Director, Amherst College Press
Associate University Librarian for Publishing and Director of University of Michigan Press
University of Michigan
“Give me a place to stand with a lever,” said Archimedes, “and I can move the whole world.”
Several years ago, a group of liberal-arts college library directors, despairing over the crisis in academic publishing, wringing their hands over failed efforts to reform the system, and kvetching about the millions of dollars they dispatch annually to the coffers of presses whose practices they oppose, decided to repurpose some funds and create the lever they lacked. The result: Lever Press. In this session we will provide an update on progress made by Lever Press since its launch, demonstrating how a group of libraries can seize the initiative and make changes to the scholarly monograph publishing landscape, in a manner consistent with their institutional missions. The presenters will describe the current editorial process and pipeline; demonstrate the technical underpinnings of Lever Press; and offer the perspectives of library directors and faculty authors who have been involved in the project. Lever Press devotes itself to producing the highest quality scholarship in an economically sustainable model, and leads the way towards establishing best practices for born-digital, peer reviewed, open access monograph publishing. Unconstrained by legacy publishing processes, Lever Press publishes not only traditional narratives; it also employs “Fulcrum,” the state-of-the-art digital platform developed at the University of Michigan Press. All works published by Lever Press are freely available to read online, immediately upon publication. Unlike most open access presses, however, Lever Press never charges readers nor authors. Funding is provided by its 54 charter member libraries who elect representatives to govern it.
At a time when cOAlition S is advancing open access to research publications, Lever Press is changing the game for scholarly monograph access and publishing.