November 9, 2022

A COPIM webinar hosted by the National Acquisitions Group

In early 2022 the major research funding body in the UK (UKRI), released a policy statement mandating OA monographs, with an implementation date of January 1st, 2024. This date will see a shift from a hypothetical future for OA books to a concrete policy with a hard deadline. Add to this the forthcoming mandates on OA books from cOAlition S/Plan S in Europe, plus potential implications of the next REF in the UK, and it is clear that there is a pressing need for libraries and academic book publishers to understand how the sector will meet the challenges of implementing these policies.

In this session our speakers outlined the current state-of-play and discussed how we can move to meet these imminent OA mandates. With a mix of presentation(s) and Q&A the audience was invited to discuss what the transition to open access for scholarly books will look like, and to question the challenges and opportunities. Who is at risk of being excluded, on the library and the publishing sides? How do we get from where publishing and libraries are today, to making these policies a workable reality in 2024? And how will all of this be paid for?

The speakers demonstrated how Book Processing Charges (BPCs) worsen inequality by favouring the most wealthy institutions and authors and will then highlight some collective library models that seek to spread the funding of OA books so that no single institution bears a disproportionate cost. Programmes in use today range from the large and well-funded publishers like MIT and their Direct 2 Open, to much smaller publishers like OBP and punctum books. They also highlighted the COPIM project’s Opening the Future model and the Open Book Collective.

With the clock ticking on policies, conversation is urgently needed on the practicalities of making mandates reality. What can libraries do to meet the challenge, and how might supporting programmes like those launched by COPIM ensure that the transition to OA is a sustainable and bibliodiverse one? The transition to OA should not leave smaller and medium-sized presses behind; nor should it rely on paying BPCs, which risks excluding any author without funding. And the transition must also be sustainable for libraries.

This webinar was free and open to everyone as part of NAG’s #WebinarWeek.


Our speakers are co-leads on the COPIM project:

Dr Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy is a specialist in Old English literary studies and cultural studies and is the publisher and founding director of punctum books: spontaneous acts of scholarly combustion. She holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from Virginia Commonwealth University (1992) and a Ph.D. in Medieval Literature and Intellectual History from University of Tennessee (2001). She is the founder of the BABEL Working Group and is co-editor of postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies.

Dr. Rupert Gatti is a co-founder and the third Director of Open Book Publishers. He is a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, where he is a Director of Studies in Economics. His published academic work includes microeconomic analysis of competition in online markets, game theory and search theory. He has held visiting positions at MIT and University of Florence, acted as an Economic Advisor on several EU competition studies, is on the advisory board of a range of Open Access initiatives and is a frequently invited speaker on the OA movement.

with Lucy Barnes (Open Book Publishers).