Digital Monograph Costing Tool Released

New York, NY — The Association of American University Presses is pleased to announce the publication of the AAUP Digital Monograph Costing Tool, created with the help of a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which supported the creation of the tool and accompanying documentation.

The AAUP Digital Monograph Costing Tool was created by Nancy Maron and Kim Schmelzinger, co-authors of the February 2016 Ithaka S+R study, “The Costs of Publishing Scholarly Monographs,” on which the tool is based. The tool takes the study methodology and makes it possible for any press to develop its own customized cost profile for the books they publish.

According to Schmelzinger, “While most publishers are very familiar with what they spend on the expenses they pay for directly, like design, printing, or copyediting – they often find it more difficult to factor in the costs of staff time and overheads. This tool makes it easier for them to do that.”

The Costing Tool consists of an Excel workbook, where presses can enter their data, and see the results by title or in the aggregate. The accompanying User’s Guide offers step-by-step instructions on how to gather the information needed. It includes a facilitation guide for presses who may wish to engage staff members in the process. According to Maron, “In the original study, many presses learned a great deal from structured discussions with staff concerning the work they do, what makes things more (or less) expensive, and the value of the work.”

“Publishers are seeking better ways to assess their operations and specifically to consider what open access models might require. We hope this will provide them a way to arrive at title-level cost estimates, that represent high-quality, digital works,” said Peter Berkery, AAUP Executive Director. “This is a tool that can help presses look closely at their existing businesses as they consider new business models. We hope the information this generates will further support presses in creatively considering ways to make long-form scholarship more broadly available, while sustaining the core value and high standards of the work they do.”

The Digital Costing Tool and the User’s Guide reside on the AAUP website:

The Costing Tool has been released under a Creative Commons license, allowing for adaptations to different publishing program needs and in the hope that users will share useful adaptations and expansions that may be developed within the community.

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) is an organization of 140 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, AAUP advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds integrity, diversity, stewardship, and intellectual freedom as core values. AAUP members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing. 

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