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Three University Presses join the Open Book Collective

Welcoming the launch of new Supporter Programmes from Leuven University Press, University of London Press, and University of Westminster Press

Published onFeb 05, 2024
Three University Presses join the Open Book Collective

We are excited to announce that the Open Book Collective (OBC) is growing, with three additional presses joining from today. We now have twelve publisher and publishing service provider members, each dedicated to working together with our library supporters to deliver a fairer and more sustainable future for open access book publishing.

The three presses are Leuven University Press, University of London Press, and University of Westminster Press. Each is offering a Supporter Programme which libraries and other organisations can subscribe to immediately, delivering new funds to support long form open scholarship.

We are also pleased to announce the launch of a new University Press package, through which all three publishers can be subscribed to as a group. The annual cost of subscribing to the combined University Press package ranges between £1,700 and £3,500 per year (€1,950-€4,050; $2,175-$4,350), depending on the size/location of the supporting organisation.

The fact that all three of these new members are university presses is highly significant. The OBC was established as a community-led organisation dedicated to supporting small to medium-sized open access publishers of varying kinds. This includes the kind of independent and scholar-led initiatives that we have been working with since our launch in 2023. We are pleased to be able to now also open up our work to publishers directly affiliated with universities. This also demonstrates the value of the model we have developed and its ability to expand the international open access first publishing community.

Each press brings unique specialisms and a range of experience to the OBC.

Leuven University Press has over 50 years of publishing experience in the sector, and has built up a strong book collection in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Another of its revered areas is in the publishing of art and artists' books. This publishing speciality is cultivated through collaborative ventures with international museums and galleries. As a full member of the Association of University Presses and a founding member of the Association of European University Presses, the Press remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing scholarly discourse and collaboration on a global scale. It is a press whose new titles are already majority open access, with plans to grow this proportion with the support of OBC and our supporters.

The mission of the University of London Press is to ‘open up humanities research’. Affiliated with the School of Advanced Study, University of London, it supports the School in advancing the humanities through its publishing programme (including over 750 published books to date), researcher training and its experimentation with open access publishing models. Similar to Leuven University Press, becoming involved in the OBC will enable the University of London Press to further expand its open access publications and support its activity in advocating for both open access and the humanities. This strong commitment to open access has already delivered a radical uplift in its books’ usage, with the press recently announcing that it has achieved nearly a million downloads of its books.

University of Westminster Press has worked as a pioneering digital-first open access publisher since its launch in 2015. All of its books are available to readers on an open access basis. Committed to fostering global public access to scholarly content, University of Westminster Press collaborates closely with authors and editors to disseminate peer-reviewed academic books, policy briefs, and journals across diverse disciplines. Reflecting the University of Westminster's academic strengths, its publications span the social sciences and humanities, science and technology, media arts and design, and includes other subject areas.

In line with our membership criteria, each of these publishers is producing long form peer-reviewed scholarship of the highest quality, as well as sharing our values and commitment to enhancing bibliodiversity through open access publishing. If you are a publisher interested in learning more and joining the OBC to strengthen the community of open access initiatives and access collective funding, feel free to contact our outreach team or apply directly.

The OBC is a registered charity that has already secured support for our initiatives from almost 50 national and university libraries. We encourage more libraries and publishers to join our community and support the pursuit of a more equitable future for open access book publishing, not predicated on a reliance upon book processing charges (BPCs). If you are interested in finding out more about the Open Book Collective, get in touch with us at [email protected]. We would love to hear from you!

Banner Photo by Jonas Jacobsson on Unsplash
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