So far, with the exception of the Wellcome Trust, most open access policies have been focussed on journal articles and some conference proceedings. Does this mean that books and book chapters are getting left behind? If the “OA Advantage” (Day 2) is true, what are the implications for these publication types, most frequently found in Humanities & Social Science research? Does it mean they will become less important? Have less impact?
Open Access Monographs
HEFCE are taking a close interest in how monographs can also be made open access for future REFs. Their report from Jan 2015 made a number of recommendations in this area, mostly in terms of watching what happens. So what is the current situation?
- The Wellcome Trust is the first major funder to provide funding to make monographs open access. This would mean researchers could take up the “open access” monograph packages offered by many leading publishers. These usually come at a price: for example, Routledge currently charge £10,000. There are also smaller format options such as the Palgrave Pivot which are cheaper (not much).
- Innovative Open Access publishing projects such as Knowledge Unlatched or the Open Library of Humanities take a different route, seeking to raise funding from University libraries who are willing to support open access for the general good (as well as their own benefit)
A good example of an open access monograph is the book by Martin Paul Eve: “Open Access and the Humanities“. Click on the “Open Access” icon to access PDFs. Or browse open access academic books in your subject at the OAPEN website. Of course, open access books are necessarily in electronic format. For those who prefer print, there will always be a cost involved.
Can book chapters be open access?
Whilst some have raised doubts about the value of writing book chapters, they continue to be a major source of research for humanities and social science in particular. Some publishers DO permit authors to make a book chapter open by self-archiving but this is not so easy to investigate (there is no equivalent to the Sherpa Romeo database for journals). Some publisher websites will give information on this or there is a communally-maintained Google sheet that gives general guidance. Contacting the publisher direct may be necessary and providing them with examples (such as the publisher Brill) can be a useful push in the right direction.
Even though the core open access policy for the REF excludes book chapters and monographs, HEFCE are still encouraging researchers to make everything open access if they can for additional credit in the environment section of the REF submission. So it’s worth exploring the options for making your book publications open access.
For the the final day of our “5 Days of OA”, we will look at “OA and the Law”.