Open Access Monographs Conference

Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conference
1 and 2 July 2013
Location: The British Library, London, UK

JISC Collections, in partnership with OAPEN Foundation, is holding a two-day international conference intended for all stakeholders in scholarly communications including European research funders, senior institutional managers, publishers, learned societies, librarians and researchers. The conference aims to raise awareness of open access, to increase understanding of key challenges and to identify where international common policies and frameworks could support the adoption of open access monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences (HSS).

In the UK, the release of the Finch Report alongside the Research Councils UK’s policy is causing much concern in the humanities and social science (HSS) community who feel that policy is being developed with little consideration of the specificities of HSS research or regard for the monograph publishing model. The monograph is the gold standard and in many disciplines remains the primary method through which humanities and social science researchers communicate their work. It is also an essential part of career progression and reputation establishment for many young researchers.

In the last two decades, monographs sales have rapidly declined from an average of over 2000 to just 200 – in line with library budgets reductions. In order to support the continued existence of the monograph and to move HSS in line with other areas of scholarly communication and research funder’s policies, a new open access business model is required. However, transitioning to new models requires institutional and cultural change alongside experimentation, testing and consultation.

Now is the time for consultation, collaboration and commitment to explore. Monographs received few paragraphs in the Finch Report and at previous conferences and events questions about open access questions about monograph publishing have been met with shrugs. Sponsored by the AHRC and ESRC and hosted by The British Library, this conference will be the first to tackle open access monographs in the humanities and social sciences head on.

Key topics of the conference will include new open access business models, maintaining quality, the future of peer-review, creative commons licensing and international policy development. Current confirmed speakers include:

To support HSS researchers, the second day of the conference will include practical sessions on topics including ORCID, funding open access monographs, knowing your rights, finding a reputable OA publisher, promoting your book and altmetrics. There will also be sessions for research funders, publishers, learned societies and institutional staff to discuss cross industry and international issues such as funding policies, quality assurance, common standards, metadata, dissemination and discovery and infrastructure to support archiving and preservation.

Delegates that attend this conference will leave feeling informed of the relevant issues and equipped with useful information to assist in future discussions and decision making within their organisation.

The full programme will be released shortly.

If you would like any further information on this conference, or are interested in getting involved please contact Caren Milloy, Head of Projects, JISC Collections or Eelco Ferwerda, Director of OAPEN Foundation.

OAPEN-UK Project Update Jan 2013

As the next meeting of the OAPEN-UK Steering Group approaches (7 Feb) we are working on a number of updates to be discussed.

What is the impact of Open Access on print and electronic sales?

  • We have collected the usage data for all of the titles in the pilot – this includes the download statistics from the OAPEN Library, the publishers’ platforms and Google Books.
  • We have also collected the sales data for the print and electronic versions of each title and have additional statistics from Nielsen. What we are working on now is finding a methodology to allow us to compare the data for the titles that will be statistically sound. This is not an easy task as we have to take into account the publication dates, previous print runs etc. We will present scenarios to the Steering Group for them to discuss and agree.

What is the value that authors and publishers bring to the publishing process?

  • We have completed two workshops looking at the monograph publishing process – one with authors / researchers and one with publishers. We have collected in detail each and every step of the process and who is doing what and the end result looks a little like this! 
  • The point of this work is to address the misconceptions that we have seen arise around the value that each party brings to the table and to help stakeholders appreciate and understand each other! We hope to make infographics from this work that highlight effort, processes and costs.

What impact will open access monographs have on HSS learned societies?

  • There has been much discussion following the release of the statement from the 21 history journals and in relation to the RLUK open access policy. There are questions over the impact on learned societies and HSS research that they feel is not being accounted for. As part of our research we are doing two case studies: one with the Royal Historical Society and one with the Regional Studies Association to explore their monograph / book series publishing in more detail and discuss if moving to an open access model will impact on their business models and the value they provide to their members.

We will also be discussing the institutional case studies and publisher interviews that we have planned for this year. All the research we are doing in this project, which is funded by the AHRC and Jisc,  is to support stakeholders in making informed decision about moving to open access monograph publishing. We are listening to each stakeholder, gathering evidence and sharing all we learn openly. We will continue to share all findings in the Research Findings section of the website.

Launch of Open Library of Humanities

The Open Library of Humanities project has launched. The project aims to explore a PLOS-style model for the humanities and social sciences and provide a platform for Open Access publishing that is:

  • Reputable and respected through rigorous peer review
  • Sustainable
  • Digitally preserved and safely archived in perpetuity
  • Non-profit
  • Open in both monetary and permission terms
  • Non-discriminatory (APCs are waiverable)
  • Technically innovative in response to the needs of scholars and librarians
  • A solution to the serials crisis

They currently have a call for participation out so if you are interested in getting involved please contact Martin, Caroline and Tim.

Here at OAPEN-UK we are really pleased by the news of this new project that is focusing on humanities and social science researchers and looking at a sustainable open access future – all experimentation and gathering of evidence is welcome and can only help us move forward.