ACLS Fosters Conversations on Monograph Publishing in the Humanities through Path to Open Initiative
The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is playing a convening role in the new Path to Open program, which will support the open access publication of new scholarly books.
Launching as a pilot in fall 2023, Path to Open offers libraries a subscription through JSTOR to access hundreds of new monographs from participating presses. The subscription funds will enable these presses to transition the books in the program from licensed to open access within three years of publication, producing up to one thousand open access monographs by the end of the pilot period.
“Sometimes even hard-to-change systems can evolve by means of collaborations that align the interests of various passionate members of a community,” said ACLS Vice President James Shulman. “Scholars write books and want them to be read. The same scholars, as well as many other people, want to read these books. Path to Open seeks—through tinkering with 100-year-old infrastructures—to balance everyone’s interests and to maximize the access to and the use of humanistic scholarship.”
Path to Open seeks—through tinkering with 100-year-old infrastructures—to balance everyone’s interests and to maximize the access to and the use of humanistic scholarship. James Shulman, ACLS Vice President
The new initiative originated through conversations ACLS fostered between book publishers, librarians, and scholars to explore and define transformational approaches to humanistic monograph publishing and how to scale them. The group reached out to JSTOR as a collaborator and host for the pilot, with the primary goal of testing and honing a revenue model that is financially sustainable for publishers and libraries while making scholars’ works significantly more accessible.
For more than 100 years, ACLS has supported the creation and circulation of knowledge that advances understanding of humanity and human endeavors. Opening scholarship to historically underserved geographies and readers encourages greater equity in the dissemination of knowledge. ACLS staff looks forward to continuing this work with colleagues across our constituencies—publishers, libraries, and scholars—who are committed to humanistic scholarship and the support of a healthy humanities infrastructure.