Open Access And Scholarly Monographs in Canada


By Andrea Kwan

ABSTRACT: The unprecedented access to knowledge enabled by the internet is a critical development in the democratization of education. The Open Access (OA) movement argues that scholarly research is a common good that should be freely available. In theory, university presses concur, however, providing such access is largely unsupportable within current business model parameters.

This study presents an overview of OA in North America and Europe, focusing on the Canadian context. Given their relatively small market and current funding models, Canadian scholarly presses differ somewhat from American and European publishers vis-à-vis OA. Drawing both on information from industry stakeholders and relevant research, this paper aims to clarify how Canadian university presses might proceed with respect to OA. While the study does not make specific recommendations, possible business models are presented that might help university presses offset the cost of offering OA to the important body of scholarship that they publish.




For my family, Jacqueline Larson and Oliver Kwan-Larson:
you make everything possible.




I am deeply indebted to Rowland Lorimer and John Maxwell for their infinite patience and willingness to engage with my work across several false starts and as many long silences. Many thanks are also due to Peter Milroy who kept the faith over many years. I am grateful as well to the Association of Canadian University Presses and its members, especially Melissa Pitts, for giving me the opportunity to write the original white paper upon which this report is based. Thanks as well to Linda Cameron, Philip Cercone, Elizabeth Eve, Brian Henderson, Walter Hildebrandt, Kathy Killoh, Charley LaRose, Donna Livingstone, J. Craig McNaughton, Kel Morin-Parsons, and John Yates for taking time out of their busy schedules to respond to my queries. I am also grateful for the editorial expertise of Laraine Coates and Jacqueline Larson, whose eagle eyes made this report much more readable.






List of Tables


1: Open Access: Its Advocates and Discontents
++1.1 The Case for OA
++1.2 A Cautious Opposition
++++++1.2.1 Copyright
++++++1.2.2 Pricing
++++++1.2.3 Dissemination
++++++1.2.4 Peer Review
++1.3 A Note on the Differences between Journals and Monographs

2: Open Access in the International Context
++2.1 Open Access in the United States
++2.2 Open Access in Europe

3: Open Access in Canada
++3.1 Case Study: Athabasca University Press
++3.2 Open Access and Other University Presses

4: Possible Business Models: Advantages and Disadvantages
++4.1 Author-Pays Model
++4.2 Institutional Subsidies to Publishers Model
++4.3 Third-Party Funding Model
++4.4 Freemium Model
++4.5 Three-Party (aka Two-Sided) Market Model
++4.6 Hybrid Model
++4.7 Embargo Model
++4.8 Advertising Model
++4.9 Collaborative Model
++4.10 SCOAP3 Model
++4.11 Complete Restructuring
++4.12 Do Nothing

5: A Look to the Future
++5.1 Conclusion





List of Tables

Table 1: Model Comparison




The scholarly monograph has long been an emblem of academia. Often one of the major prerequisites for tenure, particularly in the humanities and social sciences, the monograph has been seen as the embodiment of rigorous and sustained scholarly enterprise, and the prime means of the broad dissemination of scholarly research. While the monograph continues to represent an important form of scholarship, the rise of journal publishing and the proliferation of online publications is beginning to significantly affect its role as the primary conduit to a broad audience.

This report explores the implications of the increasing demand for broader accessibility to scholarly research on monograph publishing. As more and more scholarly activities take advantage of the low-cost efficiencies offered by the internet and other forms of virtual file sharing, the pressure on scholarly publishers to offer free, or near- free, access to their books has been growing. While journal publishers have, to date, borne the brunt of this pressure, book publishers have also been fielding calls for open access to monographs that emanate from publicly funded research.

Contrary to some of the criticism that is often leveled at university presses,[1] one of the main principles behind the open access movement – making the product of academic research widely available to other scholars, as well as the general public – has always been the raison d’être of university presses. Historically, these presses have been committed to the publication of specialized works for which the market is too small or financially unviable to attract the interest of for-profit publishers. Over the years, university presses (UPs) have developed their own specializations in identifying groundbreaking scholarship, editing and facilitating objective peer review of academic works, working with academic and public libraries, helping professors select appropriate books for courses, and publicizing important research to the media, general public, and special interest groups. Indeed, the quality control that UPs have brought to scholarly communication has become a key part of academic life.

The unprecedented accessibility offered by the internet, however, has shifted the ground upon which most traditional scholarly publishing business models have been built. The web has presented a putatively paperless economy in which a universe of information is freely available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection. However, as discerning internet users are aware, caveat emptor applies to all that free information: its quality varies enormously, and sorting the wheat from the chaff remains the responsibility of each individual user.

The present challenge for university presses, then, is to discover how to exploit the economy of the internet – both in terms of the heightened capacity for information dissemination and the savings in print and distribution costs – while still maintaining the rigorous quality-control standards upon which the academic community relies. And, more importantly, presses have to safeguard their financial sustainability so they can continue to perform their vital roles in academia well into the future.

This paper investigates a number of issues related to the economic sustainability of Canadian university presses with respect to open access. The first section defines open access, discusses both its benefits and its drawbacks, and compares the implications of OA for scholarly journals versus monographs. An explanatory note is necessary: this report is limited in its coverage of OA initiatives in journal publishing, addressing them only insofar as they relate to book publishing in the digital environment. Many excellent websites and publications already exist that compile and summarize OA in journals. These, along with publications of specific interest to monograph publishers, are listed in the bibliography. The paper’s second section offers an overview of open access as it has developed in the United States and Europe, and how monograph publishers in those regions have responded. The third section zeros in on the Canadian situation, looking closely at how open access is unfolding in this country and what its implications are for Canadian university publishers. A case study of Athabasca University Press – Canada’s first entirely open access UP – is given, along with a discussion of specific OA initiatives being undertaken by other Canadian UPs. A final section presents possible business models and addresses future considerations for Canadian university presses. These models should not be seen as prescriptive— a number of possible scenarios and theoretical concerns are given in the hopes that they may be useful to the industry as it navigates the murky waters ahead. Ultimately I hope this work will provide Canada’s scholarly presses with a meaningful starting point for future discussion and business planning that will allow them to approach the important challenge of open access as knowledgeably as possible.

1: Open Access: Its Advocates and Discontents

While what is now known as open access arguably finds its North American roots in 1960s-era efforts to share information freely among academic researchers with the aid of large mainframe computers,[2] its modern incarnation, at least as far as academic publishers are concerned, took shape much more recently.

In the early- to mid-1990s, the scholarly publishing industry – publishers, librarians, wholesalers, and academics themselves – found themselves caught up in the maelstrom that became known as the “serials pricing crisis.” During this time, the cost to libraries of mostly scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journals rose astronomically as large multinational firms demanded – and received – unprecedented sums for subscriptions to some of the world’s most reputable journals in these fields.[3] As more and more journals were acquired or created by the multinationals, practices such as “bundling” began to emerge. That is, libraries were charged a subscription cost for a collection of usually electronic journals, many of which they didn’t require, for a reduced price on each individual journal.[4] Library budgets became severely stretched. As a result, libraries allocated less money to monographs and journals in the social sciences and humanities and began to experiment with cost-saving practices, such as interlibrary loan and consortium buying. Not surprisingly, by the early 2000s, these budget-stretching measures took a toll on both libraries and publishers – particularly those of smaller journals and monographs – who found it increasingly difficult to provide academic researchers and students to a full exposure of all relevant research.[5] Pressure was building to find a new, more feasible system to govern library acquisition and management of scholarly output.[6]

In December 2001, that pressure found a possible valve: George Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI) convened a “small but lively”[7] meeting in Budapest to discuss how to further free access to scholarly research articles in all disciplines. Citing “the unprecedented public good” that would come from unrestricted access afforded by the internet and the willingness of scientists and scholars to share the results of their research without expectation of remuneration, the OSI called upon “all interested institutions and individuals to help open up access … and remove the barriers, especially the price barriers, that stand in the way” of “free and unrestricted online availability” of scholarly literature.[8] Although the Budapest Open Access Initiative (BOAI), officially signed in February 2002 by representatives of both non-profit and academic interests from Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, was primarily concerned with access to peer-reviewed journal articles, its statement was developed with the knowledge that mechanisms already existed, such as, Paul Ginsparg’s physics preprint server, that allowed scholars and scientists to share unreviewed work online for the purposes of generating discussion or to alert the academic world of important research.

In many ways a response to the widespread commodification of knowledge by the large multinational journal publishers, open access was defined in the BOAI as:

the free availability [of scholarly literature] on the public internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited.[9]

The BOAI was a watershed document insofar as it was a joint articulation – a manifesto of sorts – of the goals that OA advocates had long been pushing for individually. Of particular import was the way in which it defined two separate streams of open access. The first, self-archiving, would require individual scholars to deposit journal articles and preprints into open electronic archives, such as This research would then be freely accessible to anyone with an internet connection and an interest in the subject. Presumably, the task of maintaining the archives would fall to institutions or individuals with a vested interest in broadening access to ongoing and past research, such as universities or governments. Self-archiving later became known as the “green road to open access” – a theoretically sustainable, author-driven model. The BOAI’s second strategy to achieve open access, the “gold road,” relied on open-access journals. These journals would involve user-fee-free access to peer-reviewed, copyright- free research. In lieu of traditional subscription or access fees, these journals would be funded by alternative means such as research foundations, governments, universities, or endowments; profits from ancillary add-ons to the original scholarship; funds made available for switching from subscription-based journals to OA journals; and contributions from the authors/researchers themselves. At its inception, the BOAI was clearly directed at research published in scholarly journals, as much of the material and activism related to OA has been. Monographs, however, ought to be seen as tacitly included this group, insofar as they also represent the public dissemination of scholarly research.


1.1 The Case for OA

As the BOAI makes clear, the impetus for OA came from a desire to harness the potential of the internet to provide “complete free and unrestricted access” to peer- reviewed scholarship to “all scientists, scholars, teachers, students, and other curious minds.”[10] OA advocates argued that removing the access barriers to research would heighten the use-value of existing research, allowing it to further future research, level the intellectual playing field between rich and poor countries, and enhance education. Moreover, open access was seen as a way to broaden the audience for scholarship that had previously enjoyed only an extremely limited audience. The idea was, and continues to be, that if information is freely available online, more people will read it, thus broadening its impact and increasing its visibility. Some advocates have also argued that, in addition to the access-based benefits of OA, it could ultimately be much more cost effective than traditional print-based models.

While defining exactly what makes research “useful” is a tall order, removing the price barriers to research has certainly had a positive effect on citation statistics. One of the key ways of evaluating the impact of scholarly research is to look at how frequently a given work has been cited in subsequent academic articles. Steve Hitchcock’s open- access-impact bibliography, which has been compiling studies on the effect of OA and downloads (or hits) on citation impact since 2004, makes a convincing case for OA as a means by which authors can increase the number of citations made to their research.[11]

Open access has also made progress in equalizing the access to intellectual output between wealthy and developing nations. One of the most successful OA initiatives in this regard is the Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative HINARI, the spearheaded by the World Health Organization in 2000 and launched in January 2002. With its goal of offering “free or very low cost online access to the major journals in biomedical and related social sciences to local, not-for-profit institutions in developing countries,” HINARI now comprises more than 7000 journals from some 150 publishers, including large corporate publishers such as Elsevier, Blackwell, Springer, and Wiley.[12] Projects like HINARI, notes John Willinsky, author of The Access Principle and a major proponent of OA, have given researchers in developing countries, such as the Kenya Medical Research Institute, access to literature that is desperately needed to carry out important work in health and other professions.[13]

While the overall cost-efficiency of an OA model for scholarly communications cannot be definitively confirmed, at least one major British study has concluded that a broadscale shift to open access in scholarly research would ultimately result in significant overall savings across the higher education system. 2009’s Economic Implications of Alternative Scholarly Publishing Models: Exploring the Costs and Benefits, more commonly known as the JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee, a UK-based organization whose aim is to encourage and facilitate the use of digital technologies in post-secondary education) report, modeled the economic implications of a wholesale move to the gold (OA journals) or the green (OA self-archiving) roads to OA in the United Kingdom. The report concluded that, while green OA would save the system more than gold OA, both forms of open access would be more cost-efficient than the current model of “toll access publishing,” in which users/readers are charged a fee to use/purchase/download scholarly publications. Moreover, the report posited that a shift to an open-access model – either green or gold – in scholarly publishing would result in net savings to research institutions, funders, libraries, publishers, and authors that would then be sufficient to pay for open-access journal publishing or self-archiving. In short, while it acknowledged that there would be “transitional” pains, the JISC study strongly recommended that OA be pursued in the UK as a cost-saving measure that would also further the dissemination of scholarly research.14 While the JISC report made some promising claims, the models upon which it was based were quickly questioned by some of the key players in scholarly publishing, most notably the publishers themselves. In a joint statement, the UK Publishers Association, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers criticized the JISC authors for failing to produce a document that added to “the primary evidence base” and presenting instead “a think piece resting on a number of assumptions mostly derived from the authors’ own estimates applied to a theoretical model of the scholarly communication system.”[15]


1.2 A Cautious Opposition

Although they may be sympathetic to the spirit behind the OA movement, many scholarly publishers have been uncomfortable with some of the arguments made in favour of open access. In 2007, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) issued a statement on OA in which it applauded the open-access mission to further the dissemination of scholarly research but urged caution when considering approaches to OA “that abandon the market as a viable basis for the recovery of costs in scholarly publishing” in favour of a “gift” or “subsidy economy.”[16] Noting that the term “open access” subsumes a number of different models under the same umbrella, the AAUP warned that any calls to change the current (largely user-pays) system of scholarly publishing should “take careful account of the costs of doing so, not just for individual presses but for their parent universities, and for the scholarly societies that also contribute in major ways to the system.”[17] In other words, the AAUP saw OA not simply as a publisher issue; rather, it pointed out that OA has implications for the entire scholarly communication system, and these implications might not always be positive.

