Quick overview of some OA news

Over the summer there have been some great discussions taking place and new technical developments in the open access scholarly monograph arena. Here is a quick overview with some links:

1. If you are interested in how to establish and maintain the quality of open access monographs and what impact Creative Commons has then I really recommend that you read the discussion that took place recently on the DOAB email list which has been put up on the DOAB blog. Some of the questions being asked and the comments / ideas / suggestions are really enlightening and show a variety of viewpoints. This really demonstrates the difficulties that will be faced in a transition to OA monograph publishing. You can join the mailing list at: https://listserv.gwdg.de/mailman/listinfo/doab

2. There have been a lot of blog posts about monographs, peer review processes, publishing, funding models and new trends. We are capturing these all at our Diigo OAPEN-UK Group. I think my favourite at the moment is the LSE Impact of the Social Sciences blog which has had a great range of guest bloggers and some extremely fascinating discussions.

3. I’m hoping that you will have all seen the results of the researcher survey that we undertook with HSS researchers – we had 690 responses and it is fascinating data. Three of my highlights (Warning! my interpretations) are:

  • The major push for CC BY (as we have seen in STEM) is going to be met with some major resistance in the humanities and social sciences only a tiny percentage of researchers would be happy to publish their monograph under this licence. 90% prefer the most restrictive CC licence.
  • Researchers do not want to have to do marketing and promotion, dissemination etc and rely heavily on their publishers to provide these services. In fact, it’s what they are most happy with their publishers about. Which begs the question – if they are so happy with the marketing and promotion and dissemination efforts of their publishers, and primarily pick them for their expertise at getting books to the right readers – is there really a monograph crisis (given the reported decline in sales) or do researchers not really care once their book has been published? Is this really about what academics want or what we think that they want? I’m being flippant and controversial here but this really does need some further exploration!
  • Core university funds underpin the majority of HSS research so if we are to move to a Gold OA model, then central pots of money to support HSS research will be critical. Pro VCs of research and senior management have to engage now for OA monographs to progress

4. The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) has 1146 academic peer-reviewed books from 31 publishers and has just released a new search box tool which you can drop into a website and allow you to search DOAB and access the books directly from your website. They have also just released MARCXML metadata to enable easier incorporation into library catalogues.

Our authors don’t care about financial compensation

We have 58 books in the OAPEN-UK pilot – 29 are available open access and 29 are available under the normal route to market. In November 2011 we sent out a survey to the authors of these titles and to members of our Steering Group which includes 5 publishers, some researchers, librarians and research council reps. The survey asked a variety of questions about their attitudes and perceptions and provides us with a baseline to track changes against as we progress through the project. What we are specifically looking at is if participation in the project changes their perceptions towards open access.

Of the 31 authors who responded, (it’s a small sample size but the findings are supported by our researcher survey which had 690 responses), financial compensation is not important and was ranked very low compared to career advancement and releasing information for social progress and knowledge in society.

Read the full article published in Insights to find out more about our authors and steering group’s perceptions and view the survey data in our baseline presentation.

What do humanities and social science researchers really think?

We surveyed humanities and social science researchers on their attitudes towards open access publishing, their awareness of Creative Commons licensing, the value they place on the services provided by publishers, how they feel about self-publishing, and their preferences and priorities as both readers and authors of monographs.

The full results are fascinating and we really recommend that you read the full presentation but here is a little taster for you:

