Berkman Workshop: Open Access Scholarly Books


The Knowledge Unlatched research program got underway in earnest on June 19 when an invited group of publishers, librarians, academics and open access innovators met at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society to discuss the challenge of making scholarly books open access.

The one-day workshop was co-hosted by Knowledge Unlatched and the Berkman Center.  It provided a unique opportunity for senior representatives from libraries, scholarly presses, university administration, research funders and academic thought leaders to exchange frank perspectives on the challenges facing monograph publishing and the role that open access might play in helping to affect positive change in this important area of scholarly communication.

The day was divided into five sessions:

  • OA Mandates and Implications for Books

  • Emerging Business Models for OA Books

  • The Impact of OA on the Monograph Ecosystem

  • Scholarly Publishing and Collective Action

  • Metadata and Metrics to Support OA Monographs

  • In addition to highlighting key areas that should be tackled as part of the Knowledge Unlatched research program, the event provided the KU team with an opportunity to gather feedback on the KU global library consortium model for funding open access monographs and insight into how the model might be refined and improved.

    Developing systems that foster trust and transparency while enabling markets to operate effectively were identified as key areas that Knowledge Unlatched will need to focus on in order to maximize the initiative’s chances of facilitating a sustainable shift to open access for monographs.

    Making information gathered via KU available to authors, research funders and administrators, publishers and libraries and ensuring that KU provides participants with an opportunity to learn more about how open access influences titles, readerships and markets were also identified as important priorities for the project.

    We were delighted to have the opportunity to spend the day with people willing to think strategically about practical challenges associated with trying to effect positive change in the scholarly communication landscape and look forward to taking this agenda forward.

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