Chief among the concerns voiced by the AAUP was that of sustainability, particularly in a subsidy (rather than a market) economy. In such an economy, OA would have to be financed in some way and most models propose author or institution-side contributions as the means. Such a situation threatens to create serious inequities between better- and less-well-funded institutions and scholars, where the poorer may find themselves unable to publish without fee waivers or reductions, which will in turn increase the financial burden on those who are able to pay. Moreover, such gift economies are, at present, only generally proposed for scholarly articles. Monographs, which frequently run at least ten times the length of an article, are much more costly to produce. A subsidy economy for this important form of scholarship would soon become prohibitive – falling in the range of $20, 000 to $35, 000 USD per title.[18]

The AAUP further argued that OA models would likely not result in any net savings to universities. Any money saved through the elimination of printing and warehousing costs would quickly be nullified through user printing costs, particularly with monographs. Savings gained by laying off university press staff would be offset by increases in faculty time (and salary) devoted to publishing work. Moreover, since an OA model is unlikely to replace the traditional model overnight, the cost of maintaining print versions will still need to be borne while new online OA models are developed (also at a cost).

Finally, the AAUP raised the spectre of journals and monographs that might be orphaned by commercial publishers who balk at the idea or costs of free-to-user open access. The ability of university presses and scholarly societies to adopt these projects would be severely limited, and would entail even greater financial investments by their host universities and faculties. While the AAUP document highlighted some of the key issues at stake for scholarly publishers caught in the OA debate, it remained silent on some of the other mechanisms of scholarly publishing that would also have to change if the BOAI were to be successfully implemented. Copyright, pricing, dissemination, and peer review have all been raised by other publishers as items of concern when considering the shift to open access.[19]

1.2.1 Copyright

Traditionally, the copyright for scholarly material, once accepted for publication in both journals and monographs, is held by the publisher. The publisher then distributes the document for sale and licenses any use of the document outside of what might be legitimate under fair use, fair dealing, or like clauses (for example, for inclusion in course packages, reprints in textbooks or collections, adaptation into instructional or entertainment video, and so on). The BOAI, with its call to allow users to “read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers,” necessitates a shift in the way copyright has been licensed within the scholarly publishing industry. Open access initiatives advise authors and/or publishers to take out a Creative Commons license for their work. Under Creative Commons licenses, authors retain the copyright to their material and choose the conditions under which their work may be legally used, copied, shared, displayed, distributed, and performed, and how it should be credited. These licenses, which are available in six different levels varying from completely open to “for redistribution only,” may be obtained for free at The goal of the licenses aligns perfectly with the aims of OA: “making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright.”[20]

From the perspective of traditional scholarly publishers, however, the Creative Commons license deviates significantly from the copyright arrangements upon which many contracts have been based. Reprint rights, for example, have long been a source of income for publishers. While not a main source of income, such rights have nevertheless generated funds that have been used to subsidize the ongoing operations of the publisher. A shift to Creative Commons licenses, as recommended by OA advocates, thus entails the loss of income to the publisher, which must then be recouped in some other way.

1.2.2 Pricing

Delivering scholarly information via the parameters laid out in the BOAI – that is, “without financial barriers” – requires completely rethinking the business of publishing. The writers of the Budapest initiative acknowledge that even though the ultimate goal of OA is to provide peer-reviewed journal literature online free to readers, “it is not costless to produce.”[21] Publishers wishing to embrace OA must find a way, then, to cover the significant costs of editorial development and production that eschews the traditional consumer-pays model that has long governed commercial publishing and, indeed, most other for-profit and not-for-profit industries.

The BOAI suggests that scholarly publishers look for other sources of funding, such as grants from host universities, foundations, and endowments, or change the model from user-pays to author-pays. Some for-profit scholarly journals have begun to experiment with the latter scenario, offering the open-access option to journal contributors. While the schemes differ from publisher to publisher, the cost-per-article to authors for optional open access ranges from US$665 for the least expensive (non- foundation-funded) journal at BioMed Central to US$3250 at Taylor and Francis. Oxford Open, a non-profit enterprise, charges US$3000 for the open-access option (discounted to US$2250 for authors whose institutions have a full-price subscription to the journal in question). All publishers, with the exception of BioMed Central (now owned by Springer, but founded as a strictly OA enterprise), restrict which journals offer an OA option.[22]

How successful these author-pays models will prove to be for journal publishers remains to be seen. Richardson reports that in 2006, Oxford Open found that 11 percent of authors in its OA-optional life-sciences journals took advantage of its author-pays scheme, while only 5 percent of authors in medical journals and a mere 2 percent of those in the social sciences and humanities opted for author-pays OA.[23] The argument can be made that such shifting of fees is little more than a shell game that transfers the burden of cost from the reader to the author. In many cases, authors use publication subsidies from their institutions or a portion of their research funding to pay OA author fees, which, in the broader picture, may simply result in a re-allocation of institutional funds from library subscription budgets to research budgets in order to cover the costs of access to research. In the case of monographs, as the AAUP noted in its statement, the production cost for a peer-reviewed scholarly monograph is almost unquestionably prohibitive for individual authors, as well as most funding bodies. Not surprisingly, none of the large journal publishers that also produce book-length works currently offer an OA monograph option.

Monograph publishers, then, are caught between the proverbial rock and hard place when it comes to financing open access. Revenues that used to come from the sale of printed books and went towards funding press operations such as editing, peer review, design, and marketing would no longer come from the consumer, but the costs associated with these functions for book-length projects would be much too high to be covered by individual authors.

1.2.3 Dissemination

Traditionally, journal and monograph publishers have faced very different dissemination issues. Today, most, if not all, scholarly journals are available online, regardless of whether or not they are subscription-based or open access. Some journals (for example, all journals published by BioMed Central) offer online versions only, thereby foregoing the constraints and costs of print formats. Scholarly book publishing, however, is only now beginning to make a broadscale shift from print to electronic versions, despite the fact that the e-book has been around for well over a decade. Until recently, the involvement of many academic book publishers in e-book sales has been limited to libraries, with varying degrees of success. The distribution of e-books to libraries has been mediated by a number of different middlemen, such as NetLibrary, Ebrary, myilibrary, the Ebooks Corporation, and Questia, each of whom have slightly different file preparation standards and proprietary platform requirements. Because user licences that accompany the e-books vary from single-user time-limited to multi-user perpetual, the cost of the e-book to libraries usually varies accordingly. Due to the fact that traditional print production involves a “sunk investment,” many publishers were initially wary of cannibalizing the market for print editions by releasing digital editions. Some presses thus chose to protect their proven traditional revenue stream (the sale of print titles to libraries) by delaying the release of e-book editions for six to eighteen months following the first print-publication date. However, as libraries have moved more and more towards digitization, such cannibalization is less of a concern. For example, UBC Press, which had enforced a six- to twelve-month embargo period on the release of their e-book editions now publish both printed and electronic versions simultaneously.

The broad adoption of e-books by academic book publishers has been complicated by the lack of a uniform distribution platform. Differing file specifications across e-book distributors and aggregators introduce a level of technological complexity to which many academic monograph publishers have been ill-equipped to respond. Moreover, the fact that many individual scholars and students continue to prefer the printed product to its electronic counterpart has meant that publishers must continue to produce printed books in sufficient volume to meet this demand, thereby negating any real savings that might be available in an e-book-only market. It is only recently, as the public, both general and academic, begins to accept e-book readers such as the Amazon Kindle, the Kobo E-book Reader, the Sony Reader, and other mobile reading devices such as iPads and netbooks, that the e-book has become a viable primary product.[24] However, such newfound acceptance does not make a particularly convincing argument in favour of open access for scholarly monograph publishers. Rather, as e-books become more viable, there is less and less financial incentive for university presses to offer open access to digital versions of their books, particularly when these versions are only just becoming profitable.

1.2.4 Peer Review

A key function of both scholarly journal and monograph publishers is peer review. A safeguard against the publication of subpar, erroneous, or methodologically flawed scholarship, peer review is a well-established, rigorous process. In brief, it usually involves the selection of unbiased reviewers who, for a small honorarium and/or as part of their traditional academic responsibilities, agree to evaluate the suitability of a manuscript for publication. While the golden road to open access as envisaged by the BOAI retains the peer-review function of academic presses, at least with respect to journals, the green, or self-archiving, option fails to guarantee it and leaves peer review up to either individual authors or to the gatekeepers of the open archives in which the BOAI recommends that the articles be deposited. Significantly, the Open Archives Initiative ( to which the BOAI refers focuses on the technological aspects of data harvesting, search-engine operability, and resource sharing and does not specify any guidelines whatsoever for monitoring or ensuring the quality of the data contained in these archives.

Open archives fall into two main categories: institutional repositories (IRs) and subject-based repositories. The former hold research emanating from a specific institution (such as a university or government organization), while the latter amalgamate work based on the field of study. The problem with both of these models is that neither necessarily requires that the articles deposited be peer reviewed. The solution proposed to this problem, at least by the earliest and most eminent subject- based archive, (physics), is to accept articles as “pre-prints” with the assumption that many of these articles will later be submitted and accepted – and in the process, peer reviewed – by journals in the discipline. Pre-prints that are deposited in the archive are later annotated with the information that the article was accepted by a peer-reviewed journal.[25] In this case, the OA self-archiving scenario does not replace the peer-review process, but rather supplements it. Moreover, it shifts the burden of quality assessment from the information provider (in this case, the archive) to the user: the responsibility of ensuring that the source is reliable falls on the individual researcher, who must check that the works that s/he uses have been accepted by a journal and hence peer reviewed. Moreover, as the process of peer review can often result in significant revisions, earlier pre-review versions may differ importantly from the final reviewed work. Thus, pre-prints do not provide true open access to the final, ‘best’ version of the scholarship in question.

While self-archiving is generally seen as economically preferable to open-access journals (or monographs, as the case may be),[26] OA skeptics fear that wholesale adoption of this model without uniform standards of unbiased evaluation will jeopardize the objective peer-review process that is facilitated by university presses in both the journal and monograph worlds. Indeed, scholars, librarians, and tenure committees have long taken the imprint of recognized scholarly publishers as an indicator of the quality of the scholarship in question.

For academic publishers who view peer review as a fundamental function of their work, however, such off-loading of quality control from provider to user in order to support open access is not an option.[27] Monograph publishers striving to attain OA are struggling with how to continue to provide stringent peer review while preserving their economic viability and sustainability.

In academic book publishing, peer review is facilitated by acquisitions editors – scholarly editors who frequently specialize in particular fields of study and who are responsible for developing and maintaining contacts within those fields for the purposes of both peer review and connecting with prospective authors. These editors work closely with authors to ensure that the scholarship produced is of the highest possible quality. A key part of their job, then, is to facilitate a thorough and unbiased peer review. Unlike academics, who will often take on the editorship of a journal because they “believe in the intellectual mission of the journal and expect to be paid indirectly by the satisfaction they experience from aiding the research of others, from furthering quality research, and from any prestige that their position offers,”[28] acquisitions editors for book publishers do not volunteer their services (nor, it ought to be noted, do the assistant editors who frequently perform the peer-review function for academic journals). And while peer review is key for both scholarly journals and monographs, the challenges it presents to each can differ significantly. For example, an average monograph generally runs from fifty to one hundred thousand words and puts forth a sustained argument that must be thoroughly evaluated, not only for its main idea(s), but also for supporting evidence and readability. A journal, on the other hand, might have ten to twelve articles of five to fourteen thousand words, where the task of evaluation is based on individual articles, rather than the sum of the journal itself. Thus, for book publishers, the reviewing process itself is highly labour intensive, and finding reviewers willing to take on such projects can be both difficult and time-consuming. For journals, on the other hand, finding reviewers willing to assess a single article may not be difficult, but the task of finding reviewers for each article in an issue can be problematic. While neither process is necessarily more onerous than the other, it is generally the case that the expense of the peer-review process is higher for book publishers, since none of their staff is likely to be working without pay, whereas journals are, more often than not, staffed by at least one volunteer editor who takes on at least some of the burden of securing peer review.

Further, monograph acquisitions editors remain connected to their projects throughout the book production period – a process that can sometimes take up to two years. This ongoing attention is vital, not only to the end quality of the published research, but also to the researchers themselves. Many first-time authors have found immeasurable support in the editor-author relationship. The process is of particular importance for young scholars in the early stages of their careers. Sustaining this process under the auspices of volunteer editors is a risky proposition for even the most optimistic of publishers. Thus, either the expense of peer review or the challenges of sustaining a publishing program on the shoulders of unpaid editors must be accounted for in any OA model adopted by academic publishers, concerns that by and large weigh most heavily on the shoulders of scholarly monograph publishers.[29]

1.3 A Note on the Differences between Journals and Monographs

While many of the issues associated with offering open access to scholarly research are common to both journals and monographs, there are also significant differences between the two. This is particularly important to note, since the bulk of scholarship, buzz, and discussion surrounding OA in the academic world has been focused on journals, and then largely on scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journals rather than those in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). As a result, much of the information available and many of the scenarios proposed do not necessarily apply to HSS scholarly monographs – the leading form of university-press-published scholarship. The chief differences between journals and monographs – manuscript length and method of dissemination – have already been noted as factors contributing to the added complexity of offering OA to scholarly monographs over journals. In addition, monographs and journals differ with respect to the competitive markets in which they operate.

The primary market for both journals and monographs is academic (libraries and scholars). While both forms of scholarly publishing also gain revenues through course adoptions and in the general trade market, monograph publishers rely much more heavily on these streams than their journal counterparts.[30] Traditionally, this diverse audience has been a strength for university presses; the diversification of their core market offered some protection from financial strife should sales to one of those core audiences diminish. However, these markets have been arguably less secure in recent years due to increased competition from both large commercial educational publishers and general trade publishers, both of which have been slowly but steadily taking market share away from university presses.[31] Moreover, competition from journal publishers has been ongoing in the library market, as libraries attempt to accommodate the rising costs of serials by slashing budgets for books.

What this has meant is that university presses, already struggling in an increasingly competitive environment, face dwindling revenues since their traditional print markets of libraries and course and trade sales, upon which they have relied for survival, are becoming less and less of a sure thing. Furthermore, because these markets – general trade and textbook in particular – have not wholly embraced a digital model, books must still be available in print form, as well as e-book form. As a result, monograph publishers cannot yet contemplate doing away with print entirely, as many journals have, in order to save costs.

