UMass Libraries Invest in New Publishing Models: Open Access Initiatives Deliver Thousands of New Book Titles to Patrons and the Public

The UMass Amherst Libraries have invested in three open access book publishing programs to bring thousands of new titles to patrons and the public at no cost to them. With the support of institutions like UMass Amherst, MIT Press Direct to Open (D2O) University of Michigan Press Fund to Mission (F2M), and Open Book Publishers will release at least 155 new books in 2022, which will be openly accessible to readers. With these investments, the campus community gains access to an additional 4,900 books published by MIT Press and the University of Michigan Press.

These three programs illustrate how professional and scholarly book publishers are experimenting with different funding models in difficult market conditions.

The University of Michigan Press F2M model is based on shared investment by libraries, academic institutions and research funders to expand inclusive, equitable access to humanities and social science scholarship without financial burden for authors. Its eBooks are published on an open source, community-based platform, Fulcrum, from which students and others can download and use learning materials free of restrictions.

Janice Irvine, professor of sociology, UMass Amherst, whose book “Marginal People in Deviant Places” is forthcoming from Michigan says, “Publishing my book on a digital, open access platform is an exciting opportunity, and the University of Michigan Press has been enormously supportive of this process.”

Jenny Adams, associate professor of English, UMass Amherst, published her book “Medieval Women and Their Objects” with University of Michigan Press in 2016. “Now that it’s out there, more people have read it, more people have cited it, and more people—from high school honors students to my scholarly peers—know my work.”

MIT Press D2O moves professional and scholarly books from a market-based, purchase model, where individuals and libraries buy single eBooks, to a collaborative, library-supported open access model. The UMass Amherst Libraries are among 160 libraries and consortia from around the world who have committed to funding the D2O initiative.

Emily West, associate professor of communication, UMass Amherst, who publishes “Buy Now: How Amazon Branded Convenience and Normalized Monopoly” with D2O next month, endorses the publishing model which opens her work to the general public—including policymakers who regulate monopolies. “‘Buy Now’ will be more accessible to instructors who will be more likely to assign my book knowing students won't have to buy it to read it, explains West. “Being open access makes it even more likely that I will reach these audiences and that my research will inspire and inform the society-wide deliberations about the nature and extent of platform power.”

Open Book Publishers, founded in 2008, is the largest open access book publisher in the United Kingdom. Its 238 academic and textbook titles, including several prizewinners, are available on its open source platform. Without institutional backing, it relies on sales and donations to continue publishing.

The UMass Amherst Libraries’ investment in open access book publishing programs advance the campus’s commitment to open scholarship. MIT Press, University of Michigan Press and Open Book Publishers each align with the guiding principles for the Libraries’ agreements as articulated in the Framework for Provider Agreements. The Libraries are engaged with various funding models to promote open access publishing.