Finding a Place for Open Access Monographs: A Lack of Product-Market Fit

Sponsored by MIT Press

Recorded on 04/06/2020
Posted in The Authority File

Episode 118

In the past twenty years, scholarly monograph sales have sharply declined. As the publishing world moves online, the skills that can’t be robotized—copyediting, designing, marketing—continue to add up. While many hoped digitization would reduce printing costs, therefore paving the way for increased open access materials, Terry Ehling, Director for Strategic Initiatives at MIT Press, explains that it’s actually “replacing some of the nonprint components, those costs, with costs related to technology, so it’s actually escalating.”

Thanks to a three-year $850,000 grant from the Arcadia Fund, MIT Press has the chance to look for a sustainable way to produce open access monographs. While there are divergent OA structures in place around the world, the goal is to build a cohesive financial framework and business model that all presses, small or large, can use to publish OA monographs.

In this first episode, Ehling gives some background into how MIT Press, one of the largest North American university presses, has managed to remain profitable in this difficult publishing environment. Raym Crow, Senior Consultant at SPARC and researcher on the Arcadia-funded project, zooms out to offer perspective on different types of open access monograph practices currently in use.

About the guests:

Terry Ehling
Director for Strategic Initiatives
MIT Press

Raym Crow
Senior Consultant

Enjoy the conversation? Check out the rest of the series:

Keep up with the conversation in our recent series, MIT Press’s Direct to Open: