Major expansion of Cambridge open access monographs programme

Positive response to pilot sees major expansion of Cambridge open access monographs programme, Flip it Open.

More than 100 academic monographs are to be included in an expanded open access scheme from Cambridge University Press.

They will be part of the publisher’s Flip it Open programme, which turns conventional publishing models on their head by making academic monographs that sell the most copies available open access.

Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Cambridge University Press, said: “Finding new ways to publish books open access and pioneering new publishing models like Flip it Open are among the many ways we are working to realise the potential of an Open future, with increased reach for and access to the research we publish.

“By removing obstacles to publishing and to access, while maintaining the highest standards of integrity and transparency, we are also fulfilling our mission and that of our university.”

Flip it Open sees selected books published and sold as normal, primarily through library collections for universities. But once titles meet a set amount of revenue, the Press has committed to make them available open access through Cambridge Core, the online home for the Press’s academic content.

This means books without central funding can also be published open access, allowing their authors greater reach and impact without the need to pay open access publishing fees or processing charges.

A pilot was launched in 2021 involving selected classics, politics and history titles. The positive response has led to a decision to extend the pilot to become a wider part of the Press’s publishing programme, covering a further 100 titles across STM and HSS subjects.

Ben Denne, Director of Books Publishing at the Press, said: “Our aim with the pilot was to see if it could create a sustainable model for scaling up open access books publishing. We have been delighted with the positive response our initiative has received, with libraries wanting to contribute and from authors asking how they can add their books to the mix.”

At the same time a book is made freely available online, the Press will also release it as an affordable paperback edition for those who want a physical copy. 

Ben added: “This is a way to put the core open access principles of availability, inclusivity and dissemination into practice in our books publishing – principles that align perfectly with our our own mission and that of our University.

“Libraries will know upfront that they are buying a title that might become open access, and this is our way of asking our customers, mostly institutional libraries, to become actively involved in funding them to flip. Libraries are paying to get the book early, and to fund a wider program that will benefit them, their customers and the wider academic community.”