Worried About the Future of the Monograph? So Are Publishers – The Chronicle of Higher Education

From your perspective as the AUP’s new president, what are the most important issues facing scholarly publishers?

Crewe: Our biggest challenge remains the low sales of scholarly monographs, such as revised dissertations or scholarly books with a narrow focus in a small field. Libraries share copies, and individuals don’t purchase the new books in their fields as they did 20 years ago.

We want to publish these books. They are the building blocks of our own reputation and they are often groundbreaking, field-changing works. We’re looking for publishing grants to support them, and we try each season to publish enough profitable books to cover the losses on monographs.

But today’s model isn’t sustainable. There are a number of experiments under way to figure out how to publish specialized monographs in a freely available open-access format….”

TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)

TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) advances the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members through open access editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs.

Scholars face growing difficulty in finding publishers for their monographs as academic library budgets shrink and demand for monographs falls. To collaboratively address this problem, the Association of American Universities (AAU)Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) launched this initiative in spring 2017. 

In each of the first five years, colleges and universities participating in TOME are providing at least three baseline publishing grants of $15,000 to support the publication of open access monographs. Publishers accepting these grants—for eligible books that have been approved through the usual editorial and peer-review processes—are making high-quality, platform-agnostic, digital editions freely available. These TOME-supported monographs will make new research freely available online, increasing the presence of humanities and social science scholarship on the web and opening up knowledge to more readers….”

TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)

“TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) advances the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members through open access editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs.

Scholars face growing difficulty in finding publishers for their monographs as academic library budgets shrink and demand for monographs falls. To collaboratively address this problem, the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) launched this initiative in spring 2017. 

In each of the first five years, colleges and universities participating in TOME are providing at least three baseline publishing grants of $15,000 to support the publication of open access monographs. Publishers accepting these grants—for eligible books that have been approved through the usual editorial and peer-review processes—are making high-quality, platform-agnostic, digital editions freely available. These TOME-supported monographs will make new research freely available online, increasing the presence of humanities and social science scholarship on the web and opening up knowledge to more readers….”

Facing Censorship: A Statement of Guiding Principles

“As scholarly publishers we believe in the free exchange of ideas. As university presses, we are especially vigilant defenders of academic freedom because it is fundamental to the work we do. In this, we stand with our universities, our authors, the greater scholarly community, and with each other against all restrictions imposed on the dissemination of our work….

Because of the increasingly digital nature of scholarly communications, requests to restrict access to specific elements of a larger digital collection within a given market seem likely to become a more common form of attempts at government censorship. AUPresses encourages university presses generally to withhold their consent to any such request, whether made directly or via a third-party aggregator, even if doing so results in the unavailability of the entire digital collection within that market….”