Open Book Futures: A New £5.8 Million Project to Deliver a “More Sustainable Future” For Open Access Books Announced
Here’s the Full Text of an Announcement From Lancaster University:
A new project that works to increase access to valuable research is to receive more than £5.8 million [$7.15 Million/USD] in funding.
Led by Lancaster University [a list of partners is found below], the Open Book Futures (OBF) project will develop and support organisations, tools and practices that enable both academics and the wider public to make more and better use of books published on an Open Access basis. Open Access books can be accessed and used online free of charge.
In particular, the project, which is also supported by Lancaster University Library, aims to achieve a step change in how community-owned Open Access book publishing is delivered.
Funded by Arcadia and the Research England Development (RED) Fund, the project marks a shift in the ambition, scope and impact of community-owned Open Access book publishing.
It will significantly increase and improve the quantity, discoverability, preservation and accessibility of academic content freely and easily available to all.
This will be done by building the infrastructures, business models, networks and resources that are needed to deliver a future for Open Access books led not by large commercial operations but by communities of scholars, small-to-medium-sized publishers, not-for-profit infrastructure providers, and scholarly libraries.
This includes expanding the work of the recently launched Open Book Collective, which makes it easier for academic libraries to provide direct financial support to Open Access publishing initiatives, as well as the Thoth metadata management platform, the Opening the Future revenue model and the forthcoming Experimental Publishing Compendium.
Open Book Futures, due to start on May 1st, builds on the pioneering work of the Community-Led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) project. COPIM, a strategic international partnership led by Coventry University, began the work of establishing the key open, community-led solutions required to address the barriers to the wider impact of Open Access books.
COPIM was also jointly funded by Arcadia and the RED Fund. Arcadia supports work to preserve endangered cultural heritage, protect endangered ecosystems, and promote access to knowledge. RED supports innovation in research and knowledge exchange in higher education that offers significant public benefits.
A particular aim of the Open Book Futures project is to deepen COPIM’s long term impact and to make sure a wide range of voices have the opportunity to shape the future of Open Access book publishing.
It aims not just to strengthen existing networks in the UK and North America, but also to engage further with publishers, universities, and infrastructure providers in a diverse set of national and linguistic contexts, including for example in Africa, Australasia, Continental Europe, and Latin America.
Principal Investigator Dr Joe Deville, who works jointly across the Department of Organisation, Work and Technology and the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, said: “It is exciting to be able to contribute to a project that promises to profoundly reshape the very mechanisms through which academic knowledge circulates, in a context in which far too much high-quality book-length scholarship remains widely inaccessible.
“A core principle of the Open Book Futures project is that this situation can only be successfully addressed collaboratively. I am therefore so pleased to be able to bring together such a talented group of scholars, librarians, publishers, infrastructure providers and advocacy groups with the skills to deliver the new technical infrastructures and ways of working that can respond to the many and varied needs of a global scholarly community.”
Director of Library Services & Learning Development Andrew Barker said: “‘We are delighted to be involved in this project and our role within it marks another step on the library’s journey from traditional service provider to research partner.
“This project is particularly exciting as it aligns to our library vision ‘to connect, innovate and include’ and to our long-standing commitment to Open Research. It empowers us to be a sector lead in establishing an innovative but sustainable way of rethinking the scholarly communication landscape and ensuring the visibility and accessibility of long-form scholarship to all.
Partners joining Lancaster University in the Consortium include: Birkbeck, University of London, Coventry University, Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), Jisc, Loughborough University, Open Book Collective (OBC), Open Book Publishers (OBP), punctum books, Thoth and Trinity College, Cambridge University. They will be joined by a wide range of additional partners who will support the project’s work, 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.
Filed under: Academic Libraries, Companies (Publishers/Vendors), Funding, Libraries, Management and Leadership, News, Open Access, Preservation, Publishing
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.