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Understanding the Costs of Publishing Monographs

Until now, university press monographs have largely remained on the sidelines as author-side payments have facilitated OA models in journals publishing, particularly in STEM fields. Today, there is real interest in exploring what it would take to create and disseminate high quality digital OA monographs, but the question remains: what would it cost?

This year, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has funded Ithaka S+R to conduct a study of the costs of publishing monographs. Since January, industry expert Kim Schmelzinger and I have been on the road, meeting with press directors and their CFOs and business managers, and speaking with staff involved in all aspects of publishing. These conversations will permit us to provide insight into what it costs presses today to create monographs, from the work done to identify and develop new works, to designing and producing the text, to making sure the work is widely distributed upon publication. We hope that the study, by addressing the full costs of publication, will offer both a glimpse at the work needed to produce high-quality monographs and the hard data needed for presses and others to develop new models to support that work.

Our meetings with presses have been full of discussions of current practices, aimed at uncovering the activities that presses engage in, and that contribute to the quality of the works published.  While learning about the unique nature of each press was a real highlight of this stage of the study, the final study findings—the financial data concerning the cost of publishing—will be presented in aggregated form.

We would like to thank the following presses for their participation in this study:

  • University of Arizona Press
  • Northwestern University Press
  • Baylor University Press
  • University Press of Colorado
  • University of Arkansas Press
  • Rutgers University Press
  • University of Washington Press
  • University of Virginia Press
  • University of Georgia Press
  • Texas A&M University Press
  • The University of Michigan Press
  • University of Minnesota Press
  • University of North Carolina Press
  • University of Nebraska Press
  • Indiana University Press
  • The MIT Press
  • The Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Columbia University Press
  • Yale University Press
  • The University of Chicago Press

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