Publishing high-quality scholarship is costly. No one disputes this. What’s no longer clear is how best to organize the work of publishing to reduce costs as much as possible.
Lever Press is premised on the idea that it’s better—and, in the long term, cheaper—to pay once for a work and create an open access result than to cover costs through a system demanding repeated payments—for purchasing, for copying, for long-term preservation, and so on.
What’s more, Lever Press will focus on works with high value to faculty and students. As a press guided by both scholars and librarians at liberal arts colleges, our investments will be targeted on the development and distribution of scholarship with strong potential for course adoption and engagement by a broad readership.
What we’re proposing is, in essence, to pay for scholarly publishing in the middle, rather than at either the consumer end (through sales in the market) or the producer end (through author subventions). Both of those models end up driving, not addressing, the growing inequality in access to scholarly information. The more institutions participate in supporting a “paid-in-the-middle” model for open access scholarship, the greater will be the reach and impact of this work—and the closer we’ll come to the tipping point at which Platinum OA becomes the paradigm.
Unique among open-access publishing initiatives, Lever Press is conceived, governed, and funded by a consortium of liberal arts college libraries.
Academic libraries, especially those at liberal arts colleges, face challenges in the current scholarly publishing environment–not only the known issues of the rising costs of scholarly monographs and increasing pressures on acquisitions budgets, but also the long-term costs of monographs produced under current assumptions and the uncompensated service librarians provide to publishers by policing copyright claims on their behalf.
The role of libraries in scholarly publishing has historically been limited to that of purchasing and preserving works published elsewhere. Yet librarians see at first hand the scholarly needs of their institutions, and the occasional mismatch between what publishers produce and what their faculty and students need and use. Today, more and more academic libraries are launching their own scholarly publishing programs, but these tend to be based in large research institutions, usually with an emphasis on serving local publishing needs.
Libraries that provide support for Lever Press become part of the conversation shaping both the editorial program and objectives of the press, and the principles by which we do our work. Participation is an opportunity for academic libraries–especially those that might not be able to justify or support an independent publishing initiative–to shape the future and the direction of scholarly publishing, and to invest in the publication of research that serves the needs of research and teaching on their campuses.
Requested contribution rates are linked to annual acquisition budgets:
Less than $300,000 => $500 annually
$300,000 - $499,999 => $2,000 annually
$500,000 to $749,999 => $4,000 annually
$750,000 to $1,499,999 => $6,000 annually
$1,500,000 - $2,999,999 => $8,000 annually
$3,000,000 - $5,999,999 => $10,000 annually
More than $6,000,000 => $12,000 annually
Please use this form to indicate your Lever Press membership pledge. You will receive a response from Lever Press staff with information about fee payment schedules and to sign our contract.