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While open access started as a response to developments in journal publishing, attention is now turning to scholarly monographs. Using the experience of University of Calgary Press, as well as understandings from a neo-institutional framework of analysis, this paper examines how current open access scholarly publishing behaves at the nexus of three intersecting and competing interests: a) an uncoordinated policy environment that applies individual, institutional, and sectorial criteria; b) the exogenous market and technological pressures on contemporary publishing; and c) the embedded, symbiotic role that scholarly publishers play in academe. These factors have combined to create subtle, unintended, and potentially negative outcomes. For any implementation of a large-scale open access funding or mandate to succeed in supporting a sustainable dissemination of diverse, independent, and relevant scholarly publishing, much greater formal policy coordination and a normative and financial commitment to developing new tools for measuring impact, success, and program effectiveness are required.