Finally, while both journal and monograph publishers in Canada rely heavily on government grants, the way in which those grants are administered affects the two types of publishers differently. Publisher members of the Association of Canadian University Presses, all of whom are primarily book publishers, receive title grants from the Aid to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP) and block operating grants from the Canada Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH), which support all qualifying Canadian publishers. Many university presses also receive funding from their provincial arts councils and/or their host institutions, although the amount of such funding, if any, varies greatly from press to press. Most of this funding is predicated on sales figures in dollars and/or the payment of author royalties that derive from those sales figures. For example, the Canada Council and most provincial funders require publishers to prove that they pay royalties to their authors, while the most important funding source, the Department of Canadian Heritage’s Canada Book Fund, requires an auditor’s statement certifying that royalties have been paid.

Canadian journals, by contrast, are generally funded by circulation. DCH’s Canada Periodical Fund provides assistance to journals with sales or by-request distribution of five thousand copies.[32] While open access is not any more compatible with this funding formula than with the formulas used for book publishing, the by- request distribution option available to journals does leave the door open to allow for digital content that has been expressly requested, regardless of whether it has been paid for.

While the differences between journals and monographs are important to bear in mind, these differences do not mean that providing OA is a non-issue for journal publishers. To be sure, revenues derived from government, institutional, and foundation funding and subscription sales are significant for these publishers. My aim in highlighting the differences here is only to emphasize that monograph publishing is a unique endeavour and that the solutions proposed or embraced by OA advocates with respect to journals do not necessarily translate easily to monograph publishing.

2: Open Access in the International Context[33]

According to Peter Suber, perhaps the most active advocate and most prolific activist for OA in the US today, the first glimmers of open access can be traced back to 1966, when the US Department of Education launched ERIC, the Educational Resources Information Center which, since its inception, has aimed to provide barrier-free access to educational literature. However, modern-day web-based digital open access probably more accurately owes its existence to the advent in 1969 of ARPANET, the US Department of Defense’s progenitor of what we now know as the internet.[34] Since then, OA advocacy has spread around the world, arguably culminating in the Budapest Open Access Initiative, signed in February 2002. Although recapping the individual developments in OA in an international context is well beyond the scope of this project,[35] understanding the current status of open access with respect to scholarly monographs in the US and Europe offers valuable context for considering how Canadian publishers may wish to proceed in the future.

2.1 Open Access in the United States

The open-access movement in the US has, until recently, been focused on publishers of scientific, technical, and medical journals. The argument has been that this type of scholarship, in large part funded by taxpayer monies, should be accessible to all – not only wealthy drug companies and people affiliated with academic institutions who either can or have to afford the hefty price tag associated with STM journal subscriptions. Open access was heralded as the backbone of the “global knowledge economy” that would allow us all to prosper through the collaborative (scientific) innovation that would be possible with barrier-free access to STM research.[36] In the US, OA, at least for journals, has had some high-level supporters. In 2003, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a major scientific research funder, issued a “final” statement on data-sharing that required all major funding applications to address their plans for data-sharing as a funding requirement.[37] By 2008, the NIH had upgraded its OA requirements to mandate that all publications based on research funded by the NIH must be made available to PubMed Central, the NIH’s open-access archive, for public access no later than twelve months after official publication.[38] Other notable OA projects that shaped the OA landscape in the US include the development of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and the launch of BioMed Central. Founded in 2000 and funded by a number of private foundations, PLoS is a non-profit OA publisher of peer-reviewed journals whose mission is to make “the world’s scientific and medical literature a public resource.”[39] The launch of BioMed Central in 1999, on the other hand, represented the first for-profit publishing initiative to offer free access to research reports in medicine and biology.[40] In 2001, BioMed Central began charging processing fees to authors in order to cover the costs of free online access, a practice that has since become the standard for commercial publishers offering OA publishing options.

The universities at the heart of STM research, and academic research in general, have also been active in the open-access debate. Since 2005, a number of American universities have adopted OA policies or resolutions, while Harvard’s 2008 OA mandate,[41] the requirement that every faculty member grant the university the right to make their scholarly articles freely available, made it the first US university to take OA that far. In September 2009, five of the leading American research universities – Cornell, Harvard, Dartmouth, MIT, and UC Berkeley – signed on to the Compact for Open-Access publishing equity, a statement of these universities’ commitment to open-access publishing and their intention to provide financial support to underwrite the cost of barrier-free research.[42] With such major universities beginning either to mandate open access or craft official OA policies, university presses across the country began to be more forcefully confronted by calls to make their publications freely accessible.

On the monograph side, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), which counts among its members eight Canadian university presses,[43] responded to these calls by issuing their February 2007 statement on open access. Acknowledging that most of the push towards OA has been directed at scholarly journals, the AAUP recognized that monographs, too, had to be addressed in the discussion. A rebuttal to criticisms that university presses (UPs) have been resistant to change or hostile to the open-access mandate, the AAUP statement affirmed that its members have always been open to using new technologies to further the dissemination and use-value of scholarship. It also lent its support to forms of open access that attempted “to balance the mission of scholarly communication with its costs,”[44] noting that many UPs had already initiated pilot OA projects that embraced this type of OA. However, the statement also expressed concern about OA models that advocated abandoning a market economy such that publication would ultimately become limited to those authors who could afford to underwrite its costs, either individually or through institutional grants. The AAUP further argued that completely free-to-user OA risked the demise of well- established electronic archiving services, such as Johns Hopkins’ Project MUSE, as well as an increase in the cost to UPs’ parent institutions, should the revenues currently generated by sales disappear. Finally, the association cautioned that if the free-to-user OA model was rejected by commercial publishers, the raft of journals and monographs currently published by these presses might be abandoned – along with the vital research contained in them.

While the AAUP statement may have painted a grim picture of OA as envisioned by the BOAI, a number of US academic presses had already begun experimenting with different forms of open access. The National Academies Press (NAP) was revolutionary in its 1994 decision to provide free online full-text editions of its printed books, a practice it continues to this day. Against the prevailing logic of the industry regarding OA at the time, NAP found that offering books for free on its website lead to greater sales of their printed counterparts.[45] While the NAP was surely the vanguard of OA in the scholarly monographs world, it was not alone for long. A number of university presses have since experimented with OA, offering free access in a variety of different ways. At the time of writing, US university presses experimenting with open access number fifteen.[46]

Germane to the OA debate in the US, particularly for university presses, was the controversy sparked by the July 2007 publication of a document called “University Publishing in a Digital Age” that became known as the Ithaka Report. Published by the Ithaka Group – a “not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping the academic community take full advantage of rapidly advancing information and networking technologies,”[47] –the report aimed to assess the importance of publishing, defined as “the communication and broad dissemination of knowledge,”[48] to universities in the internet age. It touched on many issues that overlap with open access, such as the need to develop online publishing capabilities for both backlist and front-list titles and for “new emerging formats.”[49] It also included the recommendation that universities “increase access to scholarship through new pricing models.”[50]

What ignited the controversy, however, was not the push for universities to put their research online. Rather, it was the implication that, in order to streamline the scholarly communication process, many of the traditional publishing functions of university presses might be assigned to university libraries, with the result that university presses would be subsumed into the university library, or in extreme cases, done away with altogether. The report noted that the future of scholarly communication lies in making it electronically available in multiple formats with varying levels of peer review. Libraries, it asserted, were taking action to support this vision, while university presses were seen as struggling to adapt to change. The university provosts interviewed for the study generally saw their university presses as mere accessories to the academic mission rather than as central players, or, if they were appreciative, had the sense that their days were numbered if they did not have a devoted champion in the administration.

Librarians, for their part, mostly saw university presses as anachronisms doomed to extinction in the near future unless they found ways of making themselves more relevant to their host university’s mission or collaborated with university libraries to reinvent themselves. The report concluded with several recommendations, the basic tenor of which was that university administrators need to take a more active role in the publishing output of their institutions and that libraries and presses must work together to “create the intellectual products of the future which increasingly will be created and distributed in electronic media.”[51]

Perhaps anticipating the discussion that would ensue, the Ithaka report noted that university presses were in many ways caught between a rock and a hard place. The two key challenges facing them were to “find the best way to be good stewards of scholarship on behalf of the community (public good), while also creating value for their parent institution (private good).” They also had “to advance their businesses through commercial discipline … while at the same time serving the not-for-profit demands of the community.”[52] The first challenge touches upon the central mission of university presses: in holding up the standards of objective scholarship, few, if any, of them pursue a publishing program that gives special recognition to research emanating from their own institutions. To do so would risk engaging in what is known as “vanity publishing.” The press would exist mainly to trumpet the accomplishments of its host institution – a role many feel is more than adequately performed by the university’s public relations department. The second challenge addresses also lies at the heart of the open-access debate: the economics of survival. As the report points out, university presses are often one of the few departments on campus that are expected to be largely self-sufficient: “they [university press directors] feel they are held to a different standard than all the cost centers on campus, that they are essentially penalized for pursuing a cost recovery model, which then becomes the basis for evaluating their performance. When they perform well (in financial terms), they are ‘rewarded’ by having subsidies cut. When they run too large a deficit they are threatened with closure.”[53]

As a working paper provided for informational purposes only, the Ithaka report was in no way binding upon any universities, presses, or libraries. Its recommendations were offered for the consideration of the academic community in the hopes that some of them might be adopted and that, as a result, scholarly communication might become more open and amenable to digitization. In the end, the report succeeded in galvanizing discussion about the role of university presses and perhaps pushed many directors into considering how they might assure the ongoing viability of their publishing houses. Related in no small way to this discussion was the mounting pressure from government funders and individual scholars to provide open access to scholarly research. University presses were faced more forcefully with the question of whether or not open access might be a viable business model for their industry and, if so, what structures needed to change to accommodate it.

The challenge of OA in the book world came to widespread attention with the lawsuits brought against search-engine giant Google in response to the Google Books Library Project. Initially called Google Print for Libraries and then Google Book Search, the project was first made public on 14 December 2004[54] when Google announced that it was teaming up with the libraries of Harvard, Stanford, the University of Michigan, the University of Oxford, and the New York Public Library in a massive digitization project that would make those libraries’ collections freely searchable online. The announcement set off a firestorm of discussion within publishing communities, many of which were concerned that Google’s plan represented a blatant infringement of United States copyright law. Peter Givler, Executive Director of the AAUP, in a letter to Google,[55] made it clear that in the view of the AAUP’s membership, the Google Books Library Project was a potential financial disaster for scholarly publishers who relied, in large part, on the sales of books and subsidiary rights underpinned by copyright, to sustain their businesses. Other publishers agreed. On 19 October 2005, McGraw-Hill, Simon and Shuster, Penguin Group USA, Pearson Education, and Wiley filed a lawsuit against Google seeking an injunction to prevent it from digitally copying and distributing copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owners. The suit was coordinated and funded by the American Association of Publishers (AAP).[56] In response, Google argued that its scanning project did not infringe on copyright and qualified as fair use. In an argument that echoed that of OA advocates, Google maintained that a fair-use claim was justified since the digitized books would promote wider access to the literature.

In October 2008, however, the case was settled, with the parties agreeing that Google could proceed with the project provided they establish a “collecting society,” to be called the Book Rights Registry (BRR). To fund the registry, Google would provide an initial 34.5 million USD followed by an ongoing contribution of 67 percent of revenues from the Library Project, which would be used to compensate copyright owners for past and future uses of their books.[57] The Google case is significant to open-access discussions since its outcome bears directly on what constitutes fair use of copyrighted works in US law. In short, the settlement upholds the basic tenet that traditional copyright holders are entitled to compensation for public distribution of their works, and that parties seeking to digitally distribute those works are required to adequately compensate rights holders.

The OA versus copyright battle enacted in the Google case mirrored issues of ongoing concern in the US legislative arena, where two opposing bills were brought to the Congress seeking to amend the extent of copyright legislation. The “Public Access to Science Act” (colloquially known as the Sabo bill because of the congressman who championed it) was introduced in June 2003 and proposed that any research papers authored by scientists receiving substantial federal funding for the work in question should be considered ineligible for copyright protection. The bill failed to proceed and was not resurrected, but it generated extensive public debate on open access.[58] Indeed, its very proposition was a sign that open access to scholarly research was significant enough to make it onto the national agenda.

In 2009, the issue of research and copyright was raised again – but this time from the other direction. The “Fair Copyright in Research Works Act,” which went to committee in February 2009, is a direct response to the NIH requirement of OA to NIH- funded research papers. In short, the act “prohibits any federal agency from imposing any condition, in connection with a funding agreement, that requires the transfer or license to or for a federal agency, or requires the absence or abandonment, of specified exclusive rights of a copyright owner in an extrinsic work.”[59] The previous version of the bill, which was introduced in the previous Congress but died in session, was opposed by OA advocates[60] but supported by the AAUP.[61] The current version of the bill, “.R.801 was referred to the House Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy on 16 March 2009, and has to date made no further progress.[62] Thus, it is too early to tell whether OA will keep its footing with respect to federally funded research in the US.

In June 2009, perhaps in response to the Fair Copyright in Research Act, the Committee on Science and Technology of the United States House of Representatives convened a roundtable on scholarly publishing, with the goal of developing “consensus recommendations for expanding public access to the journal articles arising from research funded by agencies of the United States government.”[63] With representatives from academic administration, librarians, information science researchers, and scientific journal publishers, the roundtable’s core recommendation was that “each federal research funding agency should expeditiously but carefully develop and implement an explicit public access policy that brings about free public access to the results of the research that it funds as soon as possible after those results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal.”[64] It went on to make eight other recommendations, among which was that specific embargo periods should be established between publication and public access. Notably, it acknowledged that while science journals seem to be adequately provided for with a zero- to twelve-month period, other fields, such as the social sciences and humanities, may require longer embargoes since knowledge in these fields devaluates at a slower rate. While the report certainly represents a ringing endorsement for open access, its acknowledgement of the need for embargoes recognizes that such access has a real impact on the financial viability of research publishers.

