A Unique Value List for Medieval and Early Modern Researchers

Opening the Past Today is a collective subscription model that, through its membership scheme, makes library funds go further: achieving the dual objectives of increasing collections and supporting Open Access.

Partners pay a small annual fee towards the highly-regarded History lists of Arc Humanities Press and Amsterdam University Press. Partners can select from the annually updated Medieval Studies Package or the Early Modern Package; funds go directly to release new monographs and the partners’ stated preferences influence the priority of books in each package to be published in the coming twelve months as OA.

The Lists in Context: Arc Humanities Press and Amsterdam University Press together publish about eighty titles a year in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. This is more than any single North American university press. The combined list is characterized by the «edgy,» global, and inclusive research that it promotes. The reputation of our lists is clear in the endorsements.

Sustainable Funding for OA Monographs in the Humanities

Building on library journal membership models such as Open Library of the Humanities and «Subscribe to Open,» this sustainable OA publishing model will give partners a cost-effective, collective means of making new monographs in the humanities openly accessible to anyone.

Annual revenue is allocated immediately to the production of new titles; any balance accrued is used for the next year’s publications. The more partners the more books. The model has support from LYRASIS who will assist with organizing library participation in the program.

File hosting: Books will be listed in the Directory of Open Access Books and hosted on OAPEN. Project MUSE will also host the books, providing MARC records, KBART files and supporting discovery systems, and subscribers will have access to COUNTER compliant statistics.

Membership is open to libraries and institutions worldwide. There are no catches and no hidden fees – members won’t be asked to pay more on top of their annual fee to access «more» or «better» titles. Packages won’t suddenly change.

Key Benefits of this Partnership for Librarians

The revenue from the partnership program directly funds a unique front-list to become OA. Library membership fees will pay for only those books that do not already have funding. If a proposal for a book comes to Arc or AUP with partial OA funding, the Press will use Opening the Future membership fees to share the production costs and publish the book OA.

The aim of this approach is to continue to yield a sustainable source of revenue for a press while achieving the desired commitment to making more titles OA. Given the current global library environment and existing budget pressures that have now been exacerbated by Covid-19, a consortial model of funding promises a cost-effective solution for OA that means no single institution bears a disproportionate burden.

Librarians as Expert Curators: This partnership is unique, first, because the presses are committed to maintaining the highest discipline on production, acquisitions, and overhead costs; and, second, because it restores specialist subject librarians to their expert curatorial role, allowing them to guide the presses in their publishing program by identifying titles from lists proposed by the presses.