Many thanks to everyone who attended our forum last month (part of the Bodleian Libraries Open Access series) with publishers, policymakers and funders, to discuss current challenges and initiatives in Open Access monograph publishing. Special thanks go to our visiting speakers:
Cecy Marden: Wellcome Trust [presentation]
- Wellcome Trust extended its OA policy in 2013 to scholarly monographs and book chapters.
- Excludes textbooks, reference works, collections edited (not authored) by grantholders, fiction.
- Funding can be obtained by researchers from block grant awarded to their research institution.
- Policy and FAQ are available on the WT Medical Humanities webpages. See also How to deposit.
- Concerns raised: not all publishers offer compliant routes, restricting academic freedom; third-party images and licensing; “Price-gouging” (inflated Monograph Processing Charges).
Rhodri Jackson: OUP (Oxford Open) and OAPEN [presentation]
- OUP is the world’s largest University Press; 400-500 scholarly monographs pa.
- Participant in OAPEN-UK JISC pilot with other scholarly publishers.
- 18 pairs of matched titles (similar price, topic, print run). 1 per pair randomly selected for OA.
- The OA titles were viewed 25% more times than non-OA titles on the OUP website.
- But sales patterns broadly similar for both books (OA and non-OA) in each matched pair.
Frances Pinter: Knowledge Unlatched [presentation]
- Knowledge Unlatched is a non-profit collaboration to explore an alternative route to OA.
- Effectively a consortium of libraries paying a fee to publishers to make their books OA.
- Pilot project: 28 Humanities/Social Science books from 13 publishers. Recruited 297 libraries from 24 countries, each paying $1195 towards making the package freely available online.
- The KU pilot proved the concept (and went on to win the 2014 IFLA/Brill Open Access Award).
- Issues: pricing; discovery & search; usage & impact. Plans: KU South (Africana), other languages.
- Vision: to make HSS books are as accessible as OA science journals.
Geoffrey Crossick: HEFCE Monographs & Open Access report [presentation]
Prof Crossick has been commissioned to report to HEFCE on the state of play of OA monographs.
- The role of his report is to move the debate forward and inform the Funding Councils, not to make policy recommendations. It is not intended as an equivalent to the Finch Report of 2012.
- It will not affect requirements for the next REF (expected in 2020).
- HEFCE need to lay down markers in preparation for REFs during the 2020s, but this will be a long process and there needs to be time to adapt practices.
- The humanities & social science sector must shape the future, not respond to it.
- Challenges: the culture of the monograph (why is it valuable); what happens to Learned Societies’ business models; how does this affect early-career researchers, e.g. first book/doctoral dissertations; licences/third-party rights/permissions.
- Opportunities: defining and building on innovation as OA increases (e.g. can the monograph be sustained or even enhanced with technology); role of universities & libraries in contributing to OA monograph model (e.g. UCL Open Publishing).
- More information about the HEFCE project and the Expert Reference Group can be found on the HEFCE OA Monographs webpages.