On “The Future of The Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” by Michael A. Elliott

On “The Future of The Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” by Michael A. Elliott

The majority of conversations around open access scholarly communication centre on the academic article as the research output in question. This is the case for a variety of reasons:  there are many more academic articles published annually than monographs or other research output; articles are the units of the serial crisis; the transition from toll access to OA seems most feasible with articles because of relatively low production costs, etc. In “The Future of The Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,” however, Michael A. Elliott focuses exclusively on the monograph in the realm of open access and digital publishing, not the article.

This report to the Mellon Foundation is based on the deliberations of a working group at Emory University who met over 2014-15 and parsed through possibilities for the monograph in the changing scholarly communication clime. Ultimately, Elliott summarizes their concluding suggestion as follows: “Our working group endorses a model of university-funded publication that results in an open access digital publication, as well as a print-on-demand physical product that will be sold for an appropriate list price” (n.p.). Solely print publication of monographs is no longer seen as economically or practically viable, as libraries face crushing budget cuts and reader trends turn digital. Open access is also touted as inevitable and a de facto ethical imperative. University presses, Elliott suggests, should maintain their roles as arbiters of scholarship; but to do so in this technological and financial environment, they require significant institutional support.

 

Work cited

Elliott, Michael A. “The Future of The Monograph in the Digital Era: A Report to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 18 (4): n.p. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0018.407/–future-of-the-monograph-in-the-digital-era-a-report?rgn=main;view=fulltext

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