  • 690 usable responses – 82% UK based – 60% Humanities / 40% Social Science
  • 53% are awareness of OA and 38% familiar with open access (that pretty high)
  • Around 50% of researchers think it is ok to make a profit from OA publishing as long as that profit goes back into supporting the discipline or making more OA content available – 20% think you can make a profit and use it however you like and 20% think that you can make a profit but only to cover costs. This is interesting for business modelling
  • Almost 60% of researchers are aware of Creative Commons but 40% are not (still lots to be done here)
  • Almost 80% would prefer the most restrictive CC licence (CC BY NC ND) but what is interesting is that if you look across the responses it is clear that researchers are more concerned about protecting their work than it being used commercially as CC BY ND is preferred over CC BY NC. This is extremely interesting and will be the focus on more of our work
  • Researchers value the distribution and marketing services of publishers the most – oh and that they give them a print book at the end!
  • In correlation to the above, researchers as authors are least willing to perform marketing and distribution  – more to discover here in understanding what it is that authors think their publishers do, especially in light of recent blogs on this topic
  • Early career academics are more willing to consider self-publishing than later career researchers
  • Of the 397 that had published a mono, book chapter or co-authored a mono since 2000, 45% said that their research was underpinned by cure university funds, 22% from research council grants and 20% from another funder – central pots for HSS researchers to use to fund OA monographs (if it is a gold model) is going to be critical
  • Of the 397 – the monograph authors picked their publishers because 1st they are good at disseminating to the right audience, 2nd cause they have good QA process, 3rd cause they are the best in their filed and 4th because they were the only ones interested!
  • Back to the 690 – 60% had read a monograph in the last couple of days – 39% had bought it and 33% had got it via the library
  • Phd students more likely to rely on the library that late career academics
  • Print still dominates reading preferences but less so for early career academics
  • Perception of the 690 is that open access will have negative impacts on quality, reputation and reward but will be brilliant for availability and efficiency – so clearly any open access model really has to address quality and think about impacts in terms of the REF and reputations. Oh and no one really cares about royalties!

The presentation provides so much more information than above and we are going to have enjoy using this data to inform the future of OAPEN-UK. We welcome your comments and thoughts.

I would like to thank @ellencollins for all her work in pulling together the data and creating the presentation.

from @carenmilloy

OAPEN-UK prize draw winners announced

First, let me start by thanking everyone that completed the OAPEN-UK researcher survey. We are extremely pleased to have received so many responses and very grateful to you for giving up your time to help inform our research.

Although we had to discount some responses, we ended up with 690 usable responses with around 80% coming from researchers based here in the UK.

We are presenting the results of the survey to our steering group at the end of June 2012 and will then make the results live on the website.

In the meantime, we can announce the lucky winners of the prize draw. We had nine prizes available – three £100 vouchers, three £50 vouchers and three £25 vouchers. Members of the JISC Collections Electronic Information Resources Working Group were tasked with randomly picking numbers from the 610 respondents that provided an email address. The first three picked receive the £100 vouchers and so on.

And the winners are…

£100 voucher

1. Susanne Greenhalgh, Principal Lecturer in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Roehampton
2. Cecile De Cat, Senior Lecturer and Director of Linguistics & Phonetics, University of Leeds
3. Anne James, PhD candidate, History, University of Sheffield

£50 voucher

4. Umut Korkut, Lecturer of Economic Studies and International Business, Caledonian Business School, Glasgow Caledonian University [Umut very politely asked me to promote his new book Liberalization Challenges in Hungary: Elitism, Progressivism and Populism although it is not available in open access (something to consider next time Umut!)]
5. Michael Marten, Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies, School of Languages, Cultures and Religions, University of Stirling
6. Caroline Jones, Assistant Professor / Lecturer, Social Work and Social Policy, University of Salford

£25 voucher

7. Katie Collins, Senior Research Fellow, Bristol Business School, University of West of England
8. Jill Llewellyn-Williams, Deputy Director of Continuing Professional Development Framework, Pathway Leader for BA Secondary Education French Pathway, Senior Lecturer, Cardiff School of Education, Cardiff Metropolitan University
9. Marina Micke, PhD Candidate, School of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures, The University of Manchester

Congratulations to all the winners and thank you again to everyone.

OAPEN-UK sharing findings

We have been out and about at events presenting some of the initial findings from the research programme. You can view presentations and see what events are coming up on our events page.

The most recent event was the 16th International Conference on Electronic Publishing 2012 (#elpubconf) held in Guimarães, Portugal. The conference was quite small but with excellent papers all of which are available in the conference proceedings: Social Shaping of Digital Publishing: Exploring the Interplay Between Culture and Technology – Proceedings of the 16th International Conference on Electronic Publishing or in open access in the Elpub Digtial Library. I was extremely pleased to have heard Kathleen Fitzpatrick talk about her work and her book Planned Obsolescence which I am currently reading. I think this should be compulsory reading for everyone! There were many other fascinating presentations covering open access, monographs, ebook design and I presented on the findings from the focus groups and the benchmarking survey and the full paper (written with Ellen Collins and Graham Stone) is available online.

