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We are inviting individuals and project teams to submit proposals for experimental, long-form scholarly book projects.

Published onOct 03, 2023

Are you an author seeking to publish your monograph in a non-traditional way? Are you interested in experimental publishing but don’t know which publisher to work with or what platforms and tools to use? Are you a press that keeps getting requests from authors to publish multimodal, versioned, and/or interactive books but your publishing workflows are not set up to support this? Or are you an open source tool or platform provider who wants to creatively contribute to the future of the academic book? We offer support and funding to help realise three experimental book pilot projects. 

We are inviting individuals and project teams to submit proposals for experimental, long-form scholarly book projects.

Download the application template:

and submit via email to Rebekka Kiesewetter at [email protected] 

Key Dates

Submission deadline (for pre-application check): 22 November 2023.

Matchmaking workshop (for applicants in search of project partners): 15 January 2024 (online).

Final submission deadline (for selected pilot projects): 1 February 2024.

Start pilot projects: 1 April 2024.

Complete pilot projects: 1 April 2026.

We are delighted to announce support and funding for three experimental book publishing pilots as part of the Open Book Futures (OBF) project. These pilot projects will be supported by Coventry University and the expertise of OBF’s Experimental Publishing Group (OBF Work Package 6) and will be overseen by the Open Book Collective (OBC).

The call is open to individuals looking to collaborate and to already formed project teams (which can consist of authors, publishers, open source technology and software providers, librarians, and designers). If you apply without a complete project team, we will work with you to find suitable collaborators. Work on the pilots must start on 1 April 2024 and the pilots must be finalised by 1 April 2026. 

Open Book Futures (OBF) is the successor to the Community-led Open Publishing Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) project which ran from 2019 to 2023. COPIM supported three experimental publishing pilot projects in collaboration with publishers, authors, designers, and tool and platform providers. The COPIM project blog documents the previous round of experimental book publishing pilots, our Experimental Publishing Compendium lists a selection of tools, books, and practices that support and provide inspiration for experimental publishing, and our Book Contain Multitudes report expands further on the potential of experimental scholarly books.

Aim of the Pilot Projects

Experimental book publishing can include experiments with the form and format of the scholarly book; with the various (multi)media through which books can be performed; and with the ways in which scholarship can be produced, disseminated, and consumed, as well as reviewed, reused, and interacted with. It can also include experiments that reimagine the relationalities that constitute academic writing, research, and publishing, and that speculate on what the future of the book and the humanities might look like beyond the printed codex-format as the standard publication choice (Adema et al., 2022).

One of the aims of the Open Book Futures project is to make it easier for authors and publishers to take up these kinds of experiments and to integrate them into their research and publishing workflows. We are keen to highlight and promote the open source tools, technologies, platforms and software that are already available to support experimental forms of publishing, whether they are custom-designed for academic books or not. But instead of focusing solely on experimental publishing as a technological problem requiring technological solutions, we are also aware of the socio-cultural, economic, and institutional inhibitions and barriers towards the uptake of these kinds of experimental books and processes, both for authors and for presses. For this reason, we want to work closely with authors, presses, and technology providers to create pilot projects and communities of practice to explore how to best enable and support experimental book publishing together, while seeking to increase the recognition given to work published in non-traditional ways.

Within the COPIM project, we developed three pilot projects with Open Humanities Press, Mattering Press, and Open Book Publishers, which we openly documented. For the OBF project we want to conduct 3 more pilot projects, with the additional aim of exploring how the Open Book Collective (OBC) (a community-governed charity supporting a consortial funding model for small to mid-scale OA projects and an output of the COPIM project) can build OA book publishing capacity (including experimental forms) in addition to the infrastructures required to support this.

Support Provided

The selected book projects will be supported by Open Book Futures’ Experimental Book Publishing working group consisting of scholars, developers, editors, designers, and publishers with expertise in experimental publishing.

Our support includes: Regular feedback meetings with the teams (or representatives of the teams); technical support (for example, recommendation of and guidance on suitable software, tools, and platforms to be used); editorial support (for example, regarding editing and peer-review workflows for experimental book publishing); support with project planningand management; advice and support regarding the creation of metadata, dissemination, and archiving of OA books, as well as book promotion. We will also be documenting the pilot projects to enable other presses and authors to adapt their workflows, guidelines, infrastructures and best practices for experimental book publishing, or develop new ones.

