New open-access monograph series announced

Excerpted from The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 7, 2009: 

Open Humanities Press (OHP) is joining the University of Michigan Library’s Scholary Publishing Office (SPO) to create five new open-access monograph series with a focus on critical and cultural theory. All of the books will be freely available in full-text, digital editions and as reasonably priced paperbacks, and they will be subject to the highest standards of editorial vetting and peer review.  The series include New Metaphysics, Critial Climate Change, Global Conversations, Unidentified Theoretical Objects, and Liquid Books, a series in which readers are invited “to annotate, tag, edit, add to, remix, reformat, reversion, reinvent, and reuse” the material.

After editing, the manuscript files will be turned over to the publishing office at Michigan to be prepped for electronic and print-on-demand publication, metadata creation, and cataloguing. Books in the series will be available through the OHP and SPO Web sites, and will also be archived in the library at Michigan. Authors will retain their copyrights and may opt for Creative Commons licenses. Works will also be made available for reader comment and annotation pre- and postpublication if the authors so desire.

OHP is an open-access scholarly publishing collective established  in the spring of 2008 by an international group of scholars. The group aims to help solve what it calls the “digital credibility problem” by publishing digital monographs that are open access and of recognized scholarly quality. The OHP board includes Alain Badiou of the Ecole Normale Superieure, Donna Haraway of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Gayatri Spivak of Columbia University, among other notables.

According to Maria Bonn, director of the Scholarly Publishing Office, the new open-access series partnership came about after Open Humanities Press called for potential library partners. In an e-mail message to The Chronicle, Ms. Bonn said that the Michigan library “was probably better positioned than most of the libraries that responded to be able to support the production and distribution of these monographs” because it already has extensive experience with digital publishing. Ms. Bonn described OHP as a test of how to vet humanities monographs outside the traditional university-press context as well as “an experiment in the effects of open access on the impact of the humanities monograph.”

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