An International Open Access Week update on the Scottish Universities Press

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About the author: Dominique Walker is the Publishing Officer for the Scottish Universities Press (SUP). Her role is hosted by the Library and Learning Centre LLC at the University of Dundee. 

International Open Access Week seems the perfect time to provide an update on the progress of Scottish Universities Press (SUP) – a fully open access and not-for-profit press run by 18 Scottish academic libraries, including the University of Dundee Library. SUP aims to provide a clear and cost-effective route for researchers at Scottish HEIs to make their work freely available to a global audience, responding to upcoming changes to REF, UKRI and other funder policies around open access monographs.

I last posted about the Press back in March and we are now well on our way to launching our first call for monograph proposals in November. The SUP website launched in September. Please visit the website for all information and updates about SUP – it is also possible to sign up to receive our newsletter.

Editorial Board

The SUP Editorial Board was formed in July and met for the first time in September. The Board is formed of 14 academic colleagues from participating institutions plus two external members. We are very pleased that Professor Morris Altman, Dean of the University of Dundee School of Business, has agreed to chair the Editorial Board. Morris is an enthusiastic supporter of the Press and what we aim to achieve. The University of Dundee also has representation on the Editorial Board from Dr Murray Frame, Reader in History, School of Humanities, Social Sciences and Law.

The role of the Editorial Board is to advocate for the press and encourage submissions, review proposals, and contribute to the development and ongoing management of the peer review process.

Timeline for inviting monograph proposals

With the Editorial Board in place, we are now ready to launch our first call for monograph proposals. In the two-year pilot phase (2022-2024) we will publish monographs in any subject by academics at member institutions. SUP does plan to publish other types of content, such as textbooks and journals, once the pilot-phase is over.

SUP will offer the following streams for new title submissions:

  1. A time-limited call for proposals based on monographs nearing completion

An initial call will be issued in the week commencing Monday 7th November inviting proposals from academics at member institutions who have completed, or nearly completed, manuscripts which are not under contract elsewhere. The closing date for proposals will be Wednesday 18th January 2023 with the aim to communicate decisions to authors by 31st March 2023, recognising that this will be dependent on the completion of the peer review cycle. In this stream there will be an expectation that manuscripts will be delivered within two months of acceptance being confirmed.

  1. Launch of an ongoing proposal submission cycle

An open call will be issued on 1st February 2023 inviting monograph proposals from researchers at member institutions, regardless of which stage the manuscript is at. These proposals will go through the agreed peer review process and will be reviewed by the Editorial Board three times a year.

  1. Targeted strand for Early Career Researchers (ECRs)

SUP aims to provide guidance and support to ECRs who may be publishing their first monograph. An ongoing call will be issued at the same time and in the same way as the open call for proposals on 1st February 2023. Proposals will be via the same submission form and go through the agreed peer review process but will be reviewed by a dedicated sub-group.  We are currently developing this stream together with the ECR members of the Editorial Board.

Guidelines, the peer review policy and the monograph proposal form will be made available on the SUP website in early November.

Publishing Process

A standard proposal form will be hosted on the SUP website. When a proposal is received it will be reviewed by SUP staff to ensure that it is in scope for publication. Proposals will go through a rigorous external peer review process and will be reviewed by the Editorial Board three times a year. If accepted a contract will be agreed with the author. Once the full manuscript is submitted it will be sent out to a reviewer for a final report. Manuscripts will then progress through the production workflow. SUP will offer a full publishing service, including copyediting, proofreading, typesetting and design, marketing and global dissemination. Monographs will be published fully OA on the SUP Platform with CC-BY licences and print copies will be available to purchase.


It is important to point out some of the opportunities we have as a collaborative not-for profit press.

As a collaboration of 18 institutions, we have the opportunity to utilise existing skills and networks. We are able to turn inwards wherever possible, for design work, publishing guidance, and making sure the efforts spent on peer-review by institutions has a noticeable contribution to the Scottish HEI community. An example of this is the design of the SUP logo. A student at the Duncan Jordanstone College of Art & Design worked with us to design the logo on a paid placement, and we are very happy with the result!

Additionally, our not-for profit status frees us from some of the constraints faced by commercial publishers, for example the ability to publish longer or specialist publications. We are able to explore alternative approaches to academic publishing, that have the needs of the academy at the core.

As a Library led press, we can be responsive to policy changes and to the changing HE environment, adapting the Press to meet the needs of our institutions.

Find Out More

We will host a special Q&A webinar for staff at our member institutions on Wednesday November 16th 10.30-11.30. Please sign up here to attend and bring along any questions you may have about SUP!

You can also contact me at 







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