Why University of Michigan Press is joining "Path to Open"

Why University of Michigan Press is joining "Path to Open"

A new initiative complements immediate open access models for monographs, providing an embargoed option for titles that might otherwise stay permanently paywalled.

In 2023, the University of Michigan Press is creating immediately-available open-access ebook editions of 75% of its frontlist monographs. We can make these 60 titles open to the world thanks to the Fund to Mission program, which matches the collection support of over 100 libraries to investment by the University of Michigan's academic leadership and title-by-title subsidies where available.

But what about the remaining 25%?

  • Some titles include images or texts that the authors have only been able to license on condition we either don't produce an ebook or commit to restricted access distribution. We can't do much about those.
  • Other titles are embedded in disciplinary cultures that view open access with skepticism - sometimes for valid reasons. A scholar wanting an open edition may feel they cannot risk disapproval from senior colleagues, especially in a precarious labor market. We now have a new option to offer.

Path to Open is a new program developed through collaboration between JSTOR, the American Council of Learned Societies, a growing group of university presses, and a coalition of libraries. Books in the program are made digitally available to institutions via JSTOR, sold in print to all buyers, and placed in direct-to-customer ebook programs. For three years, the books are only available to purchasers, but on the third anniversary the ebook is made available open-access. As well as benefitting readers, the model helps authors, libraries, and publishers.

  • Authors can avoid the disapproval of their disciplinary peers, get well-deserved promotions, and still benefit from global open access after three years.
  • Libraries can purchase the books easily, deliver the benefits of early access to their patrons, and still achieve the goal of maximizing access to essential scholarship.
  • Publishers receive a guaranteed $5,000 after the first year that a book is in the program. Along with three years of ebook sales income, and a continuing flow of print revenue, the financial risk of releasing an open access edition is mitigated.

Every book is a bit different. It's what makes publishing them so fun. Path to Open offers University of Michigan Press authors a "third way" to maximize the reach of their scholarship - neither immediately open nor always restricted access. Learn more about the model at https://about.jstor.org/path-to-open/