Monographs and edited collections

This page explains how to publish a monograph open access, and highlights resources to help you do so.


On this page

What is a monograph?
The benefits of open monographs
The challenges of open monographs
Including other people’s copyright work in open monographs and other research publications
Funders who include long form publications in their open access policy
Open book case studies
Open monograph resources 


Useful links

Read about open access publication routes

Learn about paying for open access monographs costs

Learn about how to publish book chapters open access

Access the open access books toolkit website


What is a monograph?

A monograph is an in-depth work of academic writing, focusing on one specific subject or an aspect of a subject. Longer than an article, it is published as a single volume. 

A monograph presents primary research and original scholarship and usually has a specialist readership. This makes it different from a textbook, which presents existing knowledge of a subject and is aimed at those who are learning about the field.

The benefits of open monographs

You might be considering open access because your funder requires it for long-form works, but there are other good reasons for doing this.

Open monograph publication has many benefits compared with traditional monograph publishing.

  1. Increased accessibility: By making your research available in an open access format, you can expand its reach beyond those who have access to print edition books or institutional subscriptions to digital copies. 
  2. Greater impact: By removing paywalls and other restrictions, open monographs can reach a larger audience. Open access books are downloaded on average ten times more frequently than non-open access books and cited 2.4 times more often (source: Springer Nature).
  3. Flexibility: Open monographs can be published in a variety of formats, including print-on-demand, PDF and HTML. This allows you to choose the format that best suits your needs and the needs of your readers.
  4. Innovative publishing models: Open monograph publishing is still a relatively new field, meaning you can experiment with innovative publishing models and technologies.
  5. Greater control: When you retain the copyright to your work, you have greater control over how it is used and how you can reuse your own published research. By providing an open access licensed edition or a 'green' open access/self-archived deposit, you can ensure that your work remains accessible to researchers long after a print run has ended.

Back to top

The challenges of open monographs

Open book publishing is an emerging field, so authors may encounter challenges that do not arise in traditional monograph publishing such as the cost of publication, and third-party copyright and open licensing.

Authors may also have concerns about the reputation and prestige of open access publication. There are many publishers that now publish open access books - from large traditional publishers to university presses, to small new open access presses. The review and publication process for open access books should be as rigorous and extensive as traditionally published books.

Including other people’s copyright work in open monographs and other research publications

It is likely that you will want to include work created by other people in your monograph that will be protected by copyright. For example, images, quotations or figures from other publications. This is referred to as ‘third party copyright’ material and it is a good idea to think about this early in the process of writing any scholarly work. The principles of addressing third party copyright in research publications are the same whether the output is openly licensed or not.

Go to the Bodleian Libraries' guidance on copyright

UKRI have provided specific guidance on addressing third party copyright in research publications which addresses common questions about open monographs and the UKRI open access monographs policy. It also includes template documents and text to support rights clearance and risk management.

Read Jisc's UKRI guide on third party copyright

If you have any additional questions about incorporating third party copyright in your work please contact copyright@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Open book case studies

There are as many journeys to open access as there are researchers and books - below are the journeys of a few Oxford authors.

 

Dr Matthew Kerry

For an early career researcher, the publication of their first monograph is a pivotal moment, one that can potentially shape their future career. While many early career researchers recognize the benefits of open access and support expanding accessibility, the question remains: does open access publishing confer the desired level of prestige that these researchers seek for their debut monograph? 

A profile photograph of Dr. Matthew Kerry

Dr Matthew Kerry

Dr Matthew Kerry, an Associate Professor at the Faculty of History in Oxford and a tutorial fellow at Jesus College, grappled with these questions when seeking to publish his first monograph, based on his doctoral research thesis. He was inspired by the open access ethos and wanted to publish a book that people could read, not one priced well out of most people’s reach.  

Beyond concerns of prestige and cost, early career researchers face the daunting task of navigating the often opaque and bewildering world of book publishing. Matthew encountered difficulties marketing and explaining his work to potential publishers. His work focused on 1930s Spain before the Civil War. 

The New Historical Perspectives series

The New Historical Perspectives series, commissioned and edited by the Royal Historical Society, in association with University of London Press and the Institute of Historical Research is a series of history monographs tailored to new authors, including recent Ph.D. graduates. It provides extensive feedback and support, an experience that Matthew found supportive and navigable. This scheme is supported by Oxford University.  

The series employs an intensive workshopping process that involves submitting a book proposal, chapter outline, and sample writing for peer review. Upon acceptance, Matthew worked on the full manuscript, which was then subject to a rigorous review by specialists arranged by the publisher. This in-depth feedback process resembled a second viva examination and allowed Matthew to further refine his manuscript before publication. 

