The recent annual conference of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) featured a panel on open access monograph publishing. UC Press Interim Director Erich van Rijn spoke about the Luminos program and reports on the session below.
Open access monograph publishing has become a topic of much discussion within the scholarly publishing community, so it should come as no surprise that it was one among many topics covered during concurrent sessions at the 2017 annual meeting of the Association of American University Presses in Austin, Texas. This year, my contribution to the meeting included participating in a panel discussion on open access monograph publishing entitled, “Four Case Studies, Four Ways: Highlights from AAUP’s Review of OA Projects.” The focus of my presentation was UC Press’s Luminos publishing program, and our moderator, Hope LeGro, the Assistant Director at Georgetown University Press had specifically, asked me to focus on the unique model that Luminos utilizes to publish OA monographs cost effectively.
Luminos’s unique hybrid model which includes funding from an author’s institution, library membership funding, unit sales of print-on-demand editions of books, and a subsidy from UC Press was of much interest to attendees. In fact, my fellow panelists and I presented to a capacity crowd, which perhaps provides some indication of the level of interest in open access publishing in the university press community. Luminos’s funding model has been held up as a model of how open access can work, and we are very proud to have pioneered it. However, not unpredictably, larger questions emerged during a lively Q&A from the audience about the extensibility of the Luminos model to other publishers. After all, as an increasing number of publishers compete for scarce library funds to help offset the costs of publishing monographs, how will libraries be able to choose among the various programs? Can the Luminos model scale, and if so, how? As the number of presses offering open access as a publishing option grows, libraries will eventually need to make difficult decisions about which they can help support and which they can’t.
These are important questions with which we at the press and in the wider scholarly communications community must grapple as Luminos and other initiatives aimed at open access monograph publishing continue to evolve. In the meantime, we are very pleased to continue to publish some excellent new books through the program, and we look forward partnering with increasing numbers of authors and libraries to grow the program and watch it flourish as Luminos takes a seat at the table amongst other important efforts to create a sustainable path for the open access monograph of the future.
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