A new university press as a space to connect the building blocks of Open Science

A look through the prism of an open textbook publishing pilot





New university press, Open Science, Open Educational Resources, Open Textbooks


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The number of new university presses is growing, and they are becoming a more influential phenomenon in the publishing world and in the realm of scholarly communications. These new university presses often challenge traditional scholarly publishing models with their focus on Open Science and open publishing practices. The University of Groningen Press (UGP), the Netherlands, is an example of such a publisher that tries to harmoniously connect the building blocks of Open Science and translate the lessons learned from one area into another.

This session will outline our experience with setting up the newest UGP initiative, an open textbook publishing service, based on the expertise and lessons learned from the already well-established open access journals and open monographs publishing initiatives. By including open educational resources in the form of interactive open textbooks in its portfolio, the UGP is transitioning to being an all-around open publisher that enables cross-contamination and mutually fruitful exchange between different fields of Open Science, thus enhancing the synergy between them. Drawing on our experience from the (ongoing) open textbook pilot, we would like to demonstrate that a new university press could serve as a natural playground for connecting these building blocks of Open Science, thus allowing for a more sustainable transfer of know-how, better dissemination of knowledge, and closer engagement with the wider “open” agenda.

Being an open-access publisher, the UGP offers a publishing platform for journals, books, series, and textbooks by university faculty and researchers. The open access publishing model enables any researcher, student, or interested reader around the world to find and access scholarly information without barriers. At the same time, the UGP’s publishing decisions are not dependent on the potential commercial success of a title but rest on scientific relevance, thus enhancing the academic and societal impact of such publications. This way, every scholar gets an opportunity to publish high-quality open monographs, articles, and lately also textbooks, thus contributing to wider dissemination of research and more equitable access to education.

Along with other new university presses, the UGP has been reflecting and at times spearheading the changes in scholarly communication, research and education cultures. This includes the incorporation of Open Science practices supported by technical innovations. Transition to Open Science and greater uptake of open practices requires a shift in the academic and publishing culture that would be impossible without joint actions from all sides and without facilitating mutually beneficial exchanges within the open movement.

As a result of this session, by turning to our open textbook publishing case study, we would like to spark a conversation around the role of new university presses in the greater Open Science framework as a space for connecting its multiple facets. Together with the audience, we hope to generate new ideas and solutions to potential challenges such initiatives face along the way.


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Author Biographies

Mira Buist-Zhuk, University of Groningen

Mira Buist-Zhuk is an academic information specialist at the University of Groningen Library (the Netherlands). She leads the Open Education pillar of the University’s Open Science program and is actively engaged in building services and infrastructure to support teachers in the area of open educational resources, open textbook publishing, and related copyright issues. Mira gained her academic background and professional experience in the fields of international relations, political science, education, and communications. She takes an active interest in open education and open science developments and is driven by the values of access to education, social justice, and sustainable development.

Margreet Nieborg, University of Groningen

Margreet Nieborg is a project manager and publishing consultant at the University of Groningen Press (UGP). The UGP is part of the University Library. Margreet is an educationalist and has led various projects within the University Library, including setting up the University Press in 2017. UGP is an example of a new university press that currently hosts journals, books, and series. Margreet thinks that with the rise of new university presses new publishing models will rise and can, in a modest way, actively support open access.




How to Cite

Buist-Zhuk, M., & Nieborg, M. (2022). A new university press as a space to connect the building blocks of Open Science: A look through the prism of an open textbook publishing pilot. Septentrio Conference Series, (1). https://doi.org/10.7557/5.6626