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The challenge of open access for university presses

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University presses were founded in the late 19th century to help alleviate a problem of market failure, namely insufficient demand in the commercial marketplace to sustain a publishing operation on the basis of sales alone. Now, in the face of claims about another type of market failure – insufficient funds to sustain library subscriptions to STM journals – calls have come forth to change the economic model of publishing from sales-based to grants-based, offering the fruits of knowledge free to all users with an Internet connection. This paper examines both the challenges and the opportunities that the variants of 'open access' present to university presses, as they seek to fulfill their traditional mission of disseminating knowledge 'far and wide' while remaining sustainable as businesses.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-07-01

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  • Editor in Chief: Pippa Smart
    North American Editor: Judy Luther

    Learned Publishing is the journal of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, published in collaboration with the Society for Scholarly Publishing. The journal is published quarterly in January/April/July/October.

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    Learned Publishing will be moving to Wiley-Blackwell as of January 1, 2016. Please contact the publisher at for information on how to continue access to this title.
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