At the very start of June, was the Repository Support Project event on scholarly communications and new developments in open access. This was a fantastic event and a perfect opportunity for me to discuss some of the issues and challenges we are facing in terms of integrating open access scholarly monographs into institutional repositories. There are a number of blog posts and write ups from the event and the twitter tag is #rspevent.

Over the coming months, we are presenting at a number of conferences in Europe including LIBER and COASPA. Sharing and discussing the project at an international level is really important – we hope to find common solutions and develop new tools and standards through shared effort.

We hope to see you at some of the events and if you are unable to join us, please do follow @oapenuk #oapenuk on twitter to stay up to date.

OAPEN-UK literature review

Interested in the open access books landscape? Ellen Collins, my project partner, has undertaken an initial review of the literature available.

I would really recommend that anyone interested or undertaking research or work in the area of open access books, especially monographs, read the review. Of course, even as Ellen finished the review, a number of new articles, news items and policy revisions were released – so this is version 1 and we will update it as we progress through the project.

To help keep up to date on all new information and literature, we are tagging everything of interest in our OAPEN-UK Diigo Group. Anyone can join the group or set up an RSS feed to get updates every time we tag something of interest.

OAPEN-UK in the ALISS Quarterly

The ALISS (Association of Librarians and Information Professionals in the Social Sciences) Quarterly April 2012 includes a short article on OAPEN-UK. Access is available online to ALISS members or you can read the article here / below.

OAPEN-UK: exploring open access scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences
Caren Milloy, Head of Projects, JISC Collections

OAPEN-UK is a 4 year research project gathering evidence to help stakeholders take informed decisions about a move towards an open access model for scholarly monograph in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). It is an extremely timely project for a number of key reasons:

  1. Print sales of scholarly monographs are in decline – in the US, between 1980 and 2000,”a monograph’s average library sales plummeted from around 2,000 copies in 1980, to 1,000 in the late 1980s, to 500 in the 1990s, to a little more than 200 in the early years of this century.”2
  2. Library spending on print books is in decline – in 2010, the Research Information Network’s Trends in the finances of UK higher education libraries: 1999 – 2009 reported that ”between 2004 and 2009, expenditure on print books fell in real terms by 13% across the sector.”3
  3. Library monograph budgets are under pressure support journal expenditure
  4. Publishers and university presses are collaborating to offer electronic subscription based access to scholarly monographs – in the last 12 months a number of new initiatives  have been launched, OUP’s University Press Scholarship Online, CUP’s University Publishing Online, Project MUSE and Books at JSTOR
  5. A recent OAPEN-UK publisher focus group4 estimated sales of e-monographs currently only account for around 6% of publishers’ revenue.

The scholarly monograph, the gold standard for academic excellent in many HSS disciplines, is under threat. The effective dissemination of the monograph is critical to fostering a world class, vibrant and innovative research environment, but with print sales declining at a higher rate than e-sales are increasing and new models continuing to rely on dwindling library budgets, are we at risk of stifling HSS scholars?

Open Access Publishing

Relatively little research has been undertaken with regards to the impacts of OA in HSS and even less in relation to digital publishing of monographs. To enable us to really assess the prospect of an OA model for scholarly monographs, and to take account of our UK specific policies and processes, we need to gather a body of evidence.

Open access (OA) is a model that could help to increase dissemination and reduce the burden on libraries. OA does not limit access to those that pay – subscribers, particular institutions or one country. OA publishing is international; thereforeonce a title is made available online under a Creative Commons licence it can be downloaded and placed on a multitude of platforms, thus increasing the potential for widerdissemination and readership of a title to all users across the world.

OAPEN-UK, follows on from the recent European project, Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN)5 and is taking an evidence based approach to gathering data, investigating attitudes and perceptions and gathering impacts.

Introducing OAPEN-UK

OAPEN-UK is collaborating with publishers, authors, research funders, academics and institutions to gather evidence to help stakeholders make some informed decisions about how they may work towards an OA model for HSS monographs, if indeed it is feasible.It is piloting the OAPEN model, where a PDF version of the title is made available in OA using a Creative Commons licence, with the publisher also makingavailable the print version for sale to help recoup costs. This hybrid model recognises that a move to OA will not happen overnight and that while a transition takes place, publishers will continue to publish print – just as academics will continue to read print and want print versions for reward and recognition.

