Charles Watkinson
Charles Watkinson

Charles Watkinson, director of the University of Michigan Press, will give the Couper Phi Beta Kappa Lecture on Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 4:10 p.m., in the Kennedy Auditorium, Taylor Science Center. His lecture is titled “Open Access Monographs. Why Should Authors, Librarians, and Administrators Care?” and is free and open to the public.

Currently there is discussion that the costs of publishing monographs should be borne by the producer (author, institution, government agency) rather than the consumer. Such a system could offer economic advantages to publishers and libraries and theoretically better aligns funding responsibility with beneficiaries. However, the incentives for the authors themselves to engage with a flipped model are poorly defined, administrators are concerned about the financial implications, and librarians are struggling to identify how they add value in this new ecosystem. This presentation suggests ways to better align the benefits of open access with the interests of those who care about scholarly book publishing and explores some implications for the design of new publishing programs and platforms.

Before joining the University of Michigan in 2014 Watkinson served as director of Purdue University Press and head of scholarly publishing services in Purdue University Libraries. His previous positions include director of publications at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and general manager of the David Brown Book Company.

Watkinson has served on the boards of directors of the Association of American University Presses and Society for Scholarly Publishing, and on the executive group of the Library Publishing Coalition project. He holds degrees from University of Cambridge and Oxford Brookes University.

This presentation is part of the Couper Phi Beta Kappa Lecture series which was established in 2005 to honor Hamilton alumnus Richard “Dick” Couper ’44. Couper died in January 2006. This yearly lecture recognizes Couper’s commitment and contributions to the college and the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Each year a distinguished speaker is invited to present topics related to the college’s special library collections or to present an issue related to libraries in general.

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