In 2017 the Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) launched a new initiative called TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem). TOME’s mission is twofold: 1) to harness the potential of digital publishing technologies to increase access to book-length research in the humanities and social sciences; 2) to ensure the long-term economic viability of the scholarly publishing system. To accomplish this mission we believe it is essential to create a more sustainable system in which monograph publishing costs are met by institutionally funded faculty book subsidies. These publication grants make it possible for presses to publish monographs in open access editions, which increases the presence of humanities and social science scholarship on the web and opens up knowledge to a truly global readership.

Open access publication expands readership both inside and outside the academy, which advances the core mission of colleges and universities to create and transmit new knowledge for public benefit. 

TOME advances the goal of migrating humanities and social science scholarship to the open web, where it can be fully integrated into the larger web-based network of scientific research.

TOME embraces a holistic view of scholarly publishing, enlisting all of the  stakeholders—universities, presses, libraries, and authors—in pursuing the common goal of obtaining a sustainable open monograph ecosystem.

TOME sends a strong signal to humanities and social sciences faculties that college and university administrators value both their scholarship and the work of university presses.

TOME encourages innovation in monograph publishing by enabling digital affordances such as multimedia, annotation, and commenting tools.

Participating colleges and universities commit to providing baseline grants of $15,000 to support the publication of open access monographs of 90,000 words or fewer (with additional funding for works of greater length or complexity). 

The original 14 participating universities committed to awarding three publishing grants per year over the five-year pilot (15 total grants) but we welcome more institutions to join us even if they cannot commit to funding 15 monographs. Ultimately, the goals of TOME go beyond numbers. We want to change the landscape of scholarly book publishing in the humanities and social sciences by creating a broader and more equitable funding base for the high-quality scholarly publishing that sustains those disciplines.

To join the TOME initiative as a participating institution or publisher, contact Peter Potter at, Jessica Sebeok at, or Peter Berkery at

Your institution is still very welcome to join the initiative. Ultimately, the goals of TOME go beyond numbers. We want to see more humanities and social science scholarship join the open web, and to create a broader and more equitable funding base for the high-quality scholarly publishing that sustains those disciplines.

If you are interested in publishing your monograph as a TOME book you should first check to see if you belong to a participating TOME institution. If so, the best place to start the process is by reaching out to the relevant point of contact at your institution, who may be in the library, a college, or another academic unit on campus such as a center for the humanities. 

Ultimately, each institution establishes its own rules for selecting TOME volumes, so you will need to be sure that you are eligible under your institution’s rules. Your institution will also be able to tell you what types of book manuscripts qualify for TOME funding, for example, edited volumes and multi-author works may not be eligible in every case. 

If your institution is not participating, and you are interested in advocating to join, please reach out to Peter Potter at, Jessica Sebeok at, or Peter Berkery at TOME is a movement not a club!

There is as of yet no single universal platform or repository for OA monographs. TOME publishers are required to distribute files of each book (PDF and ePUB3 where possible) to a number of OA repositories. Some of the most common are OAPEN Library, HathiTrust Digital Library, and Knowledge Unlatched Open Research Library (in beta). In addition, many OA books are now available through JSTOR Books and MUSE Open. Finally, publishers usually send files of each TOME book to the author’s institutional repository. All TOME-published e-books are also available on

To receive TOME funding, a publisher must commit to producing a digital open access edition of the book, openly licensing it under a Creative Commons license, and depositing the files in selected open repositories. The press is in turn free to publish (and sell) a traditional print edition according to the usual terms of the publisher’s contract with the author. Monographs funded with TOME awards are peer-reviewed and edited to the same standards as the publisher’s other scholarly books.

Perhaps. TOME does not require a particular CC license. Authors should check first with their publishers and universities to learn what options they might have.

The initiative does not permit post-publication embargo periods except under very limited circumstances and with the advance mutual agreement of the author, publisher, and TOME representatives.

The decision to release a print edition of a TOME monograph rests with the author and publisher.

“This book is freely available in an open access edition thanks to TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem)—a collaboration of the Association of American Universities, the Association of University Presses, and the Association of Research Libraries—and the generous support of [name of participating institution]. Learn more at the TOME website, available at:”

TOME on Twitter

Get Involved

If you are an author, publisher, librarian, or administrator, we want to hear from you. Use this form to send your comments, questions, or suggestions to Peter Potter, ARL visiting program officer for TOME.