#OAbooks Conference Report

Continuing on the high note that was Open Access Week, Jisc Collections and OAPEN are pleased to release the report of the Open Access Monographs in Humanities and Social Sciences Conference that took place in July 2013 at the British Library.

Collaboration was the key theme of the Open Access Monographs in Humanities and Social Sciences conference which had over 250 delegates from across Europe attend on each day. Librarians, publishers, learned societies, researchers, funders and university administrators came together to discuss how embracing the digital gives scholars an unprecedented opportunity to collaborate more widely.  Speakers repeatedly consigned to history the idea that producing a book is solitary task and that the book is a finished piece of work – the discussions, new modes of production, possibilities for open peer review and commenting are all collaborative processes that are at the heart of humanities and social sciences scholarship.

However, the conference also acknowledged the challenges that come with a move to open access publishing and these new more collaborative models, delving into the issues of funding, quality, licensing, dissemination, prestige, impact and innovation. At no point did the conference lose sight of the significant opportunities that lie ahead. As Martin Hall, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Salford and the conference chair says in his introduction to the conference report  ‘while there’s a good way to go in shaping the future form of scholarly publishing, this conference was an important milestone on the road’.

The conference report provides an overview of all the presentation and sessions and distils the key messages into four points:

  • Open access for monographs is not only possible but necessary if we want to be able to innovate, to communicate and disseminate humanities and social science research widely, and to build a sustainable future for the monograph
  • Effective quality assurance is key to the successful adoption of OA publishing
  • Collaboration throughout the supply chain and across national boundaries will be required
  • We must be flexible and willing to accommodate innovative models, not only to sustain the monograph, but for peer review, impact and reputation.

The report also provides recommendations for consideration by all those involved in scholarly monograph publishing which we hope will help us all collaborate. So come on, let’s have those discussions, let’s explore new innovations and let’s help to make scholarship better.

Read the full report

View the presentations from the conference

View the videos from the conference

Costing OA monographs

Ronald Snijder, Technical Coordinator; Project manager digital publications at OAPEN Foundation has presented some extremely interesting slides on the costs associated with an open access monograph. The analysis has been done by title, rather than by publisher, on the books included in the OAPEN-NL project. He has analysed the print costs and the OA costs (fixed and variable) but excluded profit (surplus as some like to call it) and VAT. The findings show that on average, the OA costs account for 49.1% (5,970 EUR) of the total costs and print costs account for 50.9% (6,196 EUR) of the total. The presentation ends with two proposed funding models for funders to consider and how these models fared for the titles in the pilot. It is a really useful presentation for those considering the costs for OA monographs.

View the presentation below:

OAPEN-NL releases final report

The OAPEN-NL project (our sister project in the Netherlands) yesterday published its final report and it is essential reading for all those interested in OA monograph publishing.

OAPEN-NL has explored the opportunities and possibilities for the open access business model for monographs and compared open access costs and impacts to conventional publishing. Between June 2011 and November 2012, fifty Open Access monographs in various subject areas were published in Open Access by nine participating publishers. For every Open Access title, the publishers provided a similar title that was published in the conventional way. Data were collected about usage, sales and costs, to study the effect of Open Access on monographs.

OAPEN-NL developed four models for cost recovery, used by the participating publishers. OAPEN-NL found no evidence of an effect of Open Access on sales. Neither was there evidence of the effect of Open Access on citations. But there was a clear effect on online usage. Online usage improved for the Open Access books.

The exploration resulted in recommendations to improve Open Access for monographs, and are aimed at all stakeholders in academic book publishing: funders, libraries, publishers and authors. Additional there are overall recommendations and recommendations for future research and for OAPEN.

OA monographs in OA week

This week, as part of Open Access week, Caren Milloy gave a presentation at Dundee University on open access monographs –why, how and what next.

If you are new to open access monographs, you may find this presentation useful as it talks about the role of the monograph in humanities and social science research, why a transition to open access is needed, what is happening in the current environment and an overview of the OAPEN-UK project. It ends with 5 things that researchers should be considering now. The presentation can be viewed below:

All presentations given as part of the OAPEN-UK project are available on the Events page and in Slideshare.