“Why is it important for the Press to be open access, and how do you ensure your business model is sustainable?
Open access has always been important to us because researchers want their work to be read, shared and used, and open access is the best way to maximise this.
From the beginning we ensured all our journals were open access, but our books were originally print only. We soon realised, though, that it made sense for us to move to an entirely open access model, particularly when considering the increasing importance of open access in REF assessments. Making our platform open access gave researchers a really important space to publish their open access monographs and articles, without the prohibitively high costs of many gold open access options from commercial publishers.
As for sustainability, we operate a two-prong business model: we support researchers to access available funding by providing information and finance breakdowns for research bids, and if researchers can’t access funding, we have a centrally-funded production budget to support several books a year.
What is your experience working on open access initiatives in a university environment?
My background before working at the Press was in commercial publishing, and then marketing and communication within Research and Enterprise at the University of Huddersfield. It’s just me working at the Press, currently, and I do that three days a week. In January 2019 we are appointing a student assistant to get involved with journal submissions and marketing activities.
We dedicate a lot of time to individual projects here, which is really important. We offer writing sessions and publishing support sessions for postgraduates, and career support. So the work is intensive; big publishers don’t do it because it’s not scalable within their model, but it works amazingly well for us and our scholarly community.
When I started in this position a few years ago, university staff were still finding out about open access publishing, but with the open access team within the library, and the increased activities of the Press, there’s now lots of knowledge about it in all parts of the university, which is great….”