupert Gatti said,

‘OBP is hugely excited to continue developing the infrastructure that will support inclusive, non-commercial and community-owned OA book publishing, guided by the principles of collaboration and openness that have animated the COPIM project and that will continue to thrive within Open Book Futures.  
'Having created the basic underlying infrastructures within COPIM, this grant enables us to significantly expand and develop that framework in order to support small and medium-sized open access book publishers globally, preserving the diversity and scholarly independence of book publishing while making its output open for all.’

Arcadia is a charitable foundation that works to protect nature, preserve cultural heritage and promote open access to knowledge. Since 2002 Arcadia has awarded more than $1 billion to organizations around the world.

RED supports innovation in research and knowledge exchange in higher education that offers significant public benefits.

The COPIM end-of-project conference will take place online on 20 April 3.30-8.15pm (BST), and 21 April 3-7pm (BST). Registration is free. Join us to find out more about COPIM and Open Book Futures:

Open Book Publishers

We believe that knowledge should be available to everyone: our books are free to read and download online, and we are working to create a world in which all research is freely available to all readers