For information on locating Open Monographs please see our ‘Finding Open Access material‘ page.
Is it a Monograph or a Textbook?
‘Unlike a textbook, which surveys the state of knowledge in a field, the main purpose of a monograph is to present primary research and original scholarship ascertaining reliable credibility to the required recipient.’ (Wikipedia, Monograph)
The term used to describe freely available textbooks and teaching materials is Open Educational Resources (OERs). For example, Open Textbooks on the OER Commons, a public digital library of open educational resources.
The benefits of Open Monographs
Making your research monograph available Open Access can have many benefits:
- Your research will reach further – many researchers do not have access to print edition books or institutional access to digital copies. This includes government bodies, charities, international readers and individual researchers. Providing an open copy of your research will allow these researchers to read your work.
- Your research will be cited more. (See this report from Springer-Nature)
- Increased readership via an open copy may increase sales for print copies.
- Authors often maintain copyright allowing them more control over how their research is used and how they personally may reuse their own published research.
- Your work will last longer. It is common for academic monographs to have short print runs and providing an open licensed edition (or Green OA deposit) will allow researchers to access your work long after the print run has passed.
Depositing chapters and full manuscripts (‘Green OA’)
Publishers do not have standard open access policies for book chapters in the same way that they do for journal articles, but some do allow the accepted manuscript to be deposited in an institutional repository or posted on a personal/departmental website. Use the above link to see a compiled google document for publishers and what they allow.
Full Monograph manuscript
Certain publishers will allow the deposit of the accepted manuscript of a traditionally published monograph into an institutional repository (such as the Oxford University Research Archive). This deposit is often subject to a longer embargo period in comparison to the 12/24 month average for articles. However, it is often a useful way to ensure posterity: no cost access to research that may go out of print.
Funding for monographs
Several external funders will provide funding for open monographs, whilst there are also many models which publish without author-paid-funds (see below).
A list of funding sources (developed by OAPEN)
Open Monograph publishing models
[Below edited text courtesy of OAPEN (2021) CC BY-NC]
As open access eBooks are freely available for everyone to read, additional revenue sources are required to help cover the costs of publication. A variety of business models are used to support open access books (see below). Publishers use a variety of different business models to support open access book publishing. Some of these models require a fee to be paid by the author’s funder or institution, but many do not. If a fee is levied, the amount may depend on what other sources of revenue are available to the publisher to subsidise it.
Owing to the diversity of scholarly books and book publishers, there is no single model that could support open access book publishing single-handedly, and it is likely that different publishers will continue to operate different models. There is no single business model that is ‘the best’. All models have their own strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Publishing services will vary depending on the publisher you choose. However, regardless of any fee or subsidy, you should expect your book to be peer-reviewed and as a rule you should expect the same level of publishing service for your open access book as you would for a non-open access book.
Book processing charge (BPC) or Open Access fee
A fee is charged by the publisher in order for the eBook to be made open access; usually all eBook formats will be open access. The fee is typically paid by the author’s funder or institution.
Examples: Bloomsbury, Brill, CUP, De Gruyter, Elsevier, InTechOpen, MDPI, OUP, Springer Nature (incl. Palgrave Macmillan), Stockholm University Press, T&F (incl. Routledge), University of California Press (Luminos)
A version of the ebook is made open access or freely available at no charge to the author; the free access is subsidised by other revenue sources, such as sales of other e-formats, print sales, and/or library membership fees.
Examples: OECD, Open Book Publishers, OpenEdition, Open Humanities Press, Punctum Books
Institutional subsidy / New University Presses (NUP)
An institution subsidises publication at an open access press based at, or associated with, the institution. Fees may not apply or may be discounted; academics based at the institution may receive additional discounts or fee waivers.
Examples: Lever Press, UCL Press, University of Huddersfield Press, White Rose Press
Libraries or other institutions pay an annual membership fee to a publisher that underwrites some costs of making books open access; the member institution and/or its authors may receive additional benefits such as discounts on book processing charges (BPCs).
Examples: Open Book Publishers, Punctum Books, University of California Press (Luminos)
Library consortium (‘’Institutional crowdfunding’’)
Libraries pledge a fee towards making a collection of books open access, covering some or all of the costs between them. Once enough libraries have confirmed participation and the target amount is achieved, the collection is made open access.
Examples: Knowledge Unlatched, Transcript, COPIM
Individuals pledge fees to make a book open access; once enough individuals have confirmed participation, and the target amount is achieved, the book is made open access.
Examples: Unglue.it (typically in collaboration with publishers, e.g., CUP, OBP), self-published authors
Publishing my Thesis as a Monograph
A thesis normally undergoes significant revision before being published as a book. Many publishers do not consider an open access thesis as prior publication or as a barrier to publication of a monograph. Please see the Thesis prior publication and embargoes publisher policies and attitudes list maintained by UKCORR (United Kingdom Council of Open Research Repositories) for a list of publishers
- Open Access Toolkit
- Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)
- Open Access publishing in European Networks OAPEN
- Community-led Open Publishing Infrastructures for Monographs (COPIM)
- Towards an Open Monograph Ecosystem (TOME)
- Open access and monographs evidence review (UUK open access monographs group, 2021)
- OA monographs in the UK (Jisc briefing paper, 2018)
- Landscape study of open access and monographs: policies, funding and publishing in eight European countries (Knowledge Exchange, 2017)
- Guide to OA monograph publishing for arts, humanities, and social science researchers by the OAPEN-UK project. It explains publishing and business models and addresses common concerns such as legal issues, financial concerns, and quality.
- OAPEN-UK Final report, based on a five year study of open access monograph publishing, was released in January 2016.
- Monographs and open access: a report to HEFCE, by Professor Geoffrey Crossick, January 2015. This was commissioned by HEFCE in order to investigate the issues surrounding open access monograph publishing. Prof Crossick’s 2016 article in Insights summarised the project and key findings.
- Book: Martin Paul Eve, Open Access and the Humanities : Contexts, Controversies and the Future (2014).
- Project: Research England’s Community-led Open Publication Infrastructures for Monographs COPIM project (June 2019).