University Library to establish own publishing house

28 May 2019

The University Library is planning to establish its own academic publishing house. The feasibility of the new ‘Open Access Radboud University Press’ will be investigated in the coming year.

Academic publications cost a lot of money. The publication costs themselves may be quite affordable, but in these cases the journal will have high subscription fees – and conversely, if the journal is free, as is the case, for example, for Open Access journals, the publication costs will turn out very high. The University is now exploring a third option, where academics can publish their articles through the University’s own publishing house, named Open Access Radboud University Press.

The publishing house forms the next step in the University Library’s journey towards Open Access. This will result in freely accessible, cheaper publications, explains University Library Director Natalia Grygierczyk. ‘We will not need to make profits the way a commercial publishing house does. Open-access publishers also charge fees, which are not always in proportion to the costs actually incurred.’

The University Library’s idea was inspired by several initiatives the world over, such as UCL Press, which is part of the renowned University College London. Grygierczyk: ‘We more or less see them as our example. UCL Press was launched in 2015 and very quickly got lots of attention.’

Prestigious publications

Just like UCL Press, Nijmegen also aims to focus on wide accessibility, ranging from scientific and popular-scientific books to the type of research publications that are currently only published in Nature or Science. ‘And we think it may also be a good solution for academic work that in the current situation is difficult to get published, for example work in niche or interdisciplinary fields.’

One possible scenario, Grygierczyk explains, is for the publishing house to acquire existing specialist journals as well. As an example she mentions the linguistics Open Access platform LingOA, which the University Library has supported for several years now. ‘We could take on full responsibility for such initiatives.’ This way, academics from all over the world could publish in ‘Nijmegen’ journals. Quality, however, is top priority, the Library Director emphasises. ‘We only want high-quality publications with a good quality assurance system including peer review.’

‘Start step by step and hope for a snowball effect’

To this end, Grygierczyk would first like to get a number of top academics on board. ‘If we can publish a few high-quality, prestigious works, this will hopefully attract more researchers. ‘We will start step by step and hope for a snowball effect.’

The University Library will evaluate the project after one year. ‘Is it financially viable, and does it provide enough added value to the University? Is there sufficient interest? If not, so be it. But the first reactions from researchers are positive.’

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