Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

LIBER 2021: Enabling Library Support for Open Access Books: From Vision to Implementation

Published onOct 13, 2021
LIBER 2021: Enabling Library Support for Open Access Books: From Vision to Implementation

Presentation held on June 25, 2021
@ LIBER 2021: Libraries and Open Knowledge: from vision to implementation.

Video recording

LIBER 2021 Session #12: All Together Now: Establishing Successful Collaborations. Lucy Barnes’ presentation starts at approx 1:29:00.


see Barnes, L. (2021). Enabling Library Support for Open Access Books: From Vision to Implementation. Zenodo.


As the theme of this conference attests, the COVID-19 pandemic has called on librarians to adapt their services in many ways. One pinch point has been the provision of book content, with digital editions often unavailable or unaffordable, as highlighted by high-profile statements and campaigns in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland and Canada. One solution is to expand the availability of Open Access (OA) books -- an objective that has value far beyond the current global crisis, but is hampered by issues related to funding, discoverability, and more.

Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM) is a major three-year international project bringing together libraries, OA book publishers, researchers, and infrastructure providers to build open, community-governed infrastructure that will expand the publication of OA books. With over £3.5 million in funding from Research England and Arcadia, COPIM is developing systems, platforms and partnerships to support the funding, discoverability and development of non-profit, community-focused Open Access book publishing. 

Rather than imposing heavy fees on institutional budgets in the form of Book Processing Charges (BPCs) or forcing libraries to adopt particular platforms to access content, COPIM has been working in partnership with libraries to nurture a diverse, scholar-led, not-for-profit OA publishing ecosystem. We are now at the halfway point of our project, and this paper will share what we have built so far, together with our plans for the next phase of our work.

This includes:

  1. A non-profit, community-governed platform to enable libraries to assess, evaluate and select OA presses and consortia for financial support. After a year of research, including extensive workshops with librarians in the UK, the US and Europe to determine how this platform could be most useful to libraries, this is now entering its development phase.

  2. An open-source metadata system, called Thoth, which is now in its pilot stage with two presses. Following the publication of a major report into the dissemination and discovery of Open Access books, this system is being developed for maximum interoperability, to be able to cope with (and convert) different types of metadata. The metadata is to be openly licensed, so that rather than librarians having to ingest poor-quality OA book metadata from third-party providers, or else deal with publishers individually, it will be a single resource of high-quality OA book metadata from many OA presses.

  3. A business model, called Opening the Future, to enable presses to convert to OA book publishing without charging BPCs. This model, developed after the publication of a major report into OA book revenue models, enables libraries to subscribe to a closed-access backlist, the proceeds from which fund an OA frontlist. This model is up and running with Central European University Press, with more presses in discussion about adopting it.

This presentation will lay out these developments and the philosophy of the project as a whole, giving librarians at LIBER 2021 valuable insight into a major new initiative supporting Open Access for books.

Header image by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?