Project Teams

We will support the development of 3 experimental academic book pilot projects. We are happy to receive applications from individuals looking to collaborate on a pilot project and from already formed project teams, which can consist of authors, publishers, open source technology and software providers, librarians, and designers. If you apply as an individual author, press, or technology provider, and already have an indication of who your preferred collaboration partners would be, make sure to mention them in your application. We might be able to connect you with your partners of choice, or might have further suggestions on suitable publishers, platforms or tools for your project. Please also consult our Experimental Publishing Compendium and our Book Contain Multitudes report for ideas, input, and inspiration. We encourage applications from teams or individuals from the Global South.


The three pilots will be able to apply for funding (up to a maximum of £15,000 per project, depending on the project’s needs as outlined in a proposed project budget). This funding will be paid out as a honorarium at a fixed rate in support of experimental publishing projects. It primarily is intended to support labour (or compensation of time invested) of publishers and tool/platform providers (it is at discretion of the pilot teams how the money is split among the collaborators or/and used towards other potential costs such as design, development costs or author and editor fees).

Selection Process

To submit a proposal, fill out this template

and send it to Rebekka Kiesewetter ([email protected]) by 22 November 2023 with the email header APPLICATION FOR OBF PILOT PROJECTS.

Submission for Pre-application Check and Matchmaking Workshop

After the submission deadline for the pre-application check (22 November 2023), a pre-selection of applications will be made on the basis of the eligibility criteria outlined below. The selected pilot projects will be able to move forward to the final submission stage.

On 15 January 2024, we will host an online matchmaking workshop in support of the selected applicants. This workshop is open for all the pre-selected pilots and mandatory for those pilots that do not yet have a full team and partners to work with. During the workshop, the selected pilots will have the chance to present their proposalss. We will invite a variety of publishers, authors, and technology/platform/tool providers to this workshop to explore whether they are interested in becoming partners or collaborators on one of the proposed projects.

Project teams can then either together submit a pilot project proposal as part of the final submission or continue to work together in a different way. After the matchmaking workshop, the applicants will have the possibility to adapt and revise their applications (where needed in exchange with the Experimental Publishing working group).

Final Submission

Final (or revised) applications by full teams (consisting of, at least, a (group of) author(s), a publisher, and open source platform or tool providers) must be submitted by 1 February 2024. Full project teams that were accepted after the pre-application check will not need to resubmit their proposal for final submission. The submitted pilots projects will be assessed by a committee consisting of members of the OBC Board of Stewards and the OBF Experimental Publishing group, and will take part under the auspices of the OBC’s grant allocation pilot, which will test the governance procedures of the OBC’s Collective Development Fund (due to launch its first funding call in 2024).

Successful applications will be notified at the beginning of February, and must start work on their projects by 1 April 2024 the latest, with support from the OBF Experimental Working Group. 

Eligibility, Feasibility, and Requirements

Before applying for the call, please be aware of the following minimum requirements for your proposed project:

  • The matchmaking workshop will take place on 15 January 2024 and is mandatory for applicants who are applying without a fully formed project team.

  • Work on the pilots must start by 1 April 2024.

  • The books or book publishing workflows to be developed as part of the pilots must be completed by 1 April 2026.

  • The pilot projects must be openly documented with support from the Experimental Publishing Group.

  • Applications from individuals and teams are welcomed; the final full submission (see selection process) must be submitted by a full project team (consisting of, at least, a (group of) author(s), a publisher, and representatives of an open source platform or tool).

  • Applications are welcomed from international project teams and we will endeavour to support teams from non-English-speaking regions (we can support projects in English, German, Dutch, Spanish, French, and Italian). We encourage applications from the Global South.

  • All books must be published diamond open access (without a BPC).

  • The tools and technologies used in the pilot projects must be open source.

Assessment Criteria

  • The experimental nature of the project, which can include the intervention it makes, the needs it meets, or the problem it addresses

  • Feasibility in relation to project scope, planning, and budget

  • Openness and replicability of the project

  • Alignment with Open Book Futures and OBC values 

  • Commitment to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (which can include aspects such as as multilingualism and gender inclusion)

If you have any questions about this call or the assessment process, please get in touch with Janneke Adema at [email protected].

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