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This essay explains the background of open-access monograph publishing as developed principally by university presses, often in association with libraries. It begins with discussions at Princeton University Press in the early 1970s about how to deal with the crisis of scholarly monograph publishing and moves on to describe a joint library/press project in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) in the early 1990s. The failure of that project to be funded led the library and press at Penn State to launch a jointly operated Office of Digital Scholarly Publishing in 2005, which supported one of the pioneering programs in open-access monograph publishing. The CIC project, in particular, anticipated the proposal by the Association of American Universities / Association of Research Libraries, announced in June 2014, to subvent the publication of first monographs using an open-access model.