According to the recent American Association of University Presses Statement on Open Access, AAUP members are experimenting with open access.
Near the end of this statement, AAUP says:
Presses can exist in a gift economy for at least the most scholarly of their publishing functions if costs are internally reallocated (from library purchases to faculty grants and press subsidies).
AAUP is saying what I, and other librarians, have been saying for some time. There is more than enough money in the system to pay for full open access; we just need a little creativity to figure out a different way to get the money to where it needs to be. This is supported by William Walter's study, which showed that the vast majority of university libraries would clearly save money by shifting from subscriptions to open access by article processing fees.
It makes sense for academic libraries to shift from purchasing academic works, whether journals or monographs, to supporting the publishing of academic works for everyone. AAUP points out that relying on local funding only could result in disparities for authors; a good point, and one that could be remedied by libraries working together in consortia for building collections through supporting publishing, just as we now work together in consortia for building collections through licensing.
AAUP, it seems, is ready and willing to begin talking about how to transition. Fellow librarians - are we?
Upated (correction to William Walter's name) March 19, 2007
This post is part of the Transitioning to Open Access series.