Although there are various opinions on how best to fund scholarly communication in general and open access publication in particular, some key data regarding the actual cost of knowledge production is missing. In their study “The Costs of Publishing Monographs: Toward a Transparent Methodology,” Nancy Maron, Kimberly Schmelzinger, Christine Mulhern, and Daniel Rossman tackle this issue, with a focus on monographs. Their tri-partite goal is to:
provide a comprehensive list of all of the activities needed in order to produce and disseminate a high-quality digital monograph; generate empirical data on what it costs presses today (what activities they are undertaking today) to produce those books; and offer recommendations of general principles to guide presses in seeking to establish price points for author-side payments for OA digital monographs. (n.p.)
In pursuing this goal, the authors present extensive data on the monograph production costs of 382 titles from 20 university presses in the 2014 fiscal year. After doing so, Maron et al. conclude that the average cost per monograph is a staggering $28,747. They argue that if scholarly communication is moving toward an open scholarship future, this substantial cost will have to be properly accounted for. If it isn’t, university presses will be forced to transition from the role of cultural material curator and provider to mere information dissemination mechanism.
Maron, Nancy, Kimberly Schmelzinger, Christine Mulhern, and Daniel Rossman. 2016. “The Costs of Publishing Monographs: Toward a Transparent Methodology.” Journal of Electronic Publishing 19 (1): n.p. http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0019.103/–costs-of-publishing-monographs-toward-a-transparent?rgn=main;view=fulltext