The University of North Carolina Press is leading an experiment to significantly lower the cost of producing scholarly books - an important step toward a sustainable open-access publishing model for monographs. Many university presses have experimented with open-access monographs, but few have transitioned away from charging fees for most work, as they are unable to do so sustainably, said John Sherer, director of UNC Press. A big part of the problem is that monographs are incredibly expensive to produce. A 2016 Ithaka S+R study found that monographs can cost anywhere from $15,140 to $129,909 to publish depending on overhead, staff time, design, production and marketing costs. In contrast, a typical science journal might charge around $2,000 to make an article free to read.
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