Michigan Publishing, the publishing division of the University of Michigan Library, will launch a new open-access book-publishing imprint, Lever Press, in collaboration with Amherst College Press and the Oberlin Group, a consortium of 80 libraries in America's top liberal arts colleges.
Lever Press will publish digital-native titles distinguished by three key features: editorial alignment with the mission and ethos of liberal arts colleges; a "platinum" approach to open access in which the pledging institutions rather than authors pay all publishing costs; and digitally native production processes designed to support innovative projects that go "beyond the book."
According to Charles Watkinson, associate university librarian and director of the University of Michigan Press, Michigan Publishing will contribute its high-quality publishing capabilities, which are distinguished by deep expertise in digital native publishing and a history of innovation.
"Powered by one of the world's great libraries and home to a distinguished university press, Michigan Publishing has a tradition of collaborating with a few select partners," he said. "We're very proud to support Lever Press and are committed to giving its authors a great publishing experience, especially in supporting the dissemination of their digital scholarship."
Michael Roy, dean of the library at Middlebury College, says that Lever Press will allow a group of small liberal arts colleges to make a difference in the way in which scholarship is produced, shared and preserved.
"We are committed to contributing to broader changes that will allow scholarship to be produced in a way that is sustainable, makes creative use of the affordances of the Internet, and is able to reach a global audience," he said. "Our partnership with Amherst and Michigan provides us with a depth of experience and a mature publishing infrastructure that will allow us to quickly establish ourselves in the marketplace, and will provide our authors with the services and resources they need to transform their ideas into world-class scholarship."
Nearly 40 liberal arts college libraries—most of them members of the Oberlin Group, along with Allegheny College and Ursinus College—have committed more than $1 million to the work of Lever Press over the next five years. Librarians and faculty members at these institutions will also comprise the press's oversight committee and editorial board. Supported by these pledges, Lever Press aims to acquire, develop, produce and disseminate a total of 60 new open-access titles by the end of 2020.
"We're always prepared to welcome new participating libraries," Roy said.
Representatives of the pledging institutions on the initial oversight committee are: Andy Ashton (Vassar College), Marta Brunner (Skidmore College), Mark Christel (Wooster College), Dalia Corkrum (Whitman College), Terri Fishel (Macalester College), Bryn Geffert (Amherst College), Neil McElroy (Lafayette College), Kevin Mulroy (Claremont Colleges), Loretta Parham (Morehouse and Spelman Colleges), Mike Roy (Middlebury College), Peggy Seiden (Swarthmore College),and Marci Sorter (St. Olaf College).