Indiana University Press mined its rich catalog of backlist titles to kick off an ambitious, open access collection of scholarly monographs collaboratively published by Big Ten university presses.
In partnership with six member university presses, including Indiana University Press, the Big Ten Academic Alliance has launched the Big Ten Open Books project. This unique collection of open access scholarly monographs unites the rich collections held by Big Ten university libraries while creating pathways for sustainable, open access monograph publishing. The first collection, published in the summer of 2023, focuses on gender and sexuality studies.
Joining Indiana University Press are Michigan State University Press, Northwestern University Press, Purdue University Press, University of Michigan Press, and University of Wisconsin Press. Each press has cultivated its respective catalog of titles to bring a total of 100 e-books to the inaugural open access collection.
The books provided by IU Press were published between 1978 and 2006 and, when combined with the dozens of books from Big Ten publishers, create a free global resource on the topic of gender and sexuality.
"These books have been given a second life," explained Gary Dunham, Director, IU Press and Digital Publishing. "As out-of-print materials, scholars and students were forced to share access to a small number of print copies housed in libraries. Now these digital editions provide an open resource easily incorporated into curriculum and classroom engagement. Every student can literally be on the same page, at the same time."
The works included in the collection have all been previously published in print by the partnering university presses and are now being made openly available in digital form to read and reuse at no cost. Each title has undergone a rigorous selection and quality certification process that allows readers and users of this collection to trust the veracity of the scholarship contained in the collection.
The Big Ten Academic Alliance continues its advocacy for a sustainable and open ecosystem of publication. Collectively, its institutions’ more than 50,000 faculty are supported by over $11 billion in research funding. Together, Big Ten universities produce roughly 15% of the research publications in the United States.
In addition to direct access at BigTenOpenBooks.org, libraries nationwide will be able to add the title of this collection to their catalogs through major discovery systems such as EBSCO, Ex Libris, OCLC, and OAPEN. The collection will also be in JSTOR and Project MUSE.
"This collection is the first of its kind, not a one-of-a-kind," said Erin Ellis, Associate Dean for Organizational Strategy, Diversity, and Inclusion at IU Libraries. "Already Indiana University Press is preparing to participate in the next collaboration and seeking books from its backlist that will advance inclusion and diversity. The energy and effort of our authors and editors, and especially of Michael Regoli, our Director of Publishing Operations, is quite visible in this launch and is celebrated by Indiana University."
"The Big Ten Open Books Project raises the impact and profile of Big Ten research and publishing at the national level," she said.