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Libraries and Open Publishing Case Studies


University Press - Monographs

ANU Press

Institution: Australian National University (ANU), Australia


At a glance

  • Australia’s first open access university press, established 2004
  • Academic led publisher
  • Mission is to support research that transforms society and creates national capabilities
  • Vision is to be a world-class publisher enabling the university’s goal of societal transformation.
  • Publishes peer reviewed books textbooks and journals
  • Published 1,000 titles and surpassed 5 million downloads (in 2021 alone) 
  • World leader in the advancement of Indigenous scholarship 


ANU Press is an open access scholarly publisher of peer reviewed books, monographs, textbooks and journals. ANU Press is Australia’s first open access university press, established in 2004 to explore and enable new modes of scholarly publishing. It commenced as ANU E Press, but in 2014 changed the name to ANU Press to reflect the changes the publication industry had seen since its foundation. Its purpose is to produce publications that support the furthering of education and dissemination of knowledge. ANU is a world leader in the advancement of Indigenous scholarship and provides a platform for emerging and established Indigenous scholars and historians to transform contemporary discourse.


ANU Press is part of The Australian National University. Its mission is to publish works of high scholarly value in an open access environment, promoting the dissemination of academic research from across the globe. Its open access publishing practices ensure that publications are available to a diverse global audience, which includes those who are otherwise unable to access quality academic works due to a lack of resources. It covers a broad range of topics including: Asia and Pacific studies, Australian politics, humanities, arts, Indigenous studies and science. The ANU Press Advisory Committee is academic-focused and academic-led through editorial committees and advises the ANU Press and provides guidance on matters relating to the direction, scope and vision of ANU Press. A rigorous peer-review process is used in all possible instances. To date, ANU Press has published nearly 1,000 publications, all of which are freely available. Print copies are available for purchase. 

Issues and challenges

There has been a significant increase in submissions as the Press has become better known, however there has not been a corresponding increase in resources, such as having enough staff with the right skills and capabilities.  It is a complex process to ensure all the great submissions worthy of publication are accepted, but without overcommitting resources. Additionally, identifying peer reviewers and ensuring reviews are completed in a timely manner are increasingly difficult, as those invited to review must fit this work in around their other commitments.

Membership on the editorial board is voluntary and members undertake these duties in addition to their usual teaching and academic workload. This is further impacted when a member relocates to a new institution or retires as their position on the board must be filled, and the board loses the knowledge and expertise of that member.

Sustainability and future thinking

ANU Press has a number of initiatives dedicated to ensuring sustainability and exploring opportunities to develop into the future. Some of these initiatives include:

  • Possible partnerships to resource and/or achieve funding to enable the sustainability of current publishing initiatives.
  • Participating in the Open Access eBook Usage (OAeBU project for better metrics)
  • The open access debate in Australia and around the world is still evolving and where this ends up will likely have an influence on the future of the Press


Researcher profile: Dr Laura Rademaker

Dr Laura Rademaker, Postdoctoral Research Associate and the Deputy Director of the Research Centre for Deep History at the School of History, The Australian National University:

'ANU Press has a great reputation and an excellent record in Aboriginal history … We want to make history accessible, and ANU Press lets us do this.'

The Research: Laura has co-authored and edited two books with ANU Press: Indigenous Self-Determination in Australia (with Tim Rowse) published in September 2020; and The Bible in Buffalo Country (with Sally K. May, Donna Nadjamerrek and Julie Narndal Gumurdul,) which was published in Oct 2020. The Bible in Buffalo Country won the Chief Minister’s Northern Territory History Book Award in 2021 for the most significant book about Northern Territory history published in the previous 12 months. The Book represents a snapshot of the tumultuous first six years of the Church Missionary Society’s mission at Oenpelli and the superintendency of Alfred Dyer between 1925 and 1931. 

Why ANU Press?

Laura and her co-authors chose ANU Press because:

'ANU Press has a great reputation and an excellent record in Aboriginal history. There’s also the rigour of ANU Press’s editorial processes. Most important to us, however, was that ANU Press is open-access online. We want to make history accessible, and ANU Press let us do this.'


More information

Find out more


Roxanne Missingham, University Librarian (Chief Scholarly Information Officer), ANU Library -

Emily Tinker, Deputy Manager, ANU Press, ANU Library -

Case study author

Jayshree Mamtora -