Letter to the Editor of The Australian

Dear Editor

In The Saturday Australian Ms Adler has suggested that the book industry is failing and university presses operating under libraries publishing open access books produce second rate publications.

In 2013 Australian book publishing is part of an international industry. Australian university press publishing has achieved significant impact for Australian research. The open access publishing of many Australian universities has produced high international access to the nation’s research (over 65% of downloads of these books are from overseas). Studies have shown that the return on investment for works published via open access funded by the Australian government is up to 10 times greater than for works that are not open access.

Australian open access university presses operating under libraries have been great innovators. New technologies are also at the core of our e-book production. Books are produced in formats that can be read on Kindles and iPads. Multimedia has been incorporated into works, such as audio visual material included in the Sounds in Translation: Intersections of music, technology and society from ANU E Press.

Books published by university presses run by libraries have won national awards Peter Fitzpatrick’s book The two Frank Thrings published by Monash University Press won the National Biography Award 2013.

With over a million downloads a year and over 1000 titles, university presses operating under libraries significantly contribute to Australian book publishing and reading.

Publishing open access increases the intellectual property protection for authors because their works are highly visible and records as their scholarly outputs. It is a Furfy to suggest that open access undermines copyright.

Book publishing, including scholarly publishing needs to build on funded research and adapt to use new technology. No argument can be made for permanent subsidies to underpin the industry as a whole. Developing yet another website costing millions of dollars would be wasteful of government resources which could be better spent on research and innovative publishing projects.

Yours faithfully


Roxanne Missingham
University Librarian (Chief Scholarly Information Services)


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