May 23rd, 2022
In March 2021, MIT Press announced the launch of its Direct-to-Open (D2O) framework. In this model, rather than purchasing licenses to eBook titles individually or through packages, libraries pay annual participation fees that support open access (OA) book publishing. Participating libraries gain access to new MIT Press titles—around 90 titles per year—as well as its eligible backlist of approximately 2,300 books. D2O features two non-overlapping collections of scholarly monographs and edited volumes: Humanities & Social Sciences and STEAM. Anyone can read the OA titles free of cost on the MIT Press website, regardless of institutional affiliation.
The sustainability of the D2O model depends on reaching a set financial success threshold over three years. In November 2021, MIT reported that it had hit 50% of the threshold, and as of March 2022 more than 195 libraries and consortia have committed to supporting D2O. D2O’s tiered rates based on type and size of institution mean WVU Libraries will pay $6,000 per year for three years to participate.
This initiative is one of several throughout the world designed to increase global access to scholarly work and to combat the high cost of traditional eBook licensing. Licenses from for-profit vendors such as EBSCO or ProQuest often come with user restrictions and may expire after a few years. A single-user license for a typical non-OA monograph in the Humanities might cost anywhere from $50-$150, and STEM texts routinely exceed $150. In general, eBook licenses do not allow for sharing via Interlibrary Loan.
The WVU Libraries’ Collections Advisory Committee voted in Fall 2021 to commit to supporting D2O, which it sees as aligned with several goals established in its Strategic Roadmap, including leadership in the creation and dissemination of knowledge, social equity, and sustainability.
Additional information about the D2O model is available here.