Admittedly, many of the developments in OA in the US pertain to journals rather than monographs. However, since technology is advancing daily and shapes how and what we read electronically, monograph publishers must recognize that what happens with journals will undoubtedly have a bearing on what will be expected of books in the future. A burgeoning cross-border development has come out of John Willinsky’s Public Knowledge Project (PKP), which, since its inception in 1998, has advocated for open access to scholarly research while also developing technological solutions that foster its adoption—again particularly in the realm of journal publication. In 2008, PKP began work on its Open Monograph Press (OMP) software, which is currently in its first external testing phase. While the software is not designed solely for OA publishing, it has been designed with the goal of facilitating OA, should a publisher embrace that model. As Willinsky notes, “the software does not determine the economic model used by the press. Certainly, we have been developing systems designed to support open access, but we have learned that to encourage increased access to research and scholarship, we have needed to build systems that are financially ecumenical, if not agnostic.”[65] As such, the OMP represents a potentially important technological contribution to the development of a workable OA business model.

2.2 Open Access in Europe

The progress of OA in Europe has largely paralleled that in the US. Indeed, since the very concept of open access has within it the breaking down of barriers, it should not be surprising that developments in open access in one country are often accompanied by similar, sometimes more expansive, developments in others. The Budapest Open Access Initiative of 2002, although based in Europe, was international in terms of its signatories and scope. It was followed in 2003 by the Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, which broadened the BOAI by explicitly including cultural heritage, along with research in the sciences and humanities. The Berlin declaration was signed by representatives of research and cultural institutions from around the world, with the majority in Europe.[66]

In March 2006, the European Commission (EC) released the results of its study of the scientific publication system in Europe, which recommended that the public should have guaranteed access to publicly funded research “at the time of publication and also long term.”[67] The report acknowledged that, at the time, electronic publications might have different cost/profit models than traditional print publications, and so also proposed “eliminating unfavourable tax treatment of electronic publications and encouraging public funding and public-private partnerships to create digital archives in areas with little commercial investment.”[68] In December 2006, the European Research Council (ERC) issued a statement in favour of open access, and indicating its intent to mandate that any ERC-funded research be deposited in an OA archive no later than twelve months after publication.[69] By December 2007, the ERC amended its position to shorten the acceptable embargo period to six months after publication.[70]

In February 2007, the EC held a conference to discuss how European governments and institutions could best respond to the challenges of access, dissemination, and preservation of scientific information in the digital age. The results of that conference, along with other relevant policy documentation, lead to the publication of the council’s “Conclusions on Scientific Information in the Digital Age: Access, Dissemination and Preservation,” in which the Council recommended that, from 2008 onwards, the EC and its member states define clear policies with respect to OA, and promote “through these policies, access through the internet to the results of publicly financed research, at no cost to the reader, taking into consideration economically sustainable ways of doing this, including delayed open access.”[71] Moreover, it advised member states to “explor[e] the possibility for national funding bodies to define common basic principles on open access.”[72] The council further invited the EC to experiment with different forms of OA in projects funded by the EU Research Framework Programmes, in an effort to document and define the results of such experiments on the scientific community and the public.

The July 2008 publication of the EC’s handbook on open access – Open Access: Opportunities and Challenges[73] – marked the commission’s public endorsement of the principles of OA. Produced in conjunction with the German Commission for UNESCO, and initially authored by that body in 2007, the handbook was partly an OA primer for the uninitiated, as well as a how-to for universities and individual scholars, and an overview of open access from a number of different social and economic perspectives. Like much of the available literature elsewhere, the handbook largely limits itself to discussion of OA with respect to journal/data publishing, and does not significantly address monographs. The majority of the contributors to the handbook take a pro-OA stance. Two contributions from publishers – represented by contributions from Wiley- Blackwell and the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers – raise concerns about the viability of open access, in terms of economics, quality assurance, and maintenance of a clear version of record (versus the multiple versions that are possible in the open access to scholarly pre-prints model proposed by some OA activists).

A month later, the EC officially launched an OA pilot project, requiring that certain recipients of EU funding for projects representing 20 percent of the EC’s research programme budget from 2007 to 2013 make the published results of their research freely available to the public. Specifically, these researchers are required to “deposit peer reviewed research articles or final manuscripts resulting from their … projects into an online repository [and] make their best efforts to ensure open access to these articles within either six (health, energy, environment, parts of information and communication technologies, research infrastructures) or twelve months (social sciences and humanities, science in society) after publication.”[74]

As in the US, supporters of OA, particularly within the life sciences, have moved ahead of legislation and government funding mandates to establish OA repositories where copies of peer-reviewed journal articles are archived and freely available to the public and other researchers. In the UK, for example, UK PubMed Central (, which launched in January 2007, was modeled after the US- based, NIH-sponsored PubMed Central to provide “a stable, permanent, and free-to- access online digital archive of full-text, peer-reviewed research publications”[75] in the biomedical and life sciences. In the Netherlands, the Digital Academic Repositories programme, now known as the National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System (, a joint effort of all fourteen Dutch universities and other significant Dutch research institutions, provides free access to almost two hundred thousand scientific publications, as well as data sets, and information on Dutch researchers, research projects, and research institutions. Most other European countries have some form of OA repository (OAR). OpenDOAR, an online directory of open-access repositories, keeps listings of OARs by continent and country, and shows at least one OAR for each of thirty-two countries in Europe.[76] Some of these are joint efforts, some are run by individual universities, and others are international and serve specific areas of study. An important example of the latter kind has been spearheaded by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). A 2006 report by that organization proposed an OA implementation and business model, known as SCOAP3 – the Sponsoring Consortium for Open Access Publishing in Particle Physics. Under this model, a group of research institutions, funding bodies, and libraries would assume the cost of funding the publication of important journals in particle physics while these journals transition to OA. Rather than subscribing to the journals, each SCOAP3 partner would instead contribute an equivalent amount to the consortium, which would take over funding for the journals. These journals would then be made freely accessible over the internet. The consortium estimates that the maximum annual budget for this transition project would be significantly lower than the amount currently spent worldwide on subscription fees to these highly specialized journals.[77] As the EC handbook on open access notes, the beauty of the SCOAP3 model “lies in the fact that publishers maintain an important role and that authors do not have to finance the cost of publication themselves.”[78]

In a 2005 working paper, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Working Party on the Information Economy presented the results of their study of scientific and scholarly research publishing. Their central question was “whether there are new opportunities and new models for scholarly publishing that would better serve researchers and better communicate and disseminate research findings.”[79] The report itself failed to answer the question with any decisiveness, providing instead an overview of the state of the nation of scholarly publishing, as well as a qualitative comparison of three different publishing models: subscription publishing, open-access publishing, and self-archiving (i.e., the green road to OA). In an attempt to lend an economic analysis to the discussion initiated by the OECD, in 2009, the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the UK published the results of their own study, which mounted a comparison of the same publishing models, but from a financial standpoint. While its report delves into a number of technical economic considerations that are quite specific to the UK market, their basic conclusions were that, in comparison to the traditional subscription model of journal publishing, both self-archiving and open- access publishing were significantly more cost-effective, with the former being the most economical publishing strategy of all. While the study does devote a very small portion of its discussion to a cost comparison of traditional print monographs with OA e-books, the bulk of the report refers to journal publishing. Nonetheless, the authors make the claim that their conclusions account for book publishing, despite the fact that the level of analysis devoted to this sector is minimal.

The JISC report, in its summary of implications for publishers and the publishing industry, noted that a wholesale shift to OA or self-archiving models would, of necessity, result in “a reduction of revenue to the publishing industry.” Such a reduction would, the report goes on to say, “imply a reduction of activity and employment in the industry. Such adjustments are difficult for those concerned, but the economy is a dynamic system … As a result, the capital and labour no longer employed in publishing would be employed in an alternative activity. Given the relative size of the publishing industry and the rate at which alternative models are being adopted, it is unlikely that the UK economy would have difficulty adjusting to such a change.”[80] As Jim Ashling notes, even as the JISC document was designed to highlight the costs and benefits of scholarly publishing to the UK’s knowledge economy, it paid “scant recognition [to] the economic and social benefits contributed to the UK by British publishers and societies.”[81] Moreover, he notes wryly that the report’s assurance that an alternative activity would provide new employment for publishing professionals is not accompanied by any “guidance on what the ‘alternative activities’ for those left unemployed might be.”[82] For their part, UK publishers firmly refuted many of the assertions put forth in the JISC report. In a joint statement, the Publishers Association, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, and the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers charged that the report was based on assumptions derived not from actual industry figures, but rather from the authors’ own estimates. They further noted that the model used was theoretical, rather than real-world, and that while the study claimed to be based on industry consultation, “none of the publishing trade associations or any of the major commercial or society publishers were consulted in advance of publication.”[83] The joint statement went on to critique specific assumptions underlying the JISC report. The report authors issued their own response to these criticisms, largely maintaining their original position, but remaining open to continuing discussions with UK publishers on the report’s key recommendations.[84]

JISC assertions aside, monograph publishing in Europe, like the US, has not seen nearly as much OA activity as has been the case with journals. Still, some European publishers are experimenting with OA for books, and while it is still too early to tell how these trials will work out, they are worth following as possible models and/or cautionary tales. Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) is the first broadscale OA project devoted to monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences. A partnership of eight European university presses, the project aims to “find a financial model which is appropriate to scholarly humanities monographs, a publishing platform which is beneficial to all users and create a network of publishing partners across Europe and the rest of the world.”[85] OAPEN is currently funded by a thirty-month, €900,000 grant from the EC.

Dr. Saskia de Vries, director of Amsterdam University Press, a key OAPEN partner, has been a vocal supporter of OA for monographs. In a 2007 article, she came out in favour of a combination of OA and print-on-demand (POD). “I believe that digital disclosure of academic information via open access could actually lead to more books being sold,”[86] she wrote, citing Amsterdam University Press’s successful experience with POD technology at the University of Amsterdam as evidence. Asserting that “open access is a fact of life, and it is here to stay … the whole debate about open access should be about how to use it,”[87] she also pragmatically reminded readers that OA publishing is not cost free. Moreover, in a statement that predated the one made by the JISC, de Vries advised her publishing colleagues to brace themselves for change: “if parts of publishers’ traditional role are being taken over by others, should publishers nevertheless be kept in business to protect those 36,000 jobs? Of course not … It is very hard to predict what the future holds for us all – publishers, librarians, and academics. But I would like to remind you of a quotation attributed to Charles Darwin: ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.’”[88] Amsterdam University Press, for its part, is putting its money where de Vries’s mouth is. It is currently collaborating with the International Migration, Integration, and Social Cohesion in Europe (IMISCOE) research group to produce some two hundred publications over the next five years, all of which will be made digitally available in an OA repository. The IMISCOE project will be disseminated via Amsterdam University Press, and funded by a grant from the EU.[89] At present, ten full-text books stemming from this project are available in PDF form on the Amsterdam University Press website. Each of these is also available for purchase via POD.

A similar experiment is being conducted in the UK by Bloomsbury Academic (BA), the scholarly imprint of the British trade house, Bloomsbury Publishing. The brainchild of publisher Frances Pinter, Bloomsbury Academic will publish exclusively in the social sciences and humanities (SSH) and will make all of its titles available “free of charge online, with free downloads, for non-commercial purposes immediately upon publication, using Creative Commons licences. The works will also be sold as books, using the latest short-run litho technologies or Print on Demand (POD).”[90] BA launched the public beta version of its distribution and display platform on 25 September 2010, which currently houses twenty-five full-text completely open-access books. The platform, originally envisaged as “plug[ging]into the world beyond the site itself, with connections to blogs, podcasts and webcasts to accompany and enhance the world-class content inside. Within the site, additional readers’ resources will augment the core texts, with role-based navigation helping core groups make the best of Bloomsbury Academic,”[91] it currently offers advanced search functionality, relevance ranking, several browsing options, refined searching, HTML output, fully printable documents, article- and search- saving functionality, and Web 2.0 tools, such as sharing on social networks and social bookmarking.[92]

An undoubtedly ambitious undertaking by any standards, Pinter acknowledges that the financial backing available from Bloomsbury Publishing, the house behind the Harry Potter phenomenon, is essential to the project: “I could only attempt this by having the resources of a major publishing house behind me to experiment with what I see as radically new business models, highlighting the strengths of both print and digital communications.”[93] Considering that BA has only just launched, its performance in the marketplace as a viable financial model remains to be seen. In what seems like qualified optimism, Pinter herself refused to commit to the survival of the initial BA business model. “I believe this is a beginning, not the end of creating a sustainable business model,” she wrote. “While positioning Bloomsbury Academic to provide all the additional added value features scholars are still seeking from independent presses, it will at the same time explore other avenues of income generation around the core content. The opportunities for Web 2.0 in SSH publishing are only just emerging, and our team will be at the forefront.”[94] This inclusion of value-added Web 2.0-based services in BA’s ultimate business plan, however preliminary, is notable, and largely under-discussed in the literature. It bears further investigation by publishers considering a switch to OA, and will be discussed in more detail in the later in this paper.

Interestingly, both de Vries and Pinter make the observation – and assumption – that monographs differ from journals in that journals are innately suitable to on-screen reading. In arguing that the printed book will not be killed off by the introduction of a digital OA counterpart, de Vries claims that “no academic reads more than a few pages on the internet, or prints out 300 pages; so even if the full text is available in a repository, the printed book will still be wanted.”[95] Similarly, Pinter makes the assertion that “once a book is read more than twice in a library it is actually cheaper than printing out copies for individual users who either discard them or leave them on their personal shelves … People still need to read a 300-page exposition and hate doing it on a screen.”[96] While both may be right at this juncture, their observations likely have a limited shelf life. As I noted earlier, advances in e-book reader technology and market- share may make such assertions quickly obsolete. The more people invest in the “hardware” of e-book readers, which have been designed specifically to counteract arguments such as Pinter’s and de Vries’s, the more likely it is that the demand for printed material will drop, perhaps precipitously.

Europe, then, is not much further advanced than the US in terms of OA. The experiments being conducted at present are very much in the early days, and there is little to no data available by which to assess how OA is affecting monograph publishing. However, what is clear is that OA in Europe is a topic of great concern to policymakers, publishers, and scholars, and that there is both the political will and the financial wherewithal to explore its possibilities further.

