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.


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.

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.

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!

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.

Launch of Open Library of Humanities

The Open Library of Humanities project has launched. The project aims to explore a PLOS-style model for the humanities and social sciences and provide a platform for Open Access publishing that is:

  • Reputable and respected through rigorous peer review
  • Sustainable
  • Digitally preserved and safely archived in perpetuity
  • Non-profit
  • Open in both monetary and permission terms
  • Non-discriminatory (APCs are waiverable)
  • Technically innovative in response to the needs of scholars and librarians
  • A solution to the serials crisis

They currently have a call for participation out so if you are interested in getting involved please contact Martin, Caroline and Tim.

Here at OAPEN-UK we are really pleased by the news of this new project that is focusing on humanities and social science researchers and looking at a sustainable open access future – all experimentation and gathering of evidence is welcome and can only help us move forward.

Directory of Open Access Books Survey

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is currently running a survey to help them learn about needs and expectations with respect to the services, workflows and protocols that they are developing for the DOAB. Please do take part in this survey as it is an important step in terms of establishing quality assurance for open access monograph publishing. Official invite below:

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is a discovery service for Open Access monographs and a metadata dissemination service. DOAB provides a searchable index to peer-reviewed monographs and edited volumes published under an Open Access business model, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository. DOAB allows aggregators, libraries and other service providers to harvest metadata on Open Access monographs in order to integrate these in their catalogues and services.

The questionnaire contains approximately 15 questions and takes about 10 minutes to complete. The collected data will be anonymised.

To participate, please click on this link:

Thank you in advance for your kind contribution, which will help us improve DOAB further. For any further questions regarding the survey or DOAB, please contact: info@oapen.org

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