Scottish Universities Press launches open call for content

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Scottish Universities Press (SUP), the not-for-profit publishing venture owned and managed by Scottish universities, will launch an open call for book proposals tomorrow, 3 February.  

The open call is offered to academics at the participating institutions and will include edited collections as well as monographs.  

This milestone marks the endpoint in the startup phase of the project and establishes the press as a core component of the open access publishing infrastructure in Scotland, offering researchers at Scottish institutions easy access to high quality open access publishing. 

SUP is the largest collaborative institution-led publishing enterprise in the UK, led by the libraries at the 18 participating institutions and coordinated by the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL).  

The collaborative infrastructure established through SUP demonstrates Scottish institutions’ commitment to open access innovation, working as major contributors to global efforts to create a fair and equitable academic publishing model as set out in Plan S. 

Open-access research is an aim for governments, universities, research funders and individual researchers. Momentum has been building in recent years, driven by policy changes from UKRI and other funders requiring research outputs to be published open access. 

Content published open access is freely accessible on a global scale, thus increasing the impact of the research and ensuring access for all regardless of location or ability to pay. Open licensing ensures that the research is further reusable and accredited.  

In addition to the compelling public interest benefits, open access also brings efficiency to teaching and research and could deliver significant savings across institutions in the long term.  

SCURL member institutions spend around £30 million each year on providing access to electronic resources for learning and research. The open access infrastructure created through SUP has the potential to save universities millions of pounds by repurposing subscriptions funds to cover open-access publishing. 

Authors can expect a full-service publishing experience in line with the offer of traditional publishers, with open communication and transparent processes from peer review through to promotion and distribution. 

Books published by SUP will be freely available online as ebooks. Print copies will also be available to purchase, meaning that authors will still earn royalties on any print copies sold. 

Authors retain the copyright, and the book is made available through a Creative Commons License.  

Proposals should be submitted using the proposal form on the SUP website. All proposals will go through a full peer review process which will be managed by the SUP Editorial Board, comprising 14 academics from participating institutions and two external representatives. 

The open call follows a short-term initial call which ended on 18 January and aimed to attract monographs nearing completion that will be ready for publication in 2023/24. Proposals received through the initial call will be considered by the SUP Editorial Board before passing to peer review. 

Gillian Daly, SUP Press Manager, said: “Through SUP, researchers at Scottish institutions have a clear opportunity and the functional means to effect meaningful change in the academic publishing landscape.  

“Universities in Scotland are very well-placed to respond to the changing publishing landscape and to enjoy the benefits of open access, both in achieving significant cost savings and in extending the impact of research across wider society. 

“SCURL member libraries have demonstrated proof of concept and now look forward to working with colleagues across institutions to maximise the benefits of our shared ownership of this high-quality publishing infrastructure.”