Palgrave Macmillan, Taylor & Francis, Berg Publishers, Liverpool University Press and University Wales Press are all participating in OAPEN-UK and have had HSS scholarly monographs selected for inclusion in the pilot6, which commenced on the 1 September 2011. For each monograph title submitted, the publisher had to submit a matched title to make a pair. The titles were matched as closely as possible on publication date, subject area, age to print sales ratio, price and format history. A total of 58 HSS scholarly monographswere selected, making 29 pairs.

A title from each pair has been randomly placed in either the Experimental Group or the Control Group.The Experimental Group titles are available on the OAPEN Library under a Creative Commons licence. In addition, the titles can be made discoverable via the publisher’s own website, institutional repositories, the authors own website and via a 100% view in Google Book Search.

The Control Group titles are available as ebooks for sale under the publishers normal licensing and route to market models. The titles are discoverable as per the publisher’s standard processes, but only a 10% preview in Google Book Search.

For both the Experimental Group titles and the Control Group titles, libraries and readers will be able to purchase print copies and where the publisher is making them available, ebook device friendly editions such as ePub.

The pilot will allow sales and usage data to be gathered for the experimental and control group titles and to evaluate differences between the groups.

OAPEN-UK Research Plan

A large programme of research7is being undertaken as part of the project, thisincludesannual benchmarking surveys, focus groups, interviews and surveys with key stakeholders. By combining the quantitative data from the pilot with sales and usage data, three key questions will be addressed:

1. How might policies, processes and mechanisms need to change to enable OA publication of monographs?

  • What is the most appropriate business model for OA monographs?
  • What is the impact on organisational policies?
  • What technical changes may be required in order to move to OA?

2. What are the measurable effects of a move to OA monographs?

  • On readership/usage?
  • On sales?
  • On citations?

3. How do perceptions of OA monograph publication change among participants during the project?

  • Perceived risks and benefits to various stakeholders of publishing in OA format?
  • Perceived quality of OA monographs?

Year 1 of the plan includes an initial literature review, an annual benchmarking survey, focus groups and initial scoping interviews / surveys.

Current Findings

The first annual benchmarking survey (which will track the changing opinions of all project participants – authors, publishers, AHRC, JISC, members of the steering group towards OA monograph publication) and the first round of focus groups have now been completed.

Focus groups have been held with publishers, researchers (as both authors and readers), institutional representatives (including librarians, IR staff and research managers), learned societies, ebook aggregators and research funders.Key themes that arose included metadata, versioning, preservation, delivery and the user experience, quality and prestige, business models and risks and consistency. The findings8 are being used to define the next set of activities – surveys and in-depth interviews.

The OAPEN-UK researcher survey9 explores many of the themes from the focus groups in more depth. In particular it looks at researcher’s attitudes towards OA, the value they place on being published and their publishers, the viability of business models and their reading behaviours.

In summer 2012 OAPEN-UK will make available the analysis of the sales, usage and citation data alongside the full write up of the focus groups, survey results and interviews.As the project progresses, all the evidence gathered will provide a comprehensive examination of OA as a potential model and enable stakeholders to make informed decisions about the future of the scholarly monograph.

Further information

A guide for librarians10 and IR managers11 includes a full title list, instructions to download MARC records, author affiliation and how to can get involved.

Details on the project, the full research plan, events and latest news are available on the OAPEN-UK website1. The project can be followed on twitter: @oapenuk #oapenuk or contact Caren Milloy, Head of Projects for further information.


1.           OAPEN-UK: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/

2.           Willinsky, J.,(2010) Towards the Design of an open Monograph Press.Journal of Electronic Publishing,  12,  1. doi: 10.3998/3336451.0012.103

3.           Research Information Network (2010) Trends in the finances of the UK higher education libraries: 1999–2009. http://www.rin.ac.uk/uk-libraries-trends

4.           OAPEN-UK publisher focus group: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/research-findings/y1-initial-focus-groups/publishers/

5.           OAPEN: http://project.oapen.org/

6.           OAPEN-UK pilot: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/pilot

7.           OAPEN-UK research plan: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/overview/research-plan/

8.           OAPEN-UK focus groups: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/research-findings/y1-initial-focus-groups/

9.           OAPEN-UK researcher survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/oapenukresearcher

10.         OAPEN-UK guide for librarians: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/pilot/info-for-librarians/

11.         OAPEN-UK guide for IR managers: http://oapen-uk.jiscebooks.org/pilot/info-for-repository-managers/

OAPEN-UK researcher survey – only 5 days left

5 days and counting: have you responded to the OAPEN-UK researcher survey on monographs & open access? We have had about 800 responses so far but we would really like to have at least 1000 responses. Start the survey and read some of the current results…

Interest in the future of the monograph and open access publishing in the humanities and social sciences is high. I think I can say this safely (even if we are offering the chance to win one of several £100 vouchers!) given that we have had over 800 researchers complete the OAPEN-UK survey.

