How We Pay for Publishing Page: 3
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How We Pay for Publishing, Page 3
The most dramatic version of (b) is found in a whitepaper by Rebecca Kennison and
Lisa Norberg of KIN Consultants entitled "A Scalable and Sustainable Approach to
Open Access Publishing and Archiving for Humanities and Social Sciences." They
propose that institutions pay into a central fund that is disbursed not only to
publishers, as in SCOAP3, but to partnerships of publishers, scholarly societies, and
libraries. They hope to avoid free-riding institutions through persuasion, without
resorting to an assurance contract.V
How does this all affect university presses and academic
We are beginning to look at the funding of scholarly communication more
holistically, no longer thinking of funding for a library to acquire material and a
subsidy to a university press to produce material as unrelated expenses with
separate justifications. There is increasing acceptance that a university press is a
mission-driven operation that cannot be expected to balance its books at the end of
each fiscal year, which often falls just at the time when an investment in print runs is
needed for the upcoming semester's textbooks. Furthermore, presses are under
pressure to reduce the costs of their publications-costs that harm individual
scholar and library consumers.
Just as library consortia have negotiated over fees with journal publishers, there is
some interest in doing the same for access to monographs. A National Monograph
Strategy Roadmap, by Ben Showers at Jisc, proposes "a license negotiated [...] on
behalf of the UK academic sector for access to digital scholarly monographs."vi While
potentially leading to access for more users in the UK at a lower cost per user, such
moves toward consortia "reinforce the 'big deal'," which "only reinforces the logic of
mergers and acquisitions, further strengthening the position" of publishers.vii In
other words, we'd see cream-skimming and oligopolistic tendencies in monograph
publishing, just as we have with journal publishing.
Still, these developments do not involve fundamental changes in a university press's
business model. Even Knowledge Unlatched and the plan in the AAU/ARL
prospectus, if they gain traction, would simply allow presses to make the
incremental change of treating more of their titles than usual as heavily
The KIN Consultants proposal, on the other hand, would lead to a more dramatic
rethinking of the roles played both by libraries and presses. Instead of small-scale
collaborations in which, as is common practice today, a library offers services to the
university press on campus in order to fill gaps in the press's expertise and
resources, we would see the development of larger-scale efforts that reimagine
production, access, and preservation of scholarly literature. This would break the
university press model of accounting for costs on a per-title basis-a change that
would be quite disruptive to decision-making for allocation of resources at a press
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Hawkins, Kevin S. How We Pay for Publishing, article, November 22, 2014; [Charleston, South Carolina]. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc461693/m1/4/?rotate=90: accessed July 30, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .