With its latest venture, the University of Michigan Press is exploring the cutting edge, both in terms of the content it publishes and how it publishes. Under a new collaborative program between the press, the library, and the Scholarly Publishing Office, the UM Press's new Digital Culture imprint will both sell books and offer the full-text of those books freely on its Digital Culture Books website....
As groundbreaking as some of the ideas, however, is the Press's decision to practice what many of its authors now preach, using the Digital Culture imprint to develop an "open and participatory publishing model" that seeks to "build a community" around its content. "Our goal is to give each project a robust online and print presence and to use the effort not only to introduce scholars to a range of publishing choices but also to collect data about how consumption habits vary on the basis of genre, age, discipline," MacKeen explained. "The data will help us to understand more about the economics of digital publishing, and will also, we think, offset any potential economic risks by developing the venture as a research opportunity." ...
Pochoda stressed that there is "more than a business model at stake," however, noting that the collaborative nature of the Digital Culture imprint represents the press' chance "to support open access in principle and practice while still acknowledging the obligation to survive as a business operation." Nevertheless, he has reason to believe the press will sell some books. The National Academy Press, for example, offers its book content online, Pochoda notes, and its data suggests a corresponding jump in sales.
Peter Suber at 1/12/2007 11:34:00 PM.
The open access movement:
Putting peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature
on the internet. Making it available free of charge and
free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Removing the barriers to serious research.