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.