Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem: Report, Slides, Video Available Online

Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME) is a five-year pilot initiative to advance the wide dissemination of scholarship by humanities and humanistic social sciences faculty members through open editions of peer-reviewed and professionally edited monographs. Scholars face growing difficulty in finding publishers for their monographs as academic library budgets shrink and demand for monographs falls. The Association of American Universities (AAU), Association of Research Libraries (ARL), and Association of University Presses (AUPresses) formally launched TOME in 2017 to collaboratively address this problem.

The TOME Task Force convened its third annual meeting on July 31, 2018, in Washington, DC, to assess TOME’s progress, share lessons learned, and determine an action plan to expand participation in the initiative. Forty-five people attended the meeting. In addition to members of the TOME Task Force (university provosts, library deans, and press directors), the group included representatives from open access (OA) e-book platforms (Books at JSTOR, Project MUSE, OAPEN, and HathiTrust), TOME’s own infrastructure provider (figshare/Altmetric), and several scholarly societies, as well as licensing experts from Creative Commons, the Authors Alliance, and university libraries.

A persistent theme of the meeting was that openly available scholarship not only finds more readers than paywalled content, open content is cited in new scholarship more often. In addition to greater reach, the Impact Assessment Working Group of TOME presented several other measurable objectives that meeting participants approved:

  • Understanding of “reasonable” monograph publishing costs
  • Positive change in perception of publishing OA monographs
  • Use of the full extent of EPUB 3 accessibility features

By the conclusion of the meeting, AAU, AUPresses, and ARL jointly agreed to develop a clearinghouse of TOME promotional materials for local, institutional use in expanding participation in the project, and to establish additional working groups to look at recruitment, peer review, best practices (case studies), and costs.

This month the initiative released a short video of scholars discussing how TOME has helped their work be shared, used, and built upon.

Read the full report on the third annual TOME meeting and view presentation slides from the meeting.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at

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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.