University Press Forum 2018

Open Access Monographs: Trends and Business Models

There is a growing cohort of university presses that are pushing their core mission of advancing scholarship well beyond the legacy print model. For these publishers, the potential of free, open digital distribution is too enticing to ignore—especially if it can broaden the scope of a press’s offerings while providing easier and wider access to research. Strategically, the open access monograph is gradually becoming a crucial support to the university press business model. The commercial potential, which is inextricably tied to the mission, has been tricky to navigate, however. The same can be said for the tech side of the equation.

Nevertheless, featured here are a half-dozen university press directors who have generously agreed to comprise our fourteenth installment of Choice’s University Press Forum—an annual roundtable of perspective on the state of this segment of scholarly publishing appearing here on this site, in the May issue of Choice and on For these executives, the open access monograph has been an opportunity to experiment and innovate—always with the goal of bringing more research to more people at little to no cost. These are the folks who are doing the groundbreaking work of navigating and testing business models (free isn’t actually “free,” after all), advocating for standards, winning the funding, cajoling faculty, and partnering with or developing the platforms that help make the content discoverable.

Explaining how they’ve done it so far are the following press directors:

• Amy Brand, PhD, Director, The MIT Press
• Barbara Kline Pope, Director, Johns Hopkins University Press
• Wendy Queen, Director, Project MUSE
• Alice Randel Pfeiffer, Director, Syracuse University Press
• Dean Smith, Director, Cornell University Press
• Lara Speicher, Publishing Manager, UCL Press
• Charles Watkinson, Director, University of Michigan Press

We hope you enjoy reading about how these presses are shaping the future of the monograph. –Bill Mickey