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The Open Book Collective: Sustaining and Disseminating Open Access Books.

Authors: Fathallah, Judith;

The Open Book Collective: Sustaining and Disseminating Open Access Books.

Abstract

This paper introduces the Open Book Collective (OBC), a new member-governed not-for-profit organization devoted to supporting the production and dissemination of Open Access Books from small-to-medium publishers. Our membership, comprised of librarians, publishers, OA service providers, and other supporters works collectively to bring about a fairer, more sustainable model of open book publishing. Though based in the UK, the collective and our membership is global. The OBC is an output of the COPIM (Community-Led Infrastructures for Open Access Books) project, an international collaboration dedicated to an equitable, diverse and sustainable future for OA books. From our development research in collaboration with our library colleagues, we know that many libraries and institutions wish to support the publication and dissemination of OA books and indeed have a budget set aside to do so. But a confusing array of options, lack of easily readable metadata, and the varied workflow of OA publishers makes it difficult and time-consuming for libraries and their institutions to know where to invest their support. Our research then aimed to answer the question: How to build an infrastructure and platform that would simultaneously meet the needs of librarians and publishers in service of an equitable future for OA books? Between 2020 and the present, we have held workshops, hosted interactive conference presentations, networked with our stakeholders, and studied the extant literature to find answers. The OBC and its platform is the primary output of Work Package 2 of COPIM. It offers a fast and simple way for libraries to compare publishers’ catalogues, packages, business plans, and values, allowing the creation of premade or bespoke subscription packages before generating a quotation. The OBC then manages the subscription, and delivers benefits to libraries including maximally readable metadata, easy integration into existing workflows, and a guarantee of quality via the vetting and application process our publisher members must go through. We assess all membership packages on the platform, to ensure they are priced fairly and that received funding will support high quality OA publishing and distribution. The OBC is committed to supporting bibliodiversity in OA publishing. This means supporting publishers in diverse geographic and linguistic settings, while making content produced by OBC members accessible to a wider range of authors and institutions. Moreover, our model assists publishers in moving away from Book Processing Charges, which can re-entrench the inequalities already inherent in academia, leading to a stultification of fields.

Keywords

open access, OA books, infrastructure, sustainability

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