To provide the AI community with a not-for-profit publisher with a heavy-weight scientific board that publishes open access proceedings, monographs and collected works which are available electronically for free and in hard copy at close to cost.
Scientific publishing is big business, worth over $2 Billion annually in sales. Around one quarter of output is in books. Journal publishing has benefitted immensely from the competition provided by open and online operations. By comparison, book publishing is old fashioned and fails to serve the scientific community well.
There are many problems. Books are over-priced. Publishers are reluctant to produce new editions. Open access to books is very rare. Authors get limited feedback from publishers about sales or downloads. Publishers have been slow to embrace the full potential of electronic publishing. We could go on. As with journals, much of the value in book publishing comes from us, the scientists. We write the text. We review. We edit. With print on demand and electronic publishing, it is not hard to reproduce much of what publishers provide
Online journals like the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research (JAIR) have helped transform scientific publishing. We believe that book publishing can be transformed in a similar way. JAIR's publisher, the AI Access Foundation has therefore decided to become a not-for-profit publisher of scientific books that cover the full range of topics in AI. All books will be open access, available for free electronically. The books published by AI Access will be selected by a heavy weight scientific board, and will always be peer reviewed. An online whitepaper goes into more details.