LYRASIS is actively engaged in the growing movement to support open access for scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences. Earlier this year we provided North American administrative support for the Knowledge Unlatched pilot project that gathered 297 libraries across the globe and made 28 scholarly monographs accessible to the world. Other initiatives and recent reports are certain to advance the format and accessibility of scholarly monographs.

The Association of Research Libraries and the American Association of Universities collaborated to produce a report in June that encouraged universities to provide grants to newly-hired faculty that would support the production cost of their first peer-reviewed book. The Open Library of the Humanities, a Mellon-supported initiative, is investigating alternative models to fund open access in the humanities for both journal articles and monographs.

The Mellon Foundation is also exploring ideas about how to support open access digital humanities interactive research products in a cost-sharing model with universities. An online interactive text could include links to primary sources and underlying data, be accompanied by dynamic analytical graphs and tools to compare versions of texts, and provide a collaborative space for comments and discussion by readers of the work. Research that formerly would have been constrained by the requirement to publish chapters between book covers could thrive in this digital environment. Authors could make greater contributions to scholarship and their work would be accessible across the globe. Preservation challenges for this new type of research product are significant and must be addressed.

The university press, library, higher education administration, and faculty communities are all engaged in the conversation. LYRASIS will continue its support for the scholarly monograph open access movement on behalf of our member libraries. Change may be slow, but it is coming