Matthew was reassured by the prestige conferred by a University Press – and as this series publishes open access under a ‘diamond’ model Matthew did not have to pay a fee (or ‘book processing charge’) to make his work open access. Instead, the scheme is sustained through institutional memberships. 

Due to open publication, Matthew's work was easily accessible to readers globally. The book experienced an initial swell in readership, followed by a long tail of sustained interest, demonstrating that open access content allows for ongoing discovery. 

'Unite, Proletarian Brothers! Radicalism and Revolution in the Spanish Second Republic' by Matthew Kerry is available from University of London Press. This book is published open access through the "New Historical Perspectives" series. 

Unite, Proletarian Brothers! Radicalism and Revolution in the Spanish Second Republic, book cover

Unite, Proletarian Brothers! Radicalism and Revolution in the Spanish Second Republic

'Unite, Proletarian Brothers! Radicalism and Revolution in the Spanish Second Republic' available from University of London Press   

Eleanor Peers

The benefits of open access are well known – increased accessibility, greater impact, public benefit – but these often seem to come with the price of greater effort. Open access can be seen by researchers as an extra imposition. However, open access does not need to be more difficult than traditional publishing - but can even be the choice of convenience.

A profile photograph of Eleanor Peers

Eleanor Peers

Eleanor Peers, the Subject Consultant for Slavonic and East European Studies at the Social Science Library of the Bodleian Libraries, contributed a chapter for an edited anthropology volume on lifestyle in Siberia and the Russian north. After publication of this volume was delayed for several years, word of mouth and a positive recommendation from a colleague led the authors to publish this volume via Open Book Publishers (OBP), an open access publishing house.  

Whilst the authors considered open access a benefit, this choice was driven by the desire to publish their work via a reputable publishing platform rather than a commitment to open access principles.

Open book publishers

Open Book Publishers  (OBP) is a non-profit, scholar led, fully open access publisher specializing in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the UK. They don't impose charges on authors for making their work open access. Instead, they sustain their publications through library memberships, grants, and the sale of hard copy editions of their books. This scheme is supported by Oxford University. 

OBP offered a straightforward and easy publishing experience for Eleanor and her co-authors, successfully navigating the sometime challenging aspects of open access publication, including reuse licenses, copyright, and funding. 

Lifestyle in Siberia and the Russian North, book cover

Lifestyle in Siberia and the Russian North

Eleanor’s chapter ‘Soviet Kul’tura in Post-Soviet Identification: The Aesthetics of Ethnicity in Sakha (Yakutia)’ can be found in the edited volume ‘Lifestyle in Siberia and the Russian North’ published open access via Open Book Publishers.

'Lifestyle in Siberia and the Russian North' available via Open Book Publishers 

Professor Caroline Warman

Open access books can be published in a variety of formats, including print-on-demand, ebook, and HTML, allowing authors to choose the format that best suits their needs and the needs of their readers. This increased flexibility enables authors to make multi-media enriched works that would not be possible in a traditionally published hardcopy book.

A profile photograph of Professor Caroline Warman

Professor Caroline Warman

Professor Caroline Warman is Professor of French Literature and Thought at the University of Oxford, and has written extensively on French literature of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. 

Caroline's introduction to open access book publishing occurred whilst translating on a project that involved multimedia elements such as musical pieces, and complex linkages within the work – elements that would be impossible to replicate in a hardcopy format. The online format best suited this content's intricate nature, and a positive experience with the publisher, Open Book Publishers (OBP) brought open publishing to Caroline’s attention.  

Open Book Publishers

Open Book Publishers (OBP) is a non-profit, scholar led, fully open access publisher specializing in the Humanities and Social Sciences in the UK. They don't impose charges on authors for making their work open access. Instead, they sustain their publications through library memberships, grants, and the sale of hard copy editions of their books. This scheme is supported by Oxford University.

The positive experience Caroline had with OBP has led to an ongoing partnership. When deciding on the publication of a complex monograph on Diderot, a subject with much of the potential audience in Europe, Caroline had considered a traditional publication that may be more prestigious on its face but would radically limit the works impact and accessibility – and so with the positive experiences of OA publication and its benefits Caroline published this work OA through Open Book Publishers, helping to open it to a global readership.

Denis Diderot 'Rameau's Nephew', book cover

Denis Diderot 'Rameau's Nephew'

The Atheist's Bible by Caroline Warman, book cover

The Atheist's Bible

Caroline Warman co-translated ‘Denis Diderot 'Rameau's Nephew' - 'Le Neveu de Rameau': A Multi-Media Bilingual Edition’, and is the author of ‘The Atheist's Bible: Diderot's 'Éléments de physiologie', both published open access via Open Book Publishers, amongst other works.  

 

‘Denis Diderot 'Rameau's Nephew' available via Open Book Publishers 

‘The Atheist's Bible: Diderot's 'Éléments de physiologie' available via Open Book Publishers