, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 183-191

Open Access for Scholarly Books?

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Abstract

Over the past two decades, sales of monographs have shrunk by 90 % causing prices to rise dramatically as fewer copies are sold. University libraries struggle to assemble adequate collections, and students and scholars are deprived access, especially in the developing world. Open access can play an important role in ensuring both access to knowledge and encouraging the growth of new markets for scholarly books. This article argues that by facilitating a truly global approach to funding the up-front costs of publishing and open access, there is a sustainable future for the specialist academic ‘long form publication’. Knowledge Unlatched is a new initiative that is creating an international library consortium through which publishers will be able to recover their fixed costs while at the same time reducing prices for libraries.