Our vision

Open access: the best way to publish your book

At OBP we believe that knowledge should be freely available to everyone. We believe that open access is financially more efficient and intellectually more inclusive, responsive, and therefore more effective than traditional legacy publishing, and we are working to create a world in which all books are published open access.

We have distilled our vision for academic publishing into ten principles.

OBP's ten principles for OA book publishing

1) No barriers for readers All our books are free to read and download online from the date of publication, and available to purchase in reasonably priced paperback and hardback editions. A closed-access scholarly book typically sells only 200 copies during its entire lifetime, but at OBP our books are read around the world by around 80,000 readers every month – and these figures don’t drop off over time, as sales figures do. Read more about our reach.

2) No barriers for authors We don’t believe authors should pay to publish, so we don’t charge authors Book Processing Charges (BPCs). At OBP we have proven that high-quality open access publishing can sustain itself from a mixed range of modest income streams – see our Business Model for more. Our Library Membership Programme has operated as a ‘proof of concept’ to show how library budgets can support sustainable open access publishing without charging authors.

3) Authors own their work We believe that authors should retain control of their work, so all our authors not only retain their copyright but also the right to republish their work as they choose. Our authors also decide which CC licence to use for their book. Find out more about publishing with us.

4) Innovative books Open access publications can embrace the possibilities of digital publishing – such as the inclusion of audiovisual material and greater responsiveness to readers – to present research to its best effect, without abandoning the printed form. Find out more about our innovative books.

5) Accessible books We are working hard to make sure our books are accessible to all readers, including those who use assistive technology to read. We have also partnered with RNIB to make our books available on their Bookshare platform. Find out more about our approach to accessibility.

6) Reusable books Open access can enable easy reuse, which can result in wider dissemination. Several of our books have been translated from English into other languages, including Tolerance ed. by Caroline Warman, and The Scientific Revolution Revisited by Mikuláš Teich. In 2012 we also developed an HTML-based online reader, since accessing, copying, and modifying text in HTML is easier than relying on PDF files.

7) Non-commercial principles We are a non-profit organisation (a Community Interest Company), so any surplus revenue we make is reinvested into publishing more OA books, and we are transparent and open about our business model. We believe that research dissemination should always serve scholarly interests first and foremost, not commercial interests.

8) Open infrastructure We believe in building and using open source, non-profit, community-owned infrastructure to publish and disseminate our books. We are part of the Copim community, building much-needed community-controlled, open systems and infrastructures for OA book publishing, and we have created open source tools and processes to help with different aspects of OA book publishing. Find our more about our open software.

9) Scaling small We believe in the ‘scaling small’ principles that underlie Copim: that likeminded initiatives can publish many more open access books by harnessing collaboration, fostering resilience and bibliodiversity through working together instead of competing. We put this into practice by investing in our communities and partnerships. We are always happy to share our experience and expertise with anyone wanting to start an OA press, or transition to OA: just get in touch.

10) Joining the debate We believe in taking an active part in shaping the future of scholarly communications through discussion and debate, as well as through our publishing programme and infrastructure development. We are coordinators of the Open Access Books Network (OABN) and members of the OBP team regularly contribute at conferences, in articles or blogs – visit our advocacy page to find out more. If you'd like us to participate in an event, or contribute an article or blog post, please contact Lucy Barnes.