3: Open Access in Canada

As in both the US and Europe, much of the discussion on OA in Canada has focused on journals, and for good reason. OA journal publishing in this country has been burgeoning. As of this writing, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) lists 137 OA journals from Canada, or just under 10 percent of Canada’s academic journal output. By contrast, the DOAJ lists 998 OA journals from the US, which represents approximately 5 percent of that country’s academic journal publication.[97] These figures indicate that OA has a solid base in Canadian journal publishing, and should seem encouraging to Canadian OA advocates. However, journal publishing is only one front on the OA battleground. Of equal importance are the availability of open archives where scholars can deposit their work (peer reviewed, non–peer reviewed, and works in progress), as well as institution-backed OA mandates to ensure that such archives, where they exist, are comprehensive records of national and discipline-specific scholarship.

When it comes to open archives for scholarly material, Canada is still in the developing stages. Most of our fifty-one[98] open archives are single-institution archives, designed to house the research output of scholars at particular universities. Of these, several are still in the pilot stage. A notable exception to this is é, a partially open archive that is the result of the collaboration of three Quebec universities – the Université de Montréal, Université Laval, and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Established in 1998 as a digital publishing platform, the site underwent a number of changes before emerging in 2008 as a highly advanced digital repository, publishing, and research platform that allows for advanced browsing, searching, and filtering of content, as well the capacity to export search-result citations and to search and browse through the collections of partner platforms. While érudit is committed to the wide dissemination of scholarly materials, offering 80 percent of its content completely free, at the behest of journal publishers, it maintains a subscription model for the remainder. This model uses a “moving wall principle for filtered access,” with journal content less than two years old reserved for paying subscribers.[99] Thus, the portion of scholarship available for free on érudit is older – and arguably less immediately relevant – research.

Erudit’s platform formed the basis for the Synergies project, “a not-for-profit platform for the publication and dissemination of research results in the social sciences and humanities published in Canada”[100] that is currently in development. Stemming from an investment of almost twelve million dollars, 5.8 million of which came from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI),[101] an independent corporation of the Canadian government, Synergies is unique for its focuson the Canadian social sciences and humanities. Like Erudit, however, the project is not wholly open access. While details are scant on how much of the information available will be OA, the Synergies beta site indicates that while the promotion of OA is a goal, participating publishers can expect to gain revenues generated by “the ongoing commercialization of collections,” which will include subscriptions and “commercial agreements with national and international research library consortia.”[102] In the life sciences, Canada houses PubMed Central Canada (PMC Canada), a Canadian version of the American PubMed Central (PMC). A joint effort of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and the National Research Council’s Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Research, PMC Canada is a completely free-to-access full-text archive that links up with PMC in the US, while also managing the submission of Canadian-funded biomedical and health research to the joint PMC database.[103] PMC Canada does not charge any subscription fees, but relies on the OA release policies of individual journals to determine the length of embargo periods. No maximum embargo period is enforced, with the exception of published research funded by the CIHR, which mandates that such research must be made freely available either through an OA repository or via the publisher no later than six months following the date of publication.[104] The CIHR OA mandate is currently one of nine funder-initiated mandates that exist in Canada,[105] all of which are in the sciences.

University OA mandates are comparatively rare in Canada, with only three Canadian universities adopting open-access mandates. In September 2009, the University of Ottawa (U of O) became the first Canadian university to join the Compact for Open Access Publishing, joining Harvard, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, and UC Berkeley. At the same time, it announced a comprehensive OA strategy that includes an author fund for faculty publishing research in OA journals, an institutional repository for U of O-generated research, the development of an OA collection of monographs with the University of Ottawa Press, as well as funding support for open education resources and research into the OA movement itself.[106] Simon Fraser University (SFU) has also signaled its support for OA, with the endorsement of an OA strategy for the SFU library[107] and the creation of an open-access fund to aid researchers in publishing their work in OA form.[108] Athabasca University (AU), the first Canadian university to formally request the deposit of all research performed by its faculty into the university’s repository, has not insisted that such research be OA, allowing that “the contract with the publisher determines whether the article is restricted (lives in the repository as a record of the AU’s research but is not accessible online by searchers) or open access (accessible online by searchers).”[109] The University of Calgary, while not mandating its authors to deposit their research into OA repositories, took the step of facilitating publication in OA journals through its Open Access Authors Fund. First established in 2008, the fund set aside $100,000 for the express purpose of paying publisher fees for articles to be published in OA journals.[110]

Librarians, for their part, are largely in support of the OA movement in this country. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) was an original signatory of the Budapest Open Access Initiative, and has since been active in promoting OA among university faculty and researchers, as well as with other scholarly communications stakeholders, such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC).[111] The Canadian Library Association, which represents librarians in college, university, public, special (corporate, non-profit and government), and school libraries, has also issued a position statement in support of open access, encouraging libraries to “support and encourage policies requiring open access to research supported by Canadian public funding … raise awareness of library patrons and other key stakeholders about open access … support the development of open access in all of its varieties, including gold (OA publishing) and green (OA self-archiving).”[112]

Explicit government involvement in the OA debate with respect to scholarly research, such as the legislative bills that were brought to the US Congress, and the commissioning of the JISC report in the UK, has largely been absent in Canada. To date, the federal government has not made any statement or initiated any discussion on open access to scholarly research in the political sphere. However, it is notable that in June 2010, the government introduced Bill C-32, an act to amend the Copyright Act with particular respect to protecting and strengthening copyright protection for “performers’ performances, sound recordings and communication signals and moral rights in performers’ performances.”[113] In this case, the government signaled its support for stronger copyright, rather than a more open position, at least insofar as video and audio recordings/performances are concerned. That this position extends to scholarly research, however, is unlikely, since the main government research funding agency in the social sciences and humanities, SSHRC, has officially endorsed the principles of OA for research it funds, although at present, this endorsement has meant only that open-access journal and monograph publishers are eligible to apply to the organization for financial assistance through the appropriate funding programs.

Thus, the OA climate in Canada is broadly similar to that of the US and Europe. OA has unquestionably arrived in Canada, and is rapidly gaining momentum. So what does this mean for Canadian scholarly monograph publishers?

First, Canada’s monograph publishers should be prepared to face more forceful calls for open access from their constituencies – primarily from academics themselves, but also from university administrations and possibly from national funders of both scholarly research and the publishers themselves. This is the direction that developments in the US and Europe are taking and there is no reason to believe that Canada will not eventually follow suit. However, despite the ongoing similarities among these regions, there are some notable differences that contribute to Canada’s unique position with respect to implementing open access in monograph publishing.

In 2005, CARL published the results of a three-year study on scholarly communications in Canada, which highlighted major trends specific to the Canadian situation. Among these were the observations that “the majority of articles and monographs written by Canadian researchers are published outside Canada,” and that “Canada is a ‘net importer’ of information resources. Although Canadian researchers are productive authors, the Canadian research community imports far more scholarly publications than it authors or produces.”[114]

Because Canadian researchers often publish their work abroad, the volume of scholarship that is ultimately “housed” in Canadian presses is much lower than the dollar figure of government-funded research might suggest would be the case. This means that Canadian scholarly publishers trying to make ends meet from Canadian-authored scholarship have a much smaller pool to draw from on the one hand, and that libraries seeking to ensure that Canadian scholarship resides on their shelves must negotiate with both commercial and non-profit publishers from outside of Canada, thus being forced to pay the often exorbitant subscription fees charged for international journals. Ultimately, then, the financial squeeze that this trend places on both publishers and libraries is not simply a matter of changing the situation in Canada. A shift to OA in Canadian publishing alone will not even begin to solve the budgetary crises in our libraries. Mandates by Canadian university administrations requiring the OA publication of all faculty research might help in terms of making more Canadian-based research freely available, but even this will be only a drop in the bucket, since “Canada is a ‘net importer’ of information.”

Canada’s smaller number of universities and population, relative to the US and Europe, is also a mitigating factor in the comparative viability of OA for Canadian scholarly publishers. Most of these publishers specialize in some form of Canadian- focused studies, and thus have a limited market for their books and journals. Going OA for these books, assuming that printed versions would still be available for purchase, opens Canadian UPs up to a significant risk of declining revenues, which, in an industry that already operates on slim margins, could prove fatal. This is not to suggest that a wholesale switch to open access is less fraught for American and European publishers than it is for Canadian presses. Rather, the smaller market for their products might mean only that Canadian scholarly publishers will feel the effects of OA on their bottom lines more quickly than publishers to the south or across the Atlantic.

Perhaps the most important difference between the Canadian situation and that in the US or Europe is the funding structure of the Canadian publishing industry. Unlike in the United States, where university presses are funded almost exclusively by revenues from sales,[115] Canadian university presses, like the rest of Canada’s publishers, receive a significant part of their operating budgets through grants from the Canadian government. Because the Canadian publishing industry has long been dwarfed by the output and market share of its US counterpart, publishing in Canada is considered a cultural activity, and as such, falls under the protection of the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH). As mentioned previously, Canadian scholarly publishers are eligible to apply for annual grants from both DCH, as well as from the Canada Council for the Arts. Currently, the amounts of the DCH grants are determined by a publisher’s past and projected revenues. Grants from the Canada Council, on the other hand, are awarded on a title-by-title basis determined by the average deficit across the genre to which the title belongs, and require a minimum print run of 350 copies. Additionally, scholarly publishers may also apply for funding from the Aid to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP), run by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS). These grants are available to publishers wishing to make their titles available in only electronic form provided that they are published on an open-access basis, and that they meet other ASPP eligibility requirements.

The problem with switching to open access, then, for most Canadian UPs is much deeper than restructuring their own business models. Much of the infrastructure around the publishing industry in this country has been built on the assumption of a print-based model; digital considerations are still very much in the developmental stage. In principle, the CFHSS, also known as the Federation, has issued a statement in support of open access.[116] In e-mail correspondence, Kel Morin-Parsons, Manager of the ASPP, acknowledged that the Federation supported OA’s aim of disseminating scholarly research “to the widest possible audience with the fewest possible barriers.” The ASPP’s support for OA is demonstrated “by seeking to encourage and work with scholarly presses that put it into practice … Essentially, the ASPP and Federation believe that no paradigm shifts overnight, nor would anyone reasonably expect it to do so – but that a willingness to explore the principle, via pilot projects or even individual titles placed in open access, could provide some excellent data about the costs and benefits of OA publishing for scholarly books.”[117]

SSHRC, for its part, has also adopted, in principle, a policy of open access for its research-support programs, but unlike the CIHR or NSERC, has held off mandating OA for publications stemming from research it has funded. J. Craig McNaughton, Director of Knowledge Mobilization and Program Integration at SSHRC, notes that the organization has instead chosen to “take an awareness-raising, educational and promotional approach in this transitional period when the needed infrastructure and resources are still being developed to support Open Access.”[118] McNaughton further notes that SSHRC has been focusing on “encouraging and facilitating the shift of scholarly journals to online and open-access business models” and has been a champion of the CFI-funded initiatives, the Synergies program, and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN), which has provided significant funds to support the digitization and dissemination of Canadian books through library acquisitions.[119]

At present, the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA), which administers the Block Grant program to support Canadian publishers, lacks an official policy on how/if open access will be incorporated into its granting structure. Elizabeth Eve, Program Officer for the Writing and Publishing Section, makes the point that the eligibility criteria for CCA grants are founded on supporting titles for which authors are paid “in line with industry standards.” Moreover, because the council is largely concerned with supporting literary publishing, its eligibility criteria are constructed with literary publishers in mind, most of whom are not particularly concerned with open access. Eve notes that while the CCA does not currently have a policy in place, “as things evolve there may be some clarity about how the Council would include digital editions into the Block Grant program.”[120] At present, the Department of Canadian Heritage also does not have an official policy or statement on open access and it is unclear whether one is forthcoming or not.[121]

A shift to open access is likely to require a restructuring of the funding paradigms that currently support the Canadian scholarly publishing industry. At the very least, it will involve official policies from funders that make OA titles eligible for grants. It may also require higher levels of subsidies, since most university presses stay solvent by augmenting their sales revenues through grants, a situation that may not be sustainable at current levels if an OA version of a title is offered at the same time as a printed one. Indeed, if a press chooses to offer OA-only versions of its titles, then sales revenues would disappear altogether.

If the government funding bodies that largely sustain Canadian university presses are unable or refuse to augment subventions to cover the loss of revenue that might result from a shift to OA, some presses might choose to turn to their host universities to make up the shortfall, assuming those institutions have the financial wherewithal to contribute. Indeed, the Ithaka report hints in its recommendations that university administrators should recognize the importance of publishing to the “core mission and activities of universities” while also developing “ a strategic approach to publishing … including what publication services should be provided to your constituents, how they should be provided and funded, how publishing should relate to tenure decisions, and a position on intellectual assets.” More explicitly, the report urges administrators to “create the organizational structure necessary to implement this [strategic approach to publishing] and leverage the resources of the university” and “commit resources to deliver an agreed strategic plan for scholarly communication.”[122] While the degree of funding that Canadian university presses presently receive from their home institutions varies, a shift to OA may require both an increase in institutional funding and the development of formal scholarly communications plans like those the Ithaka report recommended.

In the event that no significant changes are made to the funding structures that support Canadian scholarly presses but OA mandates surface, either through pressure from the academy as a whole, or less directly through mandates initiated by research funders, those presses will have to find a way to make up any budgetary shortfall that might arise from implementing OA. The most common model is the one used by Amsterdam University Press and proposed by Bloomsbury Academic: offering titles free of charge online alongside a print-on-demand version of the same title. In this case, academics, libraries, and the general public would likely see an increase in the price of the printed book as the unit costs of the POD products would generally be higher than traditional litho printing, and as the publishers seek to offset potential revenue losses from offering titles as OA online. That said, this is not the only scenario: Rice University Press (RUP) in Houston, TX, which ceased operations on 30 September 2010, operated using this model, but produced POD copies for sale at a cost that was actually lower than traditionally printed books. Perhaps tellingly, this business model was enabled largely through the savings the press claimed in bypassing the time-consuming and labour- intensive peer-review process. In an innovative move, Rice’s books were books that had been peer reviewed at other scholarly presses, but had become stuck in “the economic logjam in academic publishing,” that is, they had been deemed academically important but financially impossible.[123] Additionally, Rice University Press was funded by its host university, as well as by private foundations,[124] although the specific support offered is unknown. Certainly the closing of RUP might be indicative of the significant financial difficulties faced by publishers seeking to operate on a wholly OA model. Rice University’s outgoing provost and champion of the press blamed the closure on painful budget reductions, as well as lackluster POD sales: “The hope was that, without the burden of having to maintain a print inventory, the press might sustain itself largely from revenues from print-on-demand book sales. Unfortunately, book sales remained very slow, and projections discouraged the anticipation that revenues would, in the foreseeable future, grow to a level that could materially cover even minimal costs of operations.”[125]

Given these obstacles to publishing monographs using an OA model, few Canadian presses have had the financial wherewithal or the organizational tenacity to undertake open access. Athabasca University, which recently launched Canada’s newest scholarly monograph publisher, Athabasca University Press (AUP), stands as an exception.

