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How the Open Book Collective works

Published onMay 17, 2022
How the Open Book Collective works

The Open Book Collective (OBC) is a non-profit membership organization that brings together Open Access (OA) publishers, service providers, librarians, and other supporters to collectively bring about a fairer, more sustainable model of open book publishing. 

Through the OBC’s online platform, publishers and service providers offer individual and collective membership packages which libraries and other potential supporters can pay to join. This new short video gives a brief overview of how the platform works. 

Open Book Collective Video created by Creamy Animation

Those joining membership programmes via the OBC will receive a range of benefits from the publishers and service providers they support, as well as from the OBC itself. Members will also have the opportunity to become involved in the governance of the Collective designed to ensure it continues to serve the interests the OA communities. 

The OBC’s online platform is in the works and we expect it to launch this summer. 

Libraries and other Supporters

The membership packages offered via the OBC are predominantly aimed at libraries, but are open to any organisation keen to support open access book publishing. OBC collects revenues for new and existing membership packages and then distributes this revenue to OA book publishers and infrastructure providers, less our fees. All our fees will be communicated openly and transparently and as we explain these in more detail in a later update. As a UK registered charity, all income retained by the OBC will be used to cover our costs and to support the wider open access book publishing ecosystem.

Once a potential supporter selects one or more membership packages from the platform, it generates a quotation that is tiered depending on library or institution size. OBC staff will then discuss this quotation with the library or supporter. 

When the selection is finalised, the platform generates a consolidated contract. Payment can be made to the OBC direct or, we expect, via existing third party arrangements. 

As well as collecting and transferring membership revenue and simplifying contracting, the platform simplifies many of the other processes involved in managing open access membership programmes.

  • Easier assessment of membership programmes, by standardising information about different packages, as well as having clear standards for those wishing to offer memberships providing a guarantee of quality to potential supporters;

  • Easier procurement processes, by acting as a single host of many different membership programmes;

  • Easier integration of individual books into library catalogues, by making it possible to explore metadata from participating publishers, using the Thoth database in the back end.  

Publishers & Service Providers

For publishers and what we call ‘service providers’ — these are the organisations that provide the crucial infrastructural backbone of OA book publishing — the OBC makes it much easier for them to offer membership programmes to potential supporters. 

There are two ways in which publishers and service providers can offer membership packages to potential supporters: (a) by being part of a collective package offer and/or (b) by offering an individual membership packages. For those without existing membership programmes, OBC is available to support them in creating and costing new programmes. As the OBC does not charge anything for a publisher or service provider to add a membership programme to the platform, we hope to radically simplify the process of creating an offer.  

The OBC also undertakes outreach on behalf of the publishers and service providers that offer membership programmes on the platform. A key part of the OBC’s work is speaking to libraries and other potential supporters about the benefits of joining the different memberships available via the platform. Here we harness the benefits of being able to represent a collective of different initiatives, as this work is often too labour intensive for all but the larger OA publishers. 

As the OBC does not charge anything for a publisher or service provider to add a membership programme to the platform, and the costs of conducting outreach and managing membership packages are covered by income received, we hope to radically simplify the process of creating an offer that libraries or other supporters can pay to join.  

Publishers manage their profiles and membership programmes via the platform back end, which also allows them to provide updates about recent highlights. For publishers that use the Thoth database, information about their latest books will automatically be featured on their pages. 

Keep in touch

We will be sharing more updates about the OBC, the platform and our work in the coming weeks. You can keep up to date by following us on Twitter and/or joining our mailing list. 

The OBC social media channels are run by Dr. Judith Fathallah ([email protected]), Livy Snyder ([email protected]), and Dr. Francesca Corazza ([email protected]). Judith is primarily responsible for outreach within the UK, Livy for US- and Canada-based contracts, and Francesca for European outreach.

Mailing List 

You can also directly visit the Mailing List signup form here.

By signing up, you consent to the storage of the data provided in OBC databases. We will not sell or share your information with third parties unless required by law. To stop receiving emails from OBC, please send us an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Unsubscribe.” Your data will then be deleted.

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