Library Enlistment Campaign

Libraria is gaining momentum. In this phase we will incorporate the initiative and promote our model more widely to expand the number of members. Today, we are asking selected libraries with a demonstrated commitment to innovation in scholarly communication for an initial investment to help us take the initiative to scale.

What makes LIBRARIA innovative?

Libraria does not rely on article processing charges (APCs), which are susceptible to the same arbitrary increases as subscriptions and which threaten to reinscribe inequalities between rich and poor institutions. Instead, library partners sponsor open access to member publications for all, while helping to decide how their investments are spent in the context of increased transparency: no more nondisclosure agreements that keep pricing a secret. Our focus on flipping established journals that are already central to their disciplines means that we provide continuity with the editorial legacy of these publications and ensure that scholars do not need to choose between publishing open access and publishing in titles that hiring and tenure committees know and value.

How does it work?

The subscription fees that libraries are currently paying to access member journals will be directed to the cooperative in order to support the journals in moving open access. Thus, this model is intended to be expense neutral for libraries and revenue neutral for journals. It is ultimately anticipated that the pooling of resources in the cooperative will streamline journal costs, enabling Libraria to cover the production expenses of a variety of subscription and open access journals.

For example, based on our financial modeling, we estimate that ongoing library support in the amount of $2,589, which corresponds to the current subscription costs of the four subscription-based anthropology and archaeology journals within Libraria, would cover the production costs for these journals as well as three additional open access journals (Cultural Anthropology, Limn, Valuation Studies), if approximately 350 libraries were involved in Libraria.

Journal Publisher Subscription cost
Anthropology of Work Review Wiley-Blackwell $74
European Journal of Archaeology Taylor & Francis $1,124
Social Anthropology Wiley-Blackwell $507
Current Anthropology University of Chicago Press $804
TOTAL $2,509
$2,589 X 350 libraries $878,150 revenue


Won’t libraries end up paying more for journal access, given that many Libraria journals are currently bundled in ‘Big Deals’?
There is widespread acceptance that the payment of open access APCs to hybrid journals means that publishers should adjust their subscription prices to avoid ‘double dipping’. This has created a precedent for disentangling the costs of subscription journals to ensure that the price of libraries’ Big Deal packages is reduced.

How will you deal with the problem of free-riders? Won’t a few libraries end up subsidizing the acquisition costs of the majority? What is to stop a library joining the initiative and then pulling out?
Free-riding is a potential danger; however, we have seen little evidence of this in other initiatives of this type, such as SCOAP3 – a sponsoring consortium for open access publishing in particle physics.

Won’t the costs of library members escalate as more journals join the initiative, especially if they don’t already subscribe to some of the journals?
As new journals join, libraries that already subscribe to those journals will merely redirect these existing funds to the cooperative. Libraries would not be required to support a journal in the cooperative if they were not already paying for a subscription to it.

The basic model seems to place the burden of financing member journals on the shoulders of libraries, but don’t the learned societies themselves have a responsibility to support open access?
Royalty payments have been set at a 20% return for learned societies instead of the 40% they typically receive under current arrangements.

The biggest problem my library faces is cuts to its acquisition budget, so how does joining Libraria actually help us?
Libraria enables its members to support open access and build a community of practice without spending a single extra dollar. In the long-term the initiative may also serve to decrease net spending, which will be driven more by the actual costs of journal production rather than the bottom line of shareholders.


What are we asking for and why?


Nature of Expense Cost
Library and journal recruitment services (.33 FTE) $60,000
Legal consultation and fees for incorporation $15,000
Travel (ICOLC 2018, ACRL 2019, etc.) $10,000
Publicity materials $5,000
TOTAL $90,000


Contribution Solicited (based on 2-year commitment) Cost
Charter library member: FY2018 $1,500
Charter library member: FY2019 $1,500
Subtotal per library $3,000
Baseline of charter library members X 30
TOTAL $90,000