The model in summary

Opening the Future is a collective subscription model that, through its membership scheme, makes library funds go further: achieving the dual objectives of increasing collections and supporting Open Access. Members pay a small annual fee to get unlimited multi-user access to two series of the well-regarded Liverpool University Press backlist; the membership revenue is used to produce new OA monographs.

More information

Use the expandable boxes below to learn more, including what it costs, who benefits, who is involved and why.

Library and institutional members are banded according to their size. Based on this, our annual membership fees are:

Tier 1: Large institutions with active research programmes 
Tier 2: Small to mid-sized research universities; commercial customers 
Tier 3: ‘New universities’ and other medium-sized institutions with a focus on undergraduate study 
Tier 4: Smaller / specialised institutions and lesser-funded institutions 
Tier 5: Non-profits, museums, schools 

Building on library journal membership models such as Open Library of the Humanities and ‘Subscribe to Open’, LUP is piloting a sustainable OA monograph publishing model that will give members access to a selection of the extensive backlist. This membership revenue will be used to make newly-published books openly accessible to anyone.

The model has support from Jisc in the UK and LYRASIS in North America who will assist with organising library participation in the programme. We will provide MARC records, KBART files and support discovery systems, and subscribers will have access to COUNTER compliant statistics. Membership is open to libraries and institutions worldwide. There are no catches and no hidden fees - members won’t be asked to pay more on top of their annual fee to access ‘more’ or ‘better’ titles. The package of books that members subscribe to won’t suddenly change.

Members get unlimited online access to the books in two series. Revenue from the membership will be used to fund the frontlist to be OA. Library membership fees will pay for only those books that do not already have funding. If a proposal for a book comes to LUP with partial OA funding, the Press will use Opening the Future membership fees to share the production costs and publish the book OA.

The aim of this approach is to continue to yield a sustainable source of revenue for a press while achieving the desired commitment to making more titles OA. Given the current global library environment and existing budget pressures that have now been exacerbated by Covid-19, a consortial model of funding promises a cost-effective solution for OA that means no single institution bears a disproportionate burden.

Liverpool University Press (LUP) is the UK’s third oldest university press, with a distinguished history of publishing exceptional research since 1899, including the work of Nobel prize winners. LUP has rapidly expanded in recent years to become an award-winning academic publisher that produces approximately 150 books a year, 39 journals and a number of digital collections, specialising in literature, modern languages, history, and film studies.

LUP has been publishing OA books for more than a decade. We continue to explore OA opportunities and engage in discussions about OA with research funders, universities, academics and other publishers to improve the service we provide and uphold our aim of publishing the very best scholarship for and from the academic community.

COPIM is an international partnership of researchers, universities, librarians, open access book publishers and infrastructure providers supported by the Research England Development Fund (REDFund) as a major development project in the Higher Education sector with significant public benefits, and by Arcadia, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.

LUP is receiving assistance in implementing this model through Work Package 3 of the COPIM programme including documentation of this ‘working model’ as a step towards creating a free, open toolkit and roadmap for other book publishers considering OA. You can read more information on COPIM on their website:

Quick links

Backlist package

Learn what titles are in the member backlist package

Short video

Watch a 60 second animation explaining the model simply

Sign up, UK libraries

For UK HEIs, the easiest route to become a member is via Jisc - they will initiate the membership and invoice through your normal channels.

Sign up, rest of world

For anywhere else, simply fill in the form on our package page using the button below. It takes about 2 minutes to fill in and we will initiate membership and billing when we receive it.