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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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The most recent Royal Historical Society document on Plan S says the following about the Open Library of Humanities (OLH):

“It fails, however, to reference or explore the funding base that has made these important initiatives both possible and (to date) sustainable. Major awards from grant-making bodies, such as the US-based Andrew Mellon Foundation, as well as vital infusions of funding, such as Research England’s £2.2 Million award to a collaborative team that includes Open Library for the Humanities”. (pp. 59-60)

This is not quite accurate in fact or interpretation.

Firstly, on interpretation and implication: yes, OLH received funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This was for a startup period and we are now outside of that term, operating on our LPS business model. All organisations require initial investment to get off the ground and to think otherwise would be naive. But the RHS report implies that we are or have been perpetually reliant to-date upon grant funding for sustainability, which is not correct.

Secondly, OLH is not involved in or a team member of the £2.2m COPIM bid. The grant portion on which I am working is to Birkbeck, University of London. This grant is concerned with open monograph infrastructures and is a distinct project from OLH. My portion of this work is to conduct outreach to existing monograph publishers to convert their business models to consortial systems.