The survey is only open for another 5 days and we would really like to have at least 1000 responses so we welcome your assistance in promoting it to colleagues. Here is the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/oapenukresearcher

It’s probably bad practice to share stats from a survey that is still running, but hey, if you can keep in mind that the results will probably change as more responses are received, then here are some little snippets for you.

81% of researchers that have responded so far work in the UK.

The biggest group to respond so far has been PHD candidates (22%) followed by Professors / Readers (18%).

Only 8% of respondents are not aware of open access. That’s pretty good! 38% of respondents are familiar with open access and 53% are aware but not familiar with open access.

60% know what a creative commons licence is but confidence about publishing using a CC licence drops to about 30% and 15% say that they wouldn’t publish under a CC licence as they don’t know enough about it.

Financial compensation is ranked the least important motive in by 70% of respondents. Releasing information for social progress and knowledge in society is currently ranked highest with over 41% of responses.

Out of a long list of services publishers provide, marketing & promotion and distribution & sales are currently ranked as very important with about 48% each.

Responses to the question ‘would you consider self-publishing an academic book (for example, using Amazon CreateSpace or Kindle Direct Publishing)?’ show a clear divide with 32% saying yes and 42% saying no. It will be interesting to analyse this further.

The predominant way in which respondents are finding the last book (36%) they read is by searching on metadata (quality and accurate metadata is essential) and after they became aware of the book they obtained it from……

40% said their university library and 39% said they bought it. Will this change as we get more responses come in…who will win this race?

And that’s all I’m going to give you right now. There are many more questions in the survey which I haven’t mentioned which are going to be so interesting to look at and inform our next phase of research in the project. Until then, please do keep promoting the survey!


Directory of Open Access Books launches

The issue of making Open Access books discoverable was discussed in nearly all of our focus groups that we held earlier this year. It’s not just about putting the PDF onto a platform and hoping that readers will find it, it’s about getting metadata out into the web, search and library systems that users are using. The 29 Open Access titles in our pilot are available on the OAPEN Library platform which also provides MARC records for libraries, exposes its metadata and is joining up with library discovery services. But our 29 titles are just a small part of the whole, how then do readers find out about all the other Open Access books available?

In the journals market we have the Directory of Open Access Journals to help and now, thanks to OAPEN, we have the Directory of Open Access Books – a central place where users can search and discover Open Access books by publisher, subject area or by keyword search. This is a great step forward for the discoverability of Open Access books. The full press release about the launch of the Directory of Open Access Books is below:


Press release
The Hague, April 12, 2012

Launch of the Directory of Open Access Books.

OAPEN is pleased to announce the launch of the Directory of Open Access Books, a discovery service for peer reviewed books published under an Open Access license. DOAB provides a searchable index to the information about these books, with links to the full texts of the publications at the publisher’s website or repository.

The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers are invited to provide the metadata of their Open Access books to DOAB. These metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. At the start of the service there are just over 20 publishers participating with about 750 Open Access books and new publishers and books will be added in the next few days. Publishers who wish to participate in DOAB can find more information here.

DOAB is launched in a Beta version, to enable feedback from users and to further develop the service. We hope to considerably increase the number of publishers and OA books in DOAB in the coming months and thereby create a valuable resource for the scholarly community and interested public.

The Directory of Open Access Books is provided by OAPEN Foundation in cooperation with SemperTool. OAPEN Foundation is an international initiative dedicated to Open Access monograph publishing, based at the National Library in The Hague. DOAB was developed in close cooperation with Lars Bjørnshauge and Salam Baker Shanawa (director of SemperTool), who were also responsible for the development of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

For more information, please contact Eelco Ferwerda, director of the OAPEN Foundation, e.ferwerda@oapen.org, +31(0)629565168.

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