Business Model for Open-Access Books
14 January 2014
The Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” of Heidelberg University and Heidelberg University Library are collaborating to develop an innovative business model for open-access publication of academic books on the Internet. In the pilot project, the Cluster will publish the English-language book series “Heidelberg Studies in Transculturality,” which is aimed at young researchers, and coordinate the development work for the associated server. The university library will make available and promote the new online publications. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is providing funding for project staff and academic assistants in the amount of 380,000 euros over two years.
“Online publication gives authors the opportunity to use the multimedia technologies of the Internet, for example to embed videos or set up links to other digital sources. In addition, an open-access publication offers unlimited availability of the published content,” explains project co-initiator Dr. Andrea Hacker of the Cluster “Asia and Europe”. The Heidelberg pilot project is designed to ensure that editing of the manuscript is equally as careful as the authors are used to from traditional scientific publishers. The process will include a peer review, a quality check by the publisher of the book series, and thorough copy editing. Eight monographs are planned to be published by 2015. Thematically, the book series focuses on the dynamics of cultural exchange.
All books will be published using the Open Monograph Press publication platform, developed mainly in the US and hosted in Heidelberg by the university library. “The Open Monograph Press system is an open software platform for the professional management of all steps of a publication process,” explains Dr. Martin Nissen of the university library. In addition to calculating production costs and fostering acceptance, the Heidelberg project will help with the development of long-term financing models. External consultants, including experts from Stanford University (USA), will be enlisted to help in this endeavour.
The project is being coordinated by Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels of the Cluster directorate and the director of the university library, Dr. Veit Probst. Open-access experts Dr. Hacker and Dr. Nissen are responsible for the implementation. Once the pilot phase is complete, the publication model will be made available as open access on the Internet.