OAPEN-UK final report

OAPEN-UK, a five year study into open access monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences has today released its final report.

The OAPEN-UK project, funded by Jisc and the AHRC, provides a comprehensive and openly available dataset of research on open access monograph publishing in the UK. Led by Jisc Collections in collaboration with funders, researchers, publishers, learned societies, universities and libraries the project has undertaken extensive qualitative and quantitative research in order to provide an evidence base to help stakeholders make informed decisions about transitioning to open access monograph publishing.

The final report synthesis all the findings from the study and provides a set of recommendations to facilitate an effective transition to open access monograph publishing.

We look forward to working collaboratively with you to take forward the recommendations in support of humanities and social science research. If you would like to get involved, please do contact me at caren.milloy@jisc.ac.uk




OAPEN-UK matched pairs pilot final report

The OAPEN-UK matched pairs pilot: final repot outlines the main findings of the pilot which ran from September 2011 – August 2014 and attempted to understand – broadly speaking – what happens when you make a book available in open access.

This covers the effect on sales and usage of the book, but also how publishers and their supply chains are affected when trying to make an open access monograph available. Five publishers submitted pairs of titles to the pilot, matched as closely as possible on a number of areas. The project team randomly selected one title from each pair to be made open access, and the other title was used as a control. A sixth publisher joined the project in September 2013.

The experiment was designed to operate in the real world. It tells us about what happens when you try to make a book open access in a system which is designed to sell, and where open access publishing is a very small proportion of overall business. The results are therefore time-limited. It is unlikely that we would find the same results in a system where open access for monographs was a bigger proportion of overall business; where it was familiar to publishers and users (both individuals and libraries) and where systems and services were designed to accommodate its needs.

The real-world environment for monograph publishing meant that it would be impossible to collect the data we would need to undertake meaningful statistical analysis of the two groups with the sample sizes available to us; nor would we ever be able to control for all the variables within the project. This report therefore presents descriptive data from the experiment, and also reflects upon what the publishers have learned from their participation; in particular, we share some lessons for other publishers who might be considering an open access monograph publication stream. Readers seeking statistical analysis could look at the results of the OAPEN-NL project, which learned from many of the challenges faced by OAPEN-UK.


Guide to OA monograph publishing for researchers

Our guide to open access monograph publishing for arts, humanities and social science researchers is now available. It aims to help researchers to understand the opportunities and challenges of publishing a scholarly monograph in open access.

Benchmarking year 3 report

The OAPEN-UK project has been benchmarking the attitudes and perceptions of the authors who have titles in the pilot and members of the steering group. The final year report is now available to read.

OA monograph business models

In March 2015, we ran a series of workshops in which publishers, researchers and librarians were asked to discuss and identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of a range of business models for OA monographs. The workshop report is now available.

OA Business Models Report

In March 2015, we ran a series of workshops in which publishers, researchers and librarians were asked to discuss and identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of a range of business models for OA monographs. The workshop report is now available.

Knowledge shared worldwide

One of elements of open access is that, without any barriers to access, it has the potential to widen readership – to make what was once only accessible to those that could afford it – open to all. The UK monograph market sells on average about 200 – 300 per title, mainly to libraries, and there is a concern that the economics of the book market are restricting access to knowledge, especially in the humanities and social sciences. It is therefore extremely pleasing to see (check out the picture and link below) that the titles that we have made open access as part of the OAPEN-UK project are being downloaded worldwide. Whilst this is not concrete evidence that open access increases access (as we don’t have equivalent stats from before the titles we made OA to do the same mapping), it is none the less a positive story and one that we wanted to start the New Year with.

Downloads of OAPEN-UK titles

Click on the link to see the number of downloads by country: Downloads of the OAPEN-UK titles

#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

Why did I join OAPEN-UK: an author’s view

Andrew Pettinger is the author of The Republic in Danger. Published by OUP, Andrew talks of his reasons for accepting the invitation to participate in OAPEN-UK and make his book open access.  Andrew writes ‘The obligation to share findings with as many people as possible is fundamental to scholarship.’  You can read his blog online on the OUP blog.


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:

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