August 4, 2021

The MIT Press Receives Three-Year $850,000 Grant From Arcadia to Develop and Pilot a Sustainable Framework for Open Access Monographs

From an MIT Press Blog Post:

The MIT Press has received a three-year $850,000 grant from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, to perform a broad-based monograph publishing cost analysis and to develop and openly disseminate a durable financial framework and business plan for open access (OA) monographs.

Amy Brand, director of the MIT Press and principal investigator for the grant, sees it as an opportunity to explore alternatives to the traditional market-based business model for professional and scholarly monographs. “Until the mid-1990s, most U.S. university presses could count on sales of 1,300–1,700 units, but today monograph sales are typically in the range of 300–500 units,” says Brand “Many presses make up this difference with internal subsidies or subventions from institutional or philanthropic sources, but this is not sustainable and often unpredictable. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, this generous award from Arcadia will allow us to develop and test a flexible OA sustainability model that can then be adapted to the needs of our peers.”

There is growing consensus within the university press community that publishing academic monographs through a durable OA model may be the best way to advance scholarship and fulfill our mission. The U.S.-based Association of University Presses comprises 148 member presses that collectively publish approximately 15,000 monographs per year. Crafting and promoting a viable OA model for this community—and leading the way as the MIT Press intends to do—would represent a major breakthrough.

Work on the grant is scheduled to start in 2019 and the first grant-funded OA monographs will be available in 2020.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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