JSTOR and university press partners announce Path to Open Books pilot

JSTOR, part of the non-profit ITHAKA, and a cohort of leading university presses announced Path to Open, a program to support the open access publication of new groundbreaking scholarly books that bring diverse perspectives and research to millions of people.

Launching as a pilot, Path to Open  libraries will contribute funds to enable participating presses to publish new books that will transition from licensed to open access within three years of publication. The initial pilot will produce about 1,000 OA monographs. If successful, it will lay the foundation for an entirely new way to fund long-form scholarship while vastly increasing its impact.

Charles Watkinson, Director of University of Michigan Press and 2022-2023 President of the Association of University of Presses, sees Path to Open as a sustainable means of preserving the bibliodiversity unique to academic publishing. Path to Open should also increase book readership by bringing down costs for authors and university presses, particularly for under-supported fields of study. This alternative publishing model should also benefit under-served and marginalized parts of the world.

Presses have been experimenting with solutions for several years, but have yet to derive a scalable, sustainable approach. Path to Open originated in conversations between presses eager for alternative models and took shape as presses, librarians, and scholars came together, convened by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), to explore and define transformational approaches and how to scale them.

The first Path to Open books will be released in fall 2023.