Jisc launches toolkit to help new university presses to publish open access

Jisc, the not for profit for research and education, is today launching a toolkit that will help new university presses to find sustainable ways to publish open access.

Funder policies surrounding open access have led to a revival in university presses in the UK and overseas. A 2017 report  found that in the past five years, 21 new university presses (NUPs) have become operational and this number may rise to 30 over the next five years.

Graham Stone, subject matter expert on open access monographs at Jisc and co-developer of the toolkit says: “A growing number of universities and academics have set up their own presses in an attempt to take back control and autonomy away from the large commercial publishing houses. Most of these new presses are faced with the challenge of making open access publishing a reality. This toolkit will support new and existing university and library open access publishing ventures as well as those with a hybrid model.”

The new toolkit has its roots in the 2017 Landscape study of New University Presses (NUPs) and academic-led publishing,Changing publishing ecologies. One of the recommendations of that report was to create a best practice toolkit to assist with the planning and establishment of new university and library-led presses publishing open access material.

The new Jisc toolkit was developed with the input from an international editorial advisory board consisting of University Presses from Liverpool, Stockholm, Westminster, White Rose and University College London and other experts in the field. 

Depending on the maturity and size of the press, this toolkit will help existing NUPs as well as those planning to launch or investigate whether to establish a new press, to better understand the following key questions:

  • How to get institutional buy-in, and understand resource and budget requirements in order to justify the start-up of a press
  • How to achieve sustainability and define what it is – e.g., service to researchers and/or growing prestige
  • How to attract and support authors 

The toolkit is structured into eleven main sections and is provided with a CC BY licence so that the content can be shared, re-used and re-purposed. Although the Jisc toolkit is initially aimed at UK institutions, it draws upon international best practice and case studies making the content applicable to a global audience.

Support for individual researchers who wish to understand more about open access for books is available via the OAPEN Open Access Books Toolkit which was developed at the same time but covers slightly issues around open access publishing.

The toolkit will be reviewed regularly, and the editorial advisory board will commission new work in response to changes in the publishing landscape and user feedback. Readers and users are welcomed to send feedback to: graham.stone@jisc.ac.uk.