3.1 Case Study: Athabasca University Press

Knowledge is too important to be left to free enterprise.

Athabasca University Press (AUP), launched in 2008, is the “centre of scholarly publishing expertise” at Athabasca University (AU), an open university specializing in online and distance education, with campuses located in Athabasca, St. Albert, Edmonton, and Calgary. What distinguishes Athabasca University Press from other Canadian university presses is that it was established at a time when digital publishing had already become commonplace and the internet was already moving to embrace the interactivity of Web 2.0.[126] Moreover, it is affiliated with an open university that has as its mission the breaking down of barriers to higher education. Citing Terry Anderson, a professor and Canada Research Chair of distance education at AU, Walter Hildebrandt, AUP’s director, says that central to the press’s operation is the idea that “knowledge is too important to be left to free enterprise.”[127] Open access, then, makes ideological sense in both its commitment to the free dissemination of knowledge and the lowering of barriers to information.

Hildebrandt came to AUP from the University of Calgary Press – a traditional bricks-and-mortar scholarly publishing enterprise – and admits he had reservations about AU president Frits Pannekoek’s vision of OA. He worried that open access would dissuade authors from publishing with AUP, and was warned by colleagues that publishing OA titles would lead to the demise of both the printed book and with it, AUP’s hope of revenues. To his relief, he has found that neither of these things have come to pass.

So how does Athabasca University Press make open access work? The press’s business model derives its budget from a combination of institutional funding, grants, and sales revenue. It makes every work it publishes available for free online, while at the same time offering traditional print copies for sale. AUP published eighteen books in its first year, seventeen in its second, and anticipates publishing twenty to twenty-five new titles in 2010/2011. Hildebrandt estimates that its maximum output would be around thirty to thirty-five titles per year, making it a mid-sized press comparable to Wilfrid Laurier University Press. It also publishes seven online OA journals, one of which is also available in a print subscription. In addition, AUP lends its imprint to peer-reviewed website publications – sites that have, like scholarly monographs, been through an assessment process to determine the scholarly impact and validity of the material. Distribution and academic marketing of AUP’s printed books is done through the University of British Columbia Press, which provides marketing and distribution services for the print books in Canada and internationally via its network of distributors in the US, Europe, and Asia. AUP employs nine people – eight full-time and one part-time – and contracts out most of its copyediting and design work.

The funding model for AUP likely differs from that of the rest of the Canadian university presses insofar as it has been initially nearly fully supported by its host university. According to Hildebrandt, the university currently supports the cost of bringing each title to the point of online publication. The cost of print publication must then be recouped by sales and/or grants. The university has committed to subsidizing the press in this way for at least three years, until AUP qualifies for the Canadian Book Fund (formerly known as BPIDP funding) from the Department of Canadian Heritage. The press also pursues any traditional funding that is available to it, including ASPP grants from CFHSS, Canada Council funding, and funding from the Alberta Council for the Arts.

AUP author contracts have a copyright clause based on a Creative Commons attribution (i.e., non-commercial, no derivatives licence) that allows the free distribution of a work for non-commercial purposes with no changing of the original work, provided the author is properly cited. The OA work is distributed on the press’s website in PDF form, both as a whole work and in chapter form. Additionally, the website provides librarians with MARC (machine-readable cataloging) records for the book directly from the book’s website. Print copies are produced in short offset runs so that the minimum print-run requirements for funding are met. The press will often overrun covers on the initial print run so that subsequent print runs, should they be necessary, can be done on a POD basis. People wishing to purchase a printed copy of the book are able to do so by linking through from the AUP site to UBC Press’s site, where they can place their order. The press also produces value-added e-books (enhanced PDFs and epub files), which are mostly sold to libraries in bundles through the various aggregators that AUP works with. AU Press also produces and distributes podcasts and interviews with authors to accompany their OA books.

Marketing of AUP books occurs in the traditional manner. UBC Press takes on some of the academic course marketing, while trade marketing happens in house at AUP. Marketing campaigns are based on the print books only, and don’t reference the OA availability of the title. Kathy Killoh, Journals and Digital Coordinator at AUP, notes that while marketing campaigns for the book titles do not advertise the OA versions in order to protect print sales, marketing for the press itself does publicize the OA model.

So far, Hildebrandt says, the results have been encouraging. Where he initially did have to do some “selling” of OA to prospective authors, he now finds that authors are seeking him out because they want their work to be published as open access. “Authors are saying that they would rather have their material read,” says Hildebrandt. He notes that this may be due partially to the low royalties that most authors expect to receive on their books, but also that what is important to the scholars he talks to is that their work gets out to a reading public. Additionally, OA can result in increased citations of an author’s scholarship, which are in turn interpreted by deans and tenure committees as evidence of the importance of the work to the scholarly community. While he didn’t release any specific sales figures, AUP’s director says that the anecdotal evidence he has seems to show that print-book sales are remaining fairly solid, especially for trade and quasi-trade titles. Librarians are continuing to order print versions for their collections, even though the e-books are readily available for download on the AUP site. There is also evidence that course adoptions of AUP titles continue to sell print books, even when students are aware that free versions are available online. Since Athabasca UP has offered open access to its titles since its inception, it is impossible to compare how the titles might have fared in the commercial market in a print-only format. That said, it is Hildebrandt’s opinion that OA seems to be driving sales rather than taking away from them. “Print and digital seem to be surviving in a robust way, maybe for different reasons,” he says. “No one would have predicted that print would survive as robustly as it has.”[128]

Even with his positive experience of OA, however, Hildebrandt cautions against the notion that OA scholarly publishing is a free-for-all that can be undertaken by anyone anywhere with access to a computer and the internet. Publishers add significant expertise to the publishing process and it would be a shame to lose that expertise. At a recent OA conference he attended in Sweden, Hildebrandt noted that a number of European universities had allocated publishing functions to their libraries. But librarians operate from a different mandate than publishers. Their goal is often to get as much information out to researchers as possible, with the quality of that information being a lower priority. Scholarly publishers, by contrast, are concerned with getting the best information possible out to researchers and, in order to do that, they have established procedures and cultivated the necessary skill to ensure the quality of the books they produce. To demonstrate his point, Hildebrandt recounted an incident that occurred at the conference when a librarian at one of these library-publisher institutions was asked if he had any expertise in the peer review of scholarly works, to which the librarian had to admit he did not. In Hildebrandt’s view, open access is important to lower the barriers to knowledge, but not at any cost. There needs to be a hybrid model between the one showcased at the Swedish conference and the commercial one used by most university presses today. Scholarly publishing needs to make the best of both worlds by saving the expertise while also making research accessible.

Athabasca University Press’s future plans, like that of other presses, will undoubtedly depend on the directions that the economy, policy, and technology take, but Hildebrandt foresees a possible expansion of the press’s website publishing arm. Currently, the press has two website publications online (The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia, available at, and AURORA: Interviews with Leading Thinkers and Writers, available at, and one more in the pipes. The AUP imprint is given to these sites after they have passed a review process that is similar to a journal assessment. While the site’s authors are free to add and modify content, an editorial board monitors the content. The ultimate goal of these projects, which do not currently have a built-in revenue stream attached to them, is to tackle the problem of knowledge integrity on the internet.

The press is also involved with John Willinsky’s Public Knowledge Project (PKP). A user of the PKP’s Open Journal Software (OJS), AUP is currently serving as the workflow model for monograph publishing in the PKP’s latest project, Open Monograph Press (OMP), after approaching PKP with their desire to have an OJS-like system that addressed the specific needs of book publishers. Currently still in the development stage, the first release of OMP is not going to be e-book publishing software. Rather, it will facilitate the production of a ready-to-publish file. Killoh anticipates that a future release will be actual online publishing software that will incorporate an incubation stage, a sort of informal interactive peer-review arena, where authors can get feedback from colleagues on their manuscripts before submitting them for publication. More information on the Open Monograph Press is available on the PKP website at

The press will also likely move towards electronic-only OA titles in the future— that is, titles that will be published only digitally, using a funding model in which the required subvention may be less than that necessary to publish a printed edition. When asked about whether the press had discussed different funding models for such titles with major funding bodies, such as the ASPP, Hildebrandt said he had not, but that he could envision differential subsidy figures, based on whether a book was printed or distributed online only. Author-pays models, such as the ones being used by commercial journal publishers, may be in the cards, but as yet, AUP has no formal policy on future funding. “We’re going to have to be creative about funding,” says Hildebrandt. As the first university press on the block to go fully OA, he no doubt will, and his creativity may provide models for other university presses wishing to travel the same road.

3.2 Open Access and Other University Presses

While Athabasca University Press may be the first Canadian press to embrace the uncharted territory of OA, other Canadian university presses are decidedly more cautious. Not all presses responded to my request for information on their experiences with open access, but of those who did, only two reported that they had published any OA titles. The University of Alberta Press (UAP) worked with Athabasca UP to publish two OA books. In this arrangement, UAP published the print version, while AUP published the OA version online. Linda Cameron, the director of UAP, reported that while she was unaware of the number of times those titles were downloaded from the AUP site, “the sales of the print editions seem to be as expected, neither higher nor lower than we would have forecasted.”[129] Wilfrid Laurier UP (WLUP), for its part, has published approximately fifteen titles in OA form. All of these have been published in partnership with other organizations. In one case, the press worked with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), which makes the books freely available on its website a year after publication. Brian Henderson, WLUP’s director, says that sales of those books “are not great, in part because CIGI buys back 300 copies from us and hands them out for free too.”[130] Henderson notes that despite lacklustre sales, the arrangement with CIGI ensures that the press still makes a profit on the book. The last two books in the international governance series have been published in partnership with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), which releases the books for free upon publication. Henderson acknowledges that it is still “early days” with respect to these two books, but “for the series as a whole we can say there has been no positive effect.”[131] Similarly, UBC Press has made titles in its Legal Dimensions series, published in association with the Law Commission of Canada, available for free on its website. No data is currently available on whether OA has had an impact on the sales of the print versions of these works. It is not insignificant that two out out of three of these presses have chosen to offer OA on books that have been published in partnership with other institutions. While the mandates of the institutional partners may have dictated that the books be offered for free, the contribution of institutional subsidies to the production of these titles offset at least some of the risk of OA to the publisher.

The University of Calgary Press has indicated that they are on their way to OA, with plans to move to an OA model in the next two years. To facilitate this, they are reworking author contracts to permit OA distribution, and are asking authors to sign a Creative Commons licence. Donna Livingstone, the press’s director, foresees that OA titles will likely be simple PDFs, while e-books, which would be sold to libraries, would include “library-attractive features,” such as MARC records. While the press doesn’t have any first-hand evidence to go on, it expects that sales of both print and e-books will be negatively affected by the release of titles on an OA basis. For Livingstone, as for Hildebrandt, the only way to make OA work is to “change our paradigm and the way we measure our success. Scholarly research shouldn’t be measured by sales – it should be measured by the reach and impact we make.”[132] Perhaps to that end, one of the initiatives that the press is eager to take on is the open-access release of their African studies series, which will make that research freely available in the countries where it is most relevant. The University of Calgary Press, unlike other ACUP presses, is part of the library at the university, and from Livingstone’s perspective, scholarly publishing is shifting towards becoming the more broad “scholarly communication,” in which digitization and institutional repositories are considered forms of publishing as much as the traditional print book is. The U of C Press is encouraged in its OA goals, especially once it has found that several young authors have expressed an interest in publishing with the press because of its openness to open access.

Publishers who have not yet released any books in OA report that they rely on sales of printed monographs to recover the full costs of publication and to contribute to overhead. Some indicated that unless there was additional funding made available, they would not be attempting OA. One press director indicated that there was no demand for OA from his constituency, while another indicated that he had not yet had the time to assess the possible impacts of OA on his press’s operations. The point was also made that, unlike journals, most monographs are only starting to find their markets after a year, so a year-long embargo period, the period frequently cited in OA journal literature, is insufficient time for monograph publishers to retain their necessary sales revenues. In addition, one publisher noted that their authors still prefer printed books, which are still seen as more valuable to tenure committees, although this may change as ebooks become more accepted in the general marketplace.

In many ways, the current situation in Canada with respect to open access is a bit of waiting game, as stakeholders watch to see what new developments – in technology, funding, university governance, advocacy, etc. – take place. What most can now agree on, however, is that open access isn’t going to go away. It may have found an initial broad audience as a result of the serials pricing crisis in libraries, but it now finds supporters in areas quite unconcerned with the cost of medical journal subscriptions in a university library. OA advocates support it for many different reasons, including facilitating access to knowledge to underdeveloped nations; the belief that knowledge should always be free; and the conviction that if taxpayers fund research and publishing, then they should have access to it at no cost. In the face of this advocacy, those who work in the knowledge-dissemination business have concerns about the long-term financial viability of OA models, and wonder what the effects of OA in scholarly publishing will be on both the publishers themselves, and the type of scholarship they have become expert at shepherding into the world. While nobody has a crystal ball to determine what shape the industry will ultimately take, Canadian scholarly presses are aware that it is changing, and that the best way to meet those changes is to be informed. The next section examines some business models that might be of use to Canadian university presses as they strive to produce the best scholarship that Canada has to offer, while meeting their fiscal obligations to their host universities, funders, and staff.

