VCU Libraries supports independent, queer, peer-reviewed open access publisher punctum books

September 12, 2022
A selection of books available from punctum publishing.

VCU Libraries has joined the Supporting Library Membership Program of the open access book publisher punctum books--an independent queer- and scholar-led, and peer-reviewed open access book publisher. 

punctum books is devoted to authors working in the humanities, social sciences, fine arts and architecture and design who want to publish books that are genre-queer and genre-bending and which take experimental risks with the forms and styles of intellectual writing. All works published by punctum are licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 International License, making them available without cost and without barriers to their reuse.

punctum believes that author fees for publishing open access books are not sustainable and also aggravate deeply entrenched inequities in the scholarly publishing landscape. As a result, punctum never charges fees to authors, a model sometimes referred to as “diamond” open access. 

Instead, punctum has been engaged in a working partnership with the University of California Santa Barbara Library since 2018 and uses a funding model in which small annual contributions from supporting library members worldwide form a revenue pool to fund the publication of open access books.

Membership includes resources valuable to libraries like catalog records, usage statistics and cross-referenced metadata. By supporting punctum, VCU Libraries is also investing in a more diverse, equitable, scholar-led and not-for-profit publishing ecosystem. As part of the membership, Jimmy Ghaphery, VCU Libraries associate dean for scholarly communications and publishing, will serve on the punctum books Library Advisory Board. Ghaphery says, “I am very pleased we have the opportunity to support punctum books, who has been a leader in both amplifying underrepresented voices and open monograph publishing. I also look forward to learning from punctum about how their journey can inform our own open access publishing efforts at VCU Publishing.” 

Founded in Brooklyn, New York in 2011, and now incorporated in Santa Barbara, California, punctum books is a public benefit corporation co-directed by Eileen A. Fradenburg Joy and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei. Joy, punctum’s founding director, is also a VCU alumna who received her B.A. in English in 1984 and her MFA in Creative Writing in 1992.

"We are an open access press,” Joy says, “not just because we make our titles broadly available to the public without paywalls or complex digital protocols, but because we are dedicated to opening up access to the means and modes of publication for authors who otherwise might not find a publisher, either because their work does not fit within a readily recognizable current disciplinary paradigm, or because they want to experiment with the forms and styles of academic writing. As publishers, we want to be an agent of sustenance for our authors and of their right to self-invent, self-preserve, and change, and we want their work to be available to readers all over the world who, historically, have been cut off from scholarly knowledge."

VCU Libraries is a member and supporting institution of multiple organizations that advocate for and support a sustainable publishing infrastructure for open access books, journals, and educational resources. In addition, VCU Libraries and VIVA, Virginia’s academic library consortium, have agreements with some publishers that provide VCU authors with full coverage or discounts for open access publishing fees. For more information on these efforts, see the open access support page.

< Previous  Next >