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£5.8 million funding to significantly expand and accelerate COPIM open access infrastructures

Announcement of the launch of Open Book Futures, a 3-year project funded by Arcadia and Research England Development (RED) Fund building on the pioneering work of COPIM.

Published onMar 30, 2023
£5.8 million funding to significantly expand and accelerate COPIM open access infrastructures

The Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs project (COPIM) is delighted that Arcadia and the Research England Development (RED) Fund are supporting a new initiative that will build on the pioneering work of the COPIM project.

The Open Book Futures project (OBF), led by Lancaster University, will significantly expand key infrastructures created by COPIM to achieve a step change in how community-owned Open Access (OA) book publishing is delivered.

Open Book Futures will follow the principles of ‘Scaling Small’ that guided the work of the COPIM project, further developing the infrastructures, business models, networks and resources that are needed to deliver a future for Open Access books led not by large commercial operations, but by communities of scholars, small-to-medium-sized publishers, not-for-profit infrastructure providers, and scholarly libraries.

Among its activities, OBF will deepen and accelerate the work of:

Open Book Futures, which will run from 1 May 2023 to 30 April 2026, will increase COPIM’s long-term impact and ensure that a wide range of voices have the opportunity to shape the future of open access book publishing. In order to amplify bibliodiverse and equitable community-led approaches to OA book publishing, OBF aims not just to strengthen existing networks in the UK and North America, but also to engage further with publishers, universities, and infrastructure providers in a diverse set of national and linguistic contexts, including Africa, Australasia, Continental Europe, and Latin America.

With that in mind, OBF will reunite many of the COPIM project partners, including Birkbeck, University of London, Coventry University, Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), Jisc, Loughborough University, Open Book Collective (OBC), Open Book Publishers (OBP), punctum books, Thoth, and Trinity College, Cambridge University, and they will also be joined by a wide range of new partners including Continental Platform/University of Cape Town, the Curtin Open Knowledge Initiative (COKI), the Digital Preservation Coalition, the Educopia Institute, Knowledge Futures, Lyrasis, OPERAS, Public Knowledge Project (PKP), Research Libraries UK (RLUK), SciELO Books, Scottish Universities Press/SCURL, and SPARC Europe. The project is also supported by Lancaster University Library.

COPIM, a strategic international partnership led by Coventry University, was also jointly funded by Arcadia and the RED Fund, and the COPIM project partners are delighted that OBF will carry the torch to significantly increase and improve the quantity, discoverability, preservation and accessibility of academic content freely and easily available to all.

COPIM co-Principal Investigator, Dr Janneke Adema of Coventry University, said:

“We are really thankful to the funders of the Open Book Futures project, the RED Fund and Arcadia, for their ongoing support of our work and proud to be able to continue what we started as part of COPIM, including the development of the Open Book Collective, the Thoth metadata management platform, the Opening the Future revenue model and the Experimental Publishing Compendium. This grant will support the long-term sustainability of these community-led and community-owned book infrastructures, while building further international connections and networks with other partners and projects working towards an open knowledge commons for books.”

OBF Principal Investigator Dr Joe Deville, of Lancaster University, who is also a Co-Investigator on the COPIM project, said:

“It is exciting to be able to contribute to a project that promises to profoundly reshape the very mechanisms through which academic knowledge circulates, in a context in which far too much high-quality book-length scholarship remains widely inaccessible.”

Arcadia is a charitable foundation that works to protect nature, preserve cultural heritage and promote open access to knowledge. Since 2002 Arcadia has awarded more than $1 billion to organizations around the world.

 RED supports innovation in research and knowledge exchange in higher education that offers significant public benefits.

The COPIM end-of-project conference will take place online on 20 April 3.30-8.15pm (BST), and 21 April 3-7pm (BST). Registration is free. Join us to find out more about COPIM and OBF:

Header image by Noah Grossenbacher on Unsplash

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