4: Possible Business Models: Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the key concerns of publishers in this brave new world of open access is sustainability. How can Canadian scholarly publishers sustain current operations and safeguard the viability of the industry while still addressing the goals of the OA movement? The following models may provide some guidance to presses considering open access for some or all of their titles. Readers are asked to bear in mind that this report is not endorsing any one of these models; individual publishers will determine whether or if any of the scenarios here make sense given the specificities of their unique press. Many of these models are currently being used in some aspect of the scholarly publishing world in either in journals or monographs. Several have been adapted from Ithaka’s 2008 report, “Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources,” a useful document that examines why sustainability is such a salient and problematic issue for online academic resources.[133] Others have been drawn from The Long Tail author Chris Anderson’s most recent book Free: The Future of a Radical Price, which presents a compelling history and theory of product pricing and promotion in the digital age.[134] None of these models needs to stand alone; presses may wish to consider using a combination of models depending on their needs and resources.

4.1 Author-Pays Model

In this model,[135] borrowed from the author-pays model used by several of the STM commercial journal publishers, publishers seek to recoup what is lost from print sales from an author fee that covers this amount. Estimates of the actual amount that this might be vary from $5,000 to $7,000,[136] to upwards of $34,000 (including overhead allocation).[137] Actual figures would need to account for whether or not funders who have traditionally given grant monies for printed titles decide to fund OA titles to the same degree. An “add-on” to this model, which might be considered as an add-on to other models as well, comes from Greco and Wharton, who suggest charging submission fees to prospective authors, both for the initial manuscript assessment and then, once the manuscript is deemed ready for peer review, as a fee to cover the peer-review process.[138]

4.2 Institutional Subsidies to Publishers Model

In this model,[139] presses would negotiate higher institutional subsidies in order to offer titles on an open-access basis. This may be a persuasive model for presses whose host institutions are moving more towards OA in their faculty research and library policies.

4.3 Third-Party Funding Model

Not unlike sponsored series, third-party funding for OA[140] would involve grants from individuals, foundations, or corporations with the specific purpose of making university press titles freely accessible. It is unlikely that any one individual donor could or would wish to fund open access for an entire list, so this model may work best for presses wishing to experiment with OA on specific titles while minimizing their financial risk. Donors might be acknowledged both on the website at the point of download, or/as well as in the printed book.

4.4 Freemium Model

“Freemium” is a term coined by venture capitalist Fred Wilson, and is used to denote a sales model in which at least two versions exist of an online product or service: a premium version and a basic version.[141] Users pay for the premium version, while the basic version is free to whoever wants it. According to Chris Anderson, freemium works because “[a] typical online site follows the 5 Percent Rule – 5 percent of users support all the rest. In the freemium model, that means for every user who pays for the premium version … nineteen others get the basic free version. The reason this works is that the cost of serving the nineteen is close enough to zero to call it nothing.”[142] A freemium model applied to open-access monographs might charge users for a value-added e-book (for example, an enhanced PDF, an epub file, access to additional content, hyperlinked citations, full MARC records, etc.) while offering a basic text version of the book for free.

4.5 Three-Party (aka Two-Sided) Market Model

This is the business model[143] that underlies advertising in the media: “a third party pays to participate in a market created by a free exchange between the first two parties.”[144] For example, radio is free to listeners because advertisers have paid to have those same listeners listen to their ads. At first glance, this model may not make much sense when it comes to scholarly monographs. However, when one considers that major library associations have been vocal advocates of open access for citizens, a case might be made that OA to monographs could be free if libraries are willing to pay to spread their message of OA to book readers. In this case, publishers would charge libraries a fee for online access to the books, while everyone else gets it free. In many ways, this model is simply another version of the institutional subsidies or third-party subsidies model, but it proposes targeting a class of purchasers (libraries) rather than individual entities.

4.6 Hybrid Model

Also known as the mixed bag, this model is the most common model for OA publishing in academic presses at present. The hybrid model involves making titles freely accessible online, with printed copies available on a POD basis. The publisher (or author) retains a non-commercial, no-distribution Creative Commons licence for the work, which will still allow the collection of licensing rights for chapter reprints and excerpts used in other works and in course packs. This is essentially the model used by both Bloomsbury Academic and Rice University Press. Athabasca University Press also uses this model, but does traditional print runs for its books, rather than one-off POD books.

4.7 Embargo Model

This is a common method of offering open access to research in the journal world and involves releasing the research for free on the publisher’s website after a certain amount of time. In the STM journal world, that period is generally between three and twelve months following publication, however, this period may need to be longer for research in the social sciences and humanities.[145] The embargo period, during which time the book – either in print version or e-book version – is sold for a price, allows publishers to recoup their investment costs before the research is released in OA form. It is important to note, however, that the embargo model is frequently criticized for not being true to the spirit of OA, in that it ties up important scholarly research in a way that denies access to certain (economically disadvantaged) groups for what some might see as a crucial period of time.

4.8 Advertising Model

This model is best suited as an add-on to other models because few university presses have the site traffic to generate significant revenues. In this model, advertising may appear on various pages on the publisher’s website, from which OA titles would be downloaded. Alternatively, it might appear in the download itself. Regardless of its placing, advertising alone will never be able to fully fund OA. Nonetheless, as the 2008 Ithaka report notes, advertising “has become by far the most prevalent business model for commercial content providers on the web, and certainly for those that are open to the public.”[146] Publishers register their sites with ad networks like Google’s AdSense which then serve up ads based on keywords and site subject matter.

4.9 Collaborative Model

In this model, the press collaborates with another institution or department – usually the university library – to share resources in a way that would make OA financially feasible. This model often involves budget-sharing between departments and a clear delineation of responsibilities based on each party’s areas of expertise. An example of this model is the University of California Press’s collaboration with the California Digital Library to offer “a suite of open access digital and print publication services to University of California centers, institutes, and departments that produce scholarly books.”[147] This collaboration takes advantage of the California Digital Library’s expertise in OA via their eScholarship platform with the University of California Press’s commercial distribution and marketing experience to make OA of University of California research more accessible (through OA) while still financially viable (through resource sharing).

4.10 SCOAP3 Model

As described earlier, SCOAP3 is a funding project by a consortium of stakeholders in advanced particle physics wherein OA is facilitated by reallocating funds: instead of the consortium buying institutional subscriptions to journals in advanced particle physics it provides the funds to journals to offer their content on an OA basis. While the SCOAP3 model may not be suited to all subjects, there is no reason why it can’t be recast to accommodate scholarly monographs in certain subject areas, or across subject areas. What might happen, for example, if all Canadian and perhaps American research libraries reallocated their monograph monies in Canadian studies to a fund that would instead go towards funding OA of those titles? This is an ambitious, organizational nightmare, perhaps, but not beyond the realm of possibility.

4.11 Complete Restructuring

Not so much a business model as an industry model, complete restructuring would involve the reorganization of the scholarly publishing industry at a much grander scale. As this report has noted, both Europe and the United States have seen discussions – and in the case of the EC, mandates – on open access in scholarly publishing at a governmental level. As yet, such discussion has not emerged on the Canadian stage. A complete restructuring of the Canadian industry to accommodate and encourage open access to scholarly research would require the involvement of the federal government on a policy level.

4.12 Do Nothing

This “model” would entail simply proceeding with business as usual. Publishers would not actively institute any new business models to accommodate open access, but would, of course, respond to overwhelming demand for it, should it arise, when the time comes.

Table 1 (below) summarizes the advantages, disadvantages, and other considerations associated with each of the twelve models listed above. Of course, these models are by no means exhaustive, and none of them will likely emerge as a panacea for OA in scholarly publishing. It is also important to note that virtually none of these models can be implemented by a university press on its own. University presses do not operate in isolation from their partners in scholarly communication. Consequently, funder guidelines must be considered, contacts and relationships with libraries must be made, university administrators must be consulted, scholars must be accommodated, and authors must be attracted. The broad adoption of open access for research published in monograph form is a sea change for the industry, and as a result, will require coordinated effort and goodwill from all parties affected.

Table 1: Model Comparison

Table 1

Table 1.2 Table 1.3 Table 1.4 Table 1.5

5: A Look to the Future

Much of this report has focused on the digital future of the Canadian scholarly publishing industry. Open access, almost by definition, requires that publications are available and distributed online. However, the death knell has not yet sounded for the printed book, and indeed, it may never. The industry is still standing with one foot solidly in the print world because that is what scholars, researchers, librarians, and financial supporters still expect. Until that expectation disappears, Canadian university presses are obliged to continue to provide print options for the scholarship they publish. At the same time, they must keep abreast of developments in the online world of e- books, RSS feeds, social networking, OA, Kindles and other e-readers, iPads, and the Next Big Thing. One thing that the world has learned about the internet and its related technology over the past decade is that nothing stays still for very long. There are always new file formats to conform to, new mark-up languages to learn, new tags to update.

With respect to open access, then, publishers would be well advised to keep an eye on how advancing technology may work to disrupt, challenge, complement, or eradicate the best-laid of business plans. For example, a publisher adopting a freemium model to fund OA may find that the value-added features that made a certain title worth paying for are suddenly obsolete. On the other hand, a publisher who decides to sell e- pub versions of their titles, while offering flat-text files or standard PDFs for free, may find themselves in just the right place should the recently announced iPad and iBook store become as ubiquitous as iPods and iPhones.

Those who would question the value of Canadian university presses in the future would be well advised to remember that academia is its own ecosystem. Eradicating a key part of that ecosystem will have serious consequences on the remaining players – and none of us can know in advance what those consequences might be. University presses were created with the aim of publishing scholarly research whose market was too small to attract commercial publishers. As time went on, they evolved to become important arbiters of quality in academia, and as a result, came to play a key role in the tenure process that is so important to professional scholars. To continue their mandate of broad dissemination of research, university presses developed expertise in production, design, and marketing. The scholarship that found its home with UPs could be assured not only of the highest editorial quality, but also of a finished product comparable to that produced by trade and commercial publishers that finds its way to the widest audience possible. To dispense with university presses would mean losing all of this hard-won expertise, only to have to replace it from scratch in the hands of librarians, academics, or whatever new intermediary rises up. Reinventing the wheel has never been a successful strategy. A much better one has always been to build on what has come before, through careful and considered strategies that retain the best of what has come before.

How scholarly monographs will be produced, read, and purchased in the future will probably always be unclear. What we can be assured of is that Canadian university presses will continue to produce important high-quality publications that advance and enhance scholarly research, and to do it in a way that ensures that this vital activity will survive for many years to come.

5.1 Conclusion

Canadian university presses are not uniform entities. Like the books they publish, each has its own unique blend of ideology, goals, resources, infrastructure, and personality. This paper provides a common starting point from which further discussion can emerge. It has not resolved the problem of how best to offer open access for scholarly publishers, but its background to the issue identifies key areas for future discussion. The sustainability of university presses in an open access world has certainly emerged as one of these, as has the necessity of collaborating with other stakeholders in the scholarly communication process, such as libraries, university administration, faculty members, researchers, and funders. Open access affects all of these entities so it is incumbent upon them to acknowledge that the actions of each with respect to OA affects all the others. Donna Livingstone, the director of the University of Calgary Press, has said: “I don’t believe that scholarly presses can survive in isolation.”[148] If she is right, then the time has come to work together to facilitate open access to university-press-published works.




1 OA advocates have long been pressing for freer access to publicly sponsored research. RETURN

2 See Peter Suber’s “Timeline of the Open Access Movement,” available at Accessed 27 July 2010. RETURN

3 See Cummings et al. 1992. RETURN

4 See Frazier 2001. RETURN

5 See Nabe 2001. RETURN

6 Open access as a concept has a longer history than this. As John Willinsky notes, OA emerged 
informally in the early 1990s, with the launching of physicist Paul Ginsparg’s pre-print service (now known as Arguably, OA had its technological start as early as the 1980s with the release of free, open source software. See Willinsky 2005 and “The stratified economics of open access” 2009. However, as Suber has noted, the ideological history of OA can be traced back to the 1960s. See See Peter Suber’s “Timeline of the Open Access Movement,” available at . Accessed 27 July 2010. RETURN

7 See the Budapest Open Access Initiative, available online at Accessed 14 September 2009. RETURN

8 See the text of the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Available online at Accessed 14 September 2009. RETURN

9 Ibid. RETURN

10 Ibid. RETURN

11 See “The Effect of Open Access and Downloads (‘Hits’) on Citation Impact: A Bibliography of Studies.” Available at . Accessed 11 August 2010. RETURN

12 See for more information on HINARI. RETURN

13 See Willinsky 2005. RETURN

14 See Houghton et al. 2009. RETURN

15 See Taylor, Russell, and Mabe 2009. RETURN

16 See AAUP 2007. RETURN

17 Ibid. RETURN

18 Ibid. RETURN

19 Author communication with Canadian university press directors, particularly R. Peter Milroy (UBC Press), Linda Cameron (University of Alberta Press), John Yates (University of Toronto Press), and Philip Cercone (McGill-Queen’s University Press). RETURN

20 Creative Commons. Available at Accessed 7 November 2009. RETURN

21 See the text of the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Available online at Accessed 14 September 2009. RETURN

22 OA article-processing fees are available on each publisher’s webpage. For more information on OA options available at BioMed Central, Springer, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Taylor and Francis, Sage, and Oxford Journals, see,,,,,, and All accessed 8 November 2009. Additionally, all publishers make concessions for research funded by the National Institutes of Heath (NIH) which requires that any researchers they support must submit an “electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication, to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.” See “NIH Public Access Policy Details,” available at Accessed 6 October 2010. RETURN

23 Richardson,cited in Willinsky,“The stratified economics of open access” 2009. RETURN

24 While traditional scholarly book publishers will likely be caught between the world of the codex and the e-book for some time to come, there is evidence that a tipping point has been reached that is forcing university presses to adjust their business models. At an April 2010 meeting of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), Steve Maikowski, Director of NYU Press and a founding leader of a UP consortium designed to sell e-book collections to academic libraries, reported that sales of university press print titles to academic libraries were rapidly declining, noting that “university presses [were] holding onto an outmoded print monograph publishing model” (See “A University Press Ebook Consortium,” presented at the ARL Membership Meeting, 30 April 2010. Available at Accessed 2 October 2010). The goal of Maikowski’s consortium is to establish a financially stable and viable means by which UPs (at least those who are members of the American Association of University Presses) can bring their books to academic libraries in an electronic format. The consortium, apparently borrowing from journal dissemination models, such as JSTOR, aims to provide a standard platform for e-book monographs that will be built specifically for academic libraries. The platform will offer both front- and backlist titles from AAUP member presses for both purchase and subscription, and titles will be available to libraries immediately upon publication. While the consortium venture signals a sea change in how university presses are approaching e-book sales, it does nothing to clarify how UPs will address the open-access issue. If anything, the new energy – and funds – invested in bringing this model to market make delivering open access to university-press published e-books an even riskier proposal, since providing OA threatens to cannibalize this newly profitable e-book market. RETURN

