Introducing Luminos, the open access program for scholarly monographs

By now you know about Collabra, University of California Press’s mission-driven open access journal that gives back to the research community. Now, in response to demands for more openness, wider dissemination, and greater sustainability in scholarly book publishing, UC Press brings you Luminos, the new open access program for scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences.

“Market forces have made it increasingly difficult for faculty, particularly early career, to publish scholarly monographs.”

Long-form argument is at the heart of scholarly communication in the humanities and social sciences, and faculty in these disciplines often need to publish their research in book form in order to gain tenure and promotion. But with library budgets stretched, market barriers have made it harder and harder for researchers to publish monographs, and when they do get published, their work may end up in just a few hundred libraries worldwide.

“The central messages of our book . . . are all really reflected in the open-access model Luminos is helping to pioneer.”

With the first five Luminos titles now published and over a dozen more in the pipeline, authors have clearly been eager to publish in Luminos — not only because it guarantees the same high publishing standards as all of UC Press’s programs, but also because of the opportunity to bring their work to the larger global audience that open access provides. As coauthor Manuel Pastor has stated regarding their decision to publish their book, Equity, Growth, and Community: What the Nation Can Learn from America’s Metro Areas, in Luminos instead of traditional print, “We have long valued our role as public intellectuals who are willing and indeed, eager, to bring ideas into the messy real world and participate in the debates that change lives — and this model is perfectly suited to that sort of effort. Moreover, the central messages of our book — that equity and opportunity are key for sustainable growth, that cross-sector conversations can bring new common ground, and that data deliberations in knowledge communities can forge productive solutions — are all really reflected in the open access model Luminos is helping to pioneer. It’s a perfect fit for us, and we’re proud to be part of this launch.”

Luminos’ financial model — with the costs of publishing shared across stakeholders, including UC Press, authors’ institutions, and libraries — also helps to ensure a more sustainable future for monograph publishing, one in which good research doesn’t go unpublished simply for lack of funds. And when libraries join as optional Luminos Member Libraries, their membership funds directly support the costs of publishing new monographs, with any funds left over going into an author waiver fund that helps support future Luminos authors. It’s a model where everyone thrives.

Inaugural Luminos Member Libraries supporting this new model of funding open access monograph publishing include the University of Texas at Austin, the California Digital Library, UCLA, UC San Diego, and Swarthmore College. According to UCLA’s University Librarian, Virginia Steel, “Market forces have made it increasingly difficult for faculty, particularly early career, to publish scholarly monographs. As one solution to that problem, the UCLA Library strongly supports Luminos, which expands options for authors and increases discoverability and readership of published research, while maintaining rigorous academic publishing standards.”

So, welcome to Luminos, the evolution of monograph publishing. Learn more about Luminos — or read a Luminos title — at www.luminosoa.org.