Report Open Access

The German new university press: small and perfectly formed or an enterprise in transition?

Bennett, Linda; Bennett, Annika

Innovations in publishing technology and staunch commitment to Open Access have combined to produce a proliferation of “new” university presses in recent years. Often run by the university’s library by seconding a tiny group of heroically-dedicated librarians, their ethos is very different from that of the traditional university presses – so different, in fact, that the two entities sometimes co-exist and collaborate within the same institution.

This paper examines the objectives, ideals and activities of 6 “new” German university presses, TU Berlin University Press, Göttingen University Press, BIS-Verlag, The Universitätsverlag Potsdam, Universitätsverlag universaar and universi (the University of Siegen Press). All are primarily engaged in Open Access book publishing. The paper explores their ethics and philosophy and the constraints and opportunities which they experience; their relationship with authors; the operational logistics they deploy; and the extent to which they can or may choose to use the services of third parties, including other publishers.

It concludes with an assessment of what the future might hold for these presses and others like them, including whether it is in their interests to grow larger, engage with additional ancillary activities, such as systematic marketing, or find other ways of generating greater revenues.  What are the options open to them, if the priority is not to compromise their Open Access ideals?

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