Rice University new digital university press

July 17, 2006 at 11:17 am | Posted in Creative Commons, E-Books, Electronic Publishing, Monographs, Open Access, Print on Demand (PoD) | Leave a comment

Rice University has announced an interesting scheme to publish books online open-access and print-on-demand:

As money-strapped university presses shut down nationwide, Rice University is turning to technology to bring its press back to life as the first fully digital university press in the United States.
Using the open-source e-publishing platform Connexions, Rice University Press is returning from a decade-long hiatus to explore models of peer-reviewed scholarship for the 21st century. The technology offers authors a way to use multimedia — audio files, live hyperlinks or moving images — to craft dynamic scholarly arguments, and to publish on-demand original works in fields of study that are increasingly constrained by print publishing….

Charles Henry, Rice University vice provost, university librarian and publisher of Rice University Press during the startup phase, said, ‘Our decision to revive Rice’s press as a digital enterprise is based on both economics and on new ways of thinking about scholarly publishing. On the one hand, university presses are losing money at unprecedented rates, and technology offers us ways to decrease production costs and provide nearly ubiquitous delivery system, the Internet. We avoid costs associated with backlogs, large inventories and unsold physical volumes, and we greatly speed the editorial process. ‘We don’t have a precise figure for our startup costs yet, but it’s safe to say our startup costs and annual operating expenses will be at least 10 times less than what we’d expect to pay if we were using a traditional publishing model,’ Henry said….

Users will be able to view the content online for free or purchase a copy of the book for download through the Rice University Press Web site. Alternatively, thanks to Connexions’ partnership with on-demand printer QOOP, users will be able to order printed books if they want, in every style from softbound black-and-white on inexpensive paper to leather-bound full-color hardbacks on high-gloss paper. ‘As with a traditional press, our publications will be peer-reviewed, professionally vetted and very high quality,’ Henry said. ‘But the choice to have a printed copy will be up to the customer.’…

Authors published by Rice University Press will retain the copyrights for their works, in accordance with Connexions’ licensing agreement with Creative Commons.”

(Via Peter Suber, Open Access News.)

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