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.


Oxford University Press (OUP) joins OAPEN-UK, a collaborative research project exploring open access (OA) scholarly monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences. OAPEN-UK is co-funded by Jisc and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is gathering data in order to help funders, authors, publishers and institutions make informed decisions on the future of OA monographs.

OAPEN-UK marks OUP’s first move into the developing world of open access scholarly monographs. Mandy Hill, Publishing Director, Global Academic Business, OUP, said: ‘We’re excited to join the OAPEN-UK project. OUP has a proud history as a major publisher of scholarly monographs and we are committed to their global dissemination. OAPEN-UK, with its objectives to develop awareness of and data around OA monographs, will play an important part for us in working with the scholarly community to determine the best business models for the future. ’

‘The participation of OUP in OAPEN-UK marks a significant step in the recognition and acceptance that OA monographs will be part of the scholarly publishing future’ said Caren Milloy, Head of Projects at Jisc Collections. ‘The inclusion of the 18 OUP titles will strengthen the usage and sales data we are collecting to compare the performance of open access titles against non open access titles and will complement the knowledge and expertise feeding into the research.’

The OUP titles cover a range of subjects including law, politics, economics and the early church and are freely available as PDFs to be read and re-used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives Licence (CC BY-NC-ND. The titles are available via the OUP catalogue, Oxford Scholarship Online, OAPEN Library, and they are also 100% available in Google Books. More information on the OUP titles and the OAPEN-UK project can be found here.


For further details, please contact:

Caren Milloy, Head of Projects, Jisc Collections
c.milloy@jisc-collections.ac.uk | +44 (0) 203 0066003

Rhodri Jackson, Senior Publisher, Oxford Open
rhodri.jackson@oup.com | +44 (0) 1865 353510

A unified approach to OAbooks

Caren Milloy and Eelco Ferwerda have published an article in Research Europe that explore the need for a unified approach across Europe to support a vibrant market for open-access monographs. Read the article.

Learned societies & OAbooks

Our case study of the Regional Studies Association is now available to read. This learned society case study explores their current monograph publishing programme and how income from publications supports their work researchers across the world.

The case study, alongside the one with the Royal Historical Society provide a really useful overview of the contribution of learned societies to the humanities and social sciences and the challenges and opportunities they face in transitioning to open access monograph publishing.

New titles added to the e-books for FE project

Over 50 new titles have been added to Jisc Collections’ e-books for FE project in time for the new academic year. Like the existing 3,000+ titles, they are available for free to any FE institution that registers for the agreement.

We have invested in the new content to keep the collection up-to-date and relevant to changing FE curriculums. It was procured and selected in consultation with representatives of the FE sector earlier this summer.

Most of the new titles are published by Hodder and Stoughton, with some from Taylor & Francis, and they include A level course books as well as BTEC, CACHE and NVQ textbooks.

The titles are available to access now on the Ebrary platform, and their MARC records are free to download from the Ebrary partner portal.

Learned Society Case Studies

Quite early in our research programme, we picked up on the importance of learned societies in the humanities and social sciences. We ran a focus group for learned society representatives and identified some important themes about the role of publishing in their activities and business models. We subsequently ran two case studies with learned societies in order to better understand the detailed relationships between their publishing work and their disciplinary support activities.

The first case study was with the Royal Historical Society. This well-established and prestigious association is run by officers, mostly academics, who are responsible for managing its publications, events and researcher support activities. We interviewed six officers and synthesised the findings, which can be found here.

The second case study was with the Regional Studies Association. This is a slightly newer society with a strong inter-disciplinary focus and a larger professional staff than the RHS. We interviewed two staff members and several officers (again, mostly academics). The findings are currently being finalised and will be shared shortly.

OAPEN-UK Project update May 2013

It’s been a little while since we checked in on the OAPEN-UK project but we have been very busy since the steering group meeting in February this year. Here’s an update on some of the key things we’ve been working on.

  • We’ve completed the case studies with the Royal Historical Society and with the Regional Studies Association. The RHS case study can be seen in our Research Findings section: the RSA is being finalised and should be published by the end of the month.
  • Our programme of publisher interviews begins later this month. We’re working with all kinds of publishers – commercial, university presses and new open access start-ups – to investigate some of the issues that they might face in implementing an open access business model for monographs. We’re trying to make sure that we interview two or three people from each publisher, to get a really rounded view of the challenges and opportunities from a number of perspectives.
  • We’re also busy setting up our institutional case studies with Sussex, York, Lincoln and Nottingham: these will begin in June. Again, we’ll be talking to several people in each university – between six and ten, usually – to get a really comprehensive picture of what they think might be the main issues in supporting open access monographs within their institution. We’re keen to understand practical issues, but also cultural ones – the university’s ability to influence the behaviours and preferences of researchers, and the pressure points where views would need to be changed if open access monographs are to be accepted (and not just by researchers!).
  • We’re working on a guide to Creative Commons licences for monograph authors in the humanities and social sciences. Our research so far has shown that this is a major concern for academics, and it’s clear that the information that’s currently available can be confusing for them. We are putting together a guide, responding to some of the concerns about Creative Commons expressed in Government enquiries and other places, which will be checked by legal representatives and edited by academics to ensure it is reliable and relevant. We’re excited about this one, and hope to launch it at the Open Access Monogrpahs Conference in July.
  • We’re still plugging away at the quantitative data. We’ve worked with the steering group to develop a methodology that we’re all comfortable with, but it requires some additional data before it’s really robust so we’ve decided not to release the first year of data just yet. We’re hopeful that after our next round of data collection in September we will be ready to share some early findings.

We’ve also been busy attending meetings and conferences, talking about the OAPEN-UK project, and have had enthusiastic responses to lots of our findings. The researcher survey from last year was a particular hit at the recent UKSG conference – we ran a ‘pub quiz’ for attendees at our breakout session and were surprised at how difficult it was for them to guess the answers to questions about researchers’ publishing habits and open access views. An educational experience all round!

Conference registration now open!

Registration for the Open Access Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences conference is now open. The conference is taking place at the British Library on the 1 and 2 July 2013. Visit the conference pages from more details.

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).

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.

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