25 Berniusetal.2009 RETURN

26 See Willinsky, “The stratified economics of open access” 2009; Bernius et al. 2009; Houghton et al. 2009; and Harnad et al. 2008, among others. RETURN

27 In Canada, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, a major funder of scholarly publishing through its Aid to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP), requires that any works receiving support must be peer reviewed, either by the sponsoring publisher or by the ASPP itself. See the ASPP’s Guidelines, Eligibility Criteria, and Procedure document, available at Accessed 3 January 2011. RETURN

28 Conley and Wooders 2009, 75. RETURN

29 Additionally, the current monograph publishing model devotes significant attention to the presentation of scholarly material, through both graphic design and typesetting, as well as careful copyediting and proofreading, that contributes immeasurably to the ultimate readability and accessibility of the final document. These costs are over and above those attributed to peer review. RETURN

30 Waltham 2010 reports that in 2007, only 5.5 percent of the total revenues of a sample of eight HSS journal revenues were attributable to reprints, royalties, or back copies. In 2005, this figure was only 3 percent. By contrast, figures available from the AAUP for 2002 (the most recent data available) show that sales to trade and course markets accounted for 48.1 percent of total operating revenues. (See “Some University Press Facts,” available at . Accessed 2 October 2010.) RETURN

31 Greco and Wharton 2008. RETURN

32 See Canada Periodical Fund, available at Accessed 4 October 2010. RETURN

33 “International”inthispaperwillbelimitedtoUSandEurope,inpartbecausethescholarly communication systems in these regions are very close to our own, and in part because of the difficulty of getting detailed information on OA and scholarly communications from other parts of world due to the author’s language limitations. RETURN

34 See Suber’s Timeline of the Open Access Movement, available at Accessed 16 January 2010. RETURN

35 ForathoroughhistoryofOAdevelopmentsintheUSandinternationally,seePeterSuber’s nearly exhaustive blog on the subject, Open Access News, at For Suber’s fulsome writings on OA, see For a compendium of OA facts, see For the Open Access Tracking Project, a news alert service on OA, see RETURN

36 See Johnson 2004. RETURN

37 “Final NIH Statement on Sharing Research Data,” available at Accessed 17 January 2010. RETURN

38 See “NIH Public Access Policy Details,” available at Accessed 17 January 2010. Access to these articles prior to the twelve-month deadline is usually on a pay-access basis. RETURN

39 PLoS Mission and Goals, available at Accessed 17 January 2010. RETURN

40 “Science Publishing – Beginning of a Revolution,” available at Accessed 17 January 2010. RETURN

41 See “Harvard Goes Open Access” available at Accessed 17 January 2010. RETURN

42 See “Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity,” available at Accessed 6 October 2010. RETURN

43 University of Alberta Press, Athabasca University Press, University of British Columbia Press, University of Calgary Press, McGill-Queens University Press, University of Ottawa Press, University of Toronto Press, and Wilfrid Laurier University Press.

44 See AAUP Statement on Open Access, available at Accessed 16 January 2010. RETURN

45 SeeJensen,“MissionPossible:Givingitawaywhilemakingitpay,”availableat Accessed 17 January 2010. RETURN

46 These are: Ohio State University Press, University of Pittsburgh Press, Harvard University Press, Utah State University Press, Columbia University Press, Rice University Press, Yale University Press, MIT Press, University of California Press, Pennsylvania State University Press, University of Michigan Press, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Computers and Composition Digital Press, Miami University Press, University of Tennessee, Georgetown University. RETURN

47 See, accessed 12 January 2010. RETURN

48 Brown, Griffiths, and Rascoff 2007, 3. RETURN

49 Ibid., 32. RETURN

50 Ibid., 30. RETURN

51 Ibid., 5. RETURN

52 Ibid.,17. RETURN

53 Ibid.,19. RETURN

54 See “Google Checks Out Library Books,” available at Accessed 17 January 2010. RETURN

55 Letter available on the AAUP website at Accessed 17 January 2010. RETURN

56 See 17 January 2010. RETURN

57 In November 2009, the settlement agreement was amended to address concerns about “orphan” books (books with unknown rights holders but which are still in copyright) and stipulated that the BRR was required to search for rights holders who had not been identified and to hold revenue for them for at least ten years, at which point the BRR could ask the court for permission to distribute those funds to nonprofits benefiting rights holders and the reading public. The amendment further addressed the issue of international authors whose works might be included in the digitization project, specifying that the settlement applied only to books registered with the US copyright office or which were published in Canada, the UK, or Australia. RETURN

58 See Johnson 2004. RETURN

59 CongressionalResearchServiceSummaryofH.R.801:FairCopyrightinResearchWorksAct. Available at Accessed 4 October 2010. RETURN

60 See Peter Suber’s Worst of 2008, available at Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

61 See, accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

62 See the Library of Congress’s Bill and Summary Status at bin/bdquery/z?d111:www.R.801:. Accessed 3 January 2011. As of 30 December 2010,, a public research civic project devoted to tracking Congressional activities in the US, reports that H.R.801 “is in the first step in the legislative process. Introduced bills and resolutions first go to committees that deliberate, investigate, and revise them before they go to general debate. The majority of bills and resolutions never make it out of committee.” See “H.R.801: Fair Copyright in Research Works Act” information page, available at Accessed 3 January 2011. RETURN

63 See Scholarly Publishing Roundtable 2010,i. RETURN

64 Ibid., ii. RETURN

65 Willinsky,“Toward the Design of Open Monograph Press” 2009. RETURN

66 See “The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities,” available at Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

67 See “Commission study addresses Europe’s scientific publication system,” available at Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

68 Ibid. RETURN

69 See “ERC Scientific Counsel Statement on Open Access, December 2006”, available at Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

70 See “ERC Scientific Council Guidelines for Open Access, 17 December 2007”, available at Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

71 Ibid., 5. RETURN

72 Ibid.,6. RETURN

73 Availableat access-handbook_en.pdf. Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

74 See“OpenAccessPilotinFP7,”availableat society/index.cfm?fuseaction=public.topic&id=1680. Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

75 See “UK PubMed Central: An International Initiative,” available at localhtml/about.html. Accessed 21 January 2010. RETURN

76 SeeOpenDOARlistingsforEurope,availableat Accessed 21 January 2010. RETURN

77 See “About SCOAP3,” available at Accessed 21 January 2010. RETURN

78 European Commission 2008, p. 120. It should be noted, however, that the SCOAP3 model may be limited to certain kinds of publishing. Particle physics, for example, is a field where vary few journals exist, with these journals being priced at the high end of the spectrum. RETURN

79 OECD2005,p.14.Available at RETURN

80 Houghton et al. 2009, xxiv – xxv. RETURN

81 Ashling, “Report examines costs of OA publishing” 2009, 22. RETURN

82 Ibid. RETURN

83 See the text of the joint statement, available at Accessed 29 September 2009. RETURN

84 The response of the UK publishers to the JISC report bears some striking resemblances to a scenario that Clay Shirky has described in his essay, “The Collapse of Complex Business Models.” Building on Joseph Tainter’s theory on the collapse of complex societies, Shirky posits that, in the online economy, the structural complexity of many of today’s business models has outlived its usefulness. In many industries, complexity arose as a means of enabling companies to deliver high quality services to large numbers of people. In the online economy, however, the definitions of what constitutes “quality” as well as the types of services for which consumers are willing to pay have changed. As a result, complexity becomes a liability rather than an advantage. See Shirky 2010. RETURN

85 See OAPEN homepage, available at Accessed 21 January 2010. RETURN

86 De Vries 2007, 199. RETURN

87 Ibid., p. 200. RETURN

88 Ibid. RETURN

89 See De Vries 2007. RETURN

90 See “Bloomsbury Publishing Launches Academic Imprint,” available at Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

91 See Accessed 20 January 2010. RETURN

92 See Bloomsbury Academic’s public beta site at Accessed 4 October 2010. RETURN

93 Pinter 2008, 203. RETURN

94 Ibid., 206. RETURN

95 De Vries 2007, 197. RETURN

96 Pinter 2008, 206. RETURN

97 Based on searches of Ulrich’s Periodicals Index, which revealed 1437 scholarly/academic journals originating in Canada, and 19,548 originating in the United States (as of January 2010). RETURN

98 As a point of comparison, as of 25 January 2010, a search of reveals 51 open archives in Canada, 366 in the US, and 753 in Europe (of which 168 originate in the UK). RETURN

99 See, accessed 22 January 2010. RETURN

100 See “About Synergies,” available at Accessed 23 January 2010. RETURN

101 See “CFI Invests $25 Million in the Social Sciences and Humanities,” available at Accessed 6 October 2010. CFI funds were also a major form of support for the é project. RETURN

102 See the “Publishers” page, available at Accessed 23 January 2010. RETURN

103 See Accessed 23 January 2010. RETURN

104 See “CIHR Policy on Access to Research Outputs,” available at http://www.cihr- Accessed 23 January 2010. RETURN

105 According to ROARMAP, the Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies, only nine research funders in Canada have an OA mandate for publications resulting from research they fund. These are: CIHR, the National Research Council, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (proposed mandate), the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, les Fonds de la recherche en santé Québec, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. RETURN

106 See “University of Ottawa Adopts Commitment to Open Access” by Michael Geist, available at Accessed 5 October 2010. RETURN

107 See “Removing Barriers: Open Access Strategy at the SFU Library January 2010.” Available at Accessed 5 October 2010. RETURN

108 See “Simon Fraser University Takes Steps to Support Open Access Publishing,” available at support-open-access-publishing. Accessed October 6 2010. RETURN

109 See “Open Access Research Policy,” available at Accessed 23 January 2010. RETURN

110 See “Open Access Authors Fund,” available at Accessed 6 October 2010. RETURN

111 CARL, “Brief to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council: Open Access” 2005. RETURN

112 See “Canadian Library Association / Association Canadienne des bibliothèques Position Statement on Open Access for Canadian Libraries,” available at Display.cfm&ContentID=5306. Accessed 24 January 2010. RETURN

113 Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. “An Act to Amend the Copyright Act.” Bill C-32, 40th Parliament, 3rd Session, 2010. Available online at . Accessed 6 October 2010. RETURN

114 CARL, “Towards an Integrated Knowledge Ecosystem: A Canadian Research Strategy” 2005, 11. RETURN

115 In a 2005 letter to Google, Peter Givler of the AAUP outlined how American university presses stay afloat: “Although our members are nonprofits and many of them receive an operating subsidy from their parent institutions, they still have payrolls to meet and bills to pay, and in 2003, the most recent year for which we have such data, total university support only averaged about 13% of their operating income. Virtually all the rest of the money required to cover costs and stay in business must come from the sale and licensing of their publications” (Givler 2005, 2). RETURN

116 Available at Accessed 26 January 2010. RETURN

117 Author’s correspondence with Kel Morin-Parsons, 29 October 2009. RETURN

118 Author’s correspondence with J. Craig McNaughton, 11 December 2009. RETURN

119 Ibid. RETURN

120 Author’s correspondence with Elizabeth Eve, 3 February 2010. RETURN

121 At the time of writing, a query is pending with the Department of Canadian Heritage on whether it has any future plans to incorporate OA into its funding structures. RETURN

122 Brown, Griffiths, and Rascoff 2007, 32. RETURN

123 Jaschik 2007. RETURN

124 See Accessed 26 January 2010. RETURN

125 Jaschik 2010. It is worth noting that not everyone agrees with the provost’s assessment of the factors responsible for RUP’s demise. Christopher Kelty, a RUP board member and former employee, categorically refutes the provost’s claims in a blog post on the subject, blaming instead “bad university administration.” See “How Not to Run a University Press (or How Sausage is Made),” available at university-press-or-how-sausage-is-made/ (accessed February 10, 2011). RETURN

126 Web 2.0, a term used to describe the “second generation” of the internet, is a somewhat indefinite term used to describe a set of technological, design, and user-based features that have emerged since the web became common in our everyday lives. In general, it refers to the use of the internet as a platform upon which other interactive applications are built. See “What is Web 2.0,” available at Accessed 26 January 2010. RETURN

127 Walter Hildebrandt, Director of Athabasca University Press, in conversation with author. RETURN

128 There is some evidence from the experience of the National Academies Press in the US that suggests that this has also been that press’s experience. A 2003 study funded by the Mellon Foundation found that even when a free PDF was available, more than half of the customers still opted to pay for the printed book (Kline Pope and Kannan 2003). RETURN

129 Email correspondence with Linda Cameron, 18 January 2010. RETURN

130 Email correspondence with Brian Henderson, 22 January 2010. RETURN

131 Ibid. RETURN

132 Email correspondence with Donna Livingstone, 27 January 2010. RETURN

133 Available for download at Accessed 25 October 2009. RETURN

134 Anderson 2009. RETURN

135 Adapted from Guthrie, Griffiths, and Maron 2008, 33-34. RETURN

136 Unverified ballpark estimates given by Walter Hildebrandt in conversation, 26 January 2010. RETURN

137 Estimate based on UBC Press per title costs for the fiscal year 2007/2008. RETURN

138 Greco and Wharton 2008. RETURN

139 Adapted from Guthrie, Griffiths, and Maron 2008, 36-37. RETURN

140 Adapted from Guthrie, Griffiths, and Maron 2008, 38-39. RETURN

141 Adapted from Anderson 2009. RETURN

142 Anderson 2009, 27. RETURN

143 Adapted from Anderson 2009. RETURN

144 Ibid., 24. RETURN

145 See Scholarly Publishing Roundtable 2010, 12. RETURN

146 Guthrie, Griffiths, and Maron 2008, 40. RETURN

147 See “New Publishing Opportunity at the University of California” Press Release, available at Accessed 27 January 2010. RETURN

148 Email correspondence with Donna Livingstone, 27 January 2010. RETURN


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