This year blog tour posts will examine ways that university presses Speak UP or give voice to the scholarship and ideas that shape conversations around the world, using some common interrogatives.
Today’s post is written by Purdue University Press Director Justin Race.
I think a lot about open access. How do publishers tell a story of impact without the proxy metric of sales, which for better and worse has always been our guiding light and benchmark? How can funding be fair, equitable, and sustainable—and where will that funding come from, and will it continue? How do workflows alter, if at all? What are the implications of creative commons licenses? What works, and why, should be made available open?—Immediately? A year from now? Three years from now? Why is this book free and that one isn’t if you’re making a universal plea for the truly democratic availability of all knowledge to all people? If rigidly vetted, high-quality scholarship were more widely available, would we have a more informed citizenry? Would the world be a better place?
Some questions are practical and immediate, some are more theoretical and abstract. Some I can firmly answer, some I’ve got a good hunch about, and others I have no idea. Some I even go back and forth about and will give a different response depending on the mental space I’m in when asked.
I am certain that on average, information that is free is accessed, consumed, and used more than information that costs something. And not just a little more. Studies vary, but they all talk in multiples: twice as much, three times as much, ten times as much. This isn’t nibbling around the edges, this is increasing your readership exponentially. Few of the authors I work with are interested in getting rich. They’re interested in being seen and heard. The only barrier to entry they want to overcome is your curiosity and intrigue, not the amount of money you can pay.
Here at Purdue University Press we’ve grown our last of open access books over the past two years from a couple dozen to over a hundred. We’ve been able to do this because of a multitude of well-intentioned partners and generous support from a multitude of sources, most especially our library. We don’t plan on slowing down. All these questions I have, they’re all about the best answers to “How.” I, and so many of my colleagues, have already emphatically answered the most important question: “Should we?” Learning is not a passing fad to be capitalized upon. It’s an innate human right, which university presses are uniquely positioned to further. And I’m unquestionably proud to call this industry home.