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Access to knowledge

By Lynne Raughley

Open Humanities Press (OHP) and MPublishing have announced the publication of six open access books on critical theory, continental philosophy and cultural studies. The titles will be freely available as full-text HTML, as well as in paperback editions, and are being released on a rolling publication schedule beginning 15 December.

In a unique collaboration, OHP, an international, scholar-run publishing collective, and MPublishing are jointly releasing the books.

“We are tremendously excited with these results,” says Sigi Jöttkandt, a co-founder of OHP and lecturer at the University of New South Wales in Australia. “When we first launched OHP as a high-profile open access journal publisher in 2008, we didn’t expect to be publishing open access books so quickly as well.”

The six books are The Democracy of Objects by Levi R. Bryant; Immersion Into Noise by Joseph Nechvatal; Telemorphosis: Theory in the Era of Climate Change, Vol. 1, edited by Tom Cohen; Impasses of the Post-Global: Theory in the Era of Climate Change, Vol. 2, edited by Henry Sussman; Terror, Theory, and the Humanities, edited by Jeffrey DiLeo and Uppinder Mehan; and The Cultural Politics of the New American Studies by John Carlos Rowe.

The peer-reviewed books are part of OHP’s “Critical Climate Change” series (edited by Tom Cohen and Claire Colebrook) and the “New Metaphysics” series (edited by Graham Harman and Bruno Latour). MPublishing created the structured XML for electronic and print on demand publication, as well as the metadata and cataloging information, and archived the books in the University of Michigan Library for long-term preservation.

Shana Kimball, Interim Head of MPublishing at the University of Michigan Library, says that the release of these books is a remarkable achievement for OHP and “strong proof of concept that emerging scholar- and library-led publishing models can be part of the solution to the problem of access.”

“I’ve been very happy with the publishing experience,” said John Carlos Rowe, Associates Chair in Humanities and Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. “This is just what digital scholarly publishing needs: fully refereed work that can be compared favorably with the process of evaluation at any major university press.”

According to Paul Courant, University Librarian and Dean of Libraries, this publication event marks another milestone in the transformation of scholarly publishing. “It further establishes that scholars can extend the widely-held value of openness into the publishing realm when libraries give them access to the requisite expertise and mechanisms.”

Open Humanities Press is an international Open Access publishing collective specializing in critical and cultural theory. OHP was formed by academics to overcome the current crisis in scholarly publishing that threatens intellectual freedom and academic rigor worldwide. OHP journals are academically certified by OHP’s independent board of international scholars. All OHP publications are peer-reviewed, published under open access licenses, and freely and immediately available online at
MPublishing is the primary academic publishing division of the University of Michigan.  It creates, promotes, distributes and preserves scholarly, educational and regional materials in digital and print formats.  MPublishing focusses on the best application of technology to the world of scholarly publishing.  It is committed to improving the copyright climate for scholarship by developing services for areas of publishing growth otherwise underserved within the University community.

Lynne Raughley is a writer and communications director at the University of Michigan Libraries.

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