Global pandemic with a heightened sense of urgency created momentum that is revolutionizing strategies developed by institutions and publishers worldwide. There is increasing awareness and opportunities for digital resources and tools, so all the concerned parties are trying to adapt. With amplified awareness about equity and access to knowledge, there is a need for developing a moral economy of open access.
Open access books are a great opportunity for readers to enhance knowledge, but it comes with the opportunity to renew the involved processes like researching, writing, financing, pricing, and shepherding. It stirs a need for reform in scholarly communication, for developing a more equitable and targeted approach to re-centering.Understanding this need, many non-profit presses and value-centered publishers like university presses are trying to reanalyze distribution and access to monographs, explained Socio linguistic Emily Farrell in a guest post at Scholarly Kitchen.
To make books open to access, requires a major alteration in the system, especially of funding. The financial sustainability of books is very challenging due to the decline in brick-and-mortar stores, changing library purchase patterns, shifting distributions and revenue framework, but above all ‘staff’ remained the major limitation in ensuring financial robustness as evident from the fall in sales of the monograph from 1500 copies to 200-500 copies from the 1980s to 1990s. The paper by Maron et al breaks down the costs involved in producing books and recommends putting a slight fee on open access books to cover direct costs.
To aligns the cost and sales, many digital books and university press platforms are modifying and developing their infrastructure (hosting, distribution, and sales). These platforms are distributing eBooks at open spaces and libraries to shrink the cranny in knowledge sharing between editors, authors, and librarians and for transparency of the publication process. Funding, hosting, and discovery have been given their due share of importance in a hope of creating advanced channels for the dissemination of knowledge simultaneously benefiting the whole system.
By bringing together the expert stakeholders of the academic publishing circle, the process of open access of monographs can be made easier, cost-effective, and efficient. There is a need for fulfilling the demand for digital resources while maintaining equity of access by evolving the technical infrastructure of involved components. A diverse model needs to be designed for the diversity of presses, better than traditional sales methods, ultimately shifting the monograph publishing to financial sustainability.
Monographs publication, open access, university press, digital monographs, digital books.