Oberlin College has become a founding member of Lever Press, a peer-reviewed, open-access, and digitally native scholarly press.
Lever Press is funded by a consortium of liberal arts college libraries and guided by a partnership of the Amherst College Press and Michigan Publishing at the University of Michigan.
The Oberlin Group, a consortium of 80 research libraries serving liberal arts colleges across the United States, launched Lever Press out of a concern that restrictions on access to scholarly materials is exacerbating a broader and dangerous trend toward inequality in the availability of educational resources.
“It shouldn’t be the case that only the wealthiest institutions can afford to purchase the best and most recent books addressing issues and fields at the heart of our campuses,” says Mike Roy, dean of libraries at Middlebury College and the president of the Lever Press oversight committee. “And as publishers increasingly request processing fees and subsidies for articles and book-length works, it shouldn’t be that only scholars at the best-resourced institutions get a chance to get published.”
Although sponsored by liberal arts college libraries, Lever Press will not publish only works from faculty in those institutions. “We’re looking for work that reflects the identity and characteristic emphasis on excellence in teaching and research that is the hallmark of our sponsoring colleges,” says Mark Edington, Lever Press’s publisher. “As we’ve reflected on how a press founded by these colleges can offer a distinct voice and contribution to the world of scholarly publishing, we keep returning to the idea of the books that all of us encountered as undergraduates that opened our eyes and changed our lives. We’re looking for titles that can teach what they know, that reveal to the reader not just a recitation of findings but a narrative of discovery.”
Over the next five years, Lever Press is expected to publish some 60 titles—all of which will be available both in print (for a small cost) and online (for no cost). Titles will be available both as downloadable files and as screen-readable web pages. Production will be undertaken by the Michigan Publishing’s emerging Fulcrum digital publishing platform, made possible with a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
“We are very pleased to be working as a partner in the Lever Press initiative,” says Charles Watkinson, associate university librarian for publishing at the University of Michigan Library and director of University of Michigan Press. “As well as extending the impact of their work through open access online and handsome print editions, we’re excited to work with Lever’s authors to create enriched digital publications that reflect the highest standards of peer review and scholarly merit.”
Lever Press is already accepting proposals from scholars for individual works and series of works. Proposals for individual works are welcome from faculty and scholars anywhere. Proposals for series should come from faculty or teams of faculty from one or more of Lever’s sponsoring institutions. list of these institutions can be found at http://www.leverpress.org/who-we-are/.
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September 20, 2022