OAPEN-UK researcher survey released

Humanities and social science researchers – can you spare twenty minutes to help us understand the future of the monograph? You could win one of several £100 Amazon vouchers by completing the OAPEN-UK Researcher Survey.

OAPEN-UK is an Arts and Humanities Research Council and JISC funded project exploring the issues impacting upon the publishing of scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). The project is working with Taylor & Francis, Palgrave Macmillan, Berg Publishers, Liverpool University Press, University Wales Press, research funders and universities, to understand the challenges and steps required to move towards an open access publishing model for scholarly monographs.

In an open access model the monograph is made freely available – readers (or their libraries) do not have to pay to read it online, rather the costs of the publishing process (e.g.  peer review, typesetting, marketing) are recovered through alternative routes such as research grants, institutional funding or perhaps through readers purchasing print editions or particular formats for their iPad or Kindle. Various models are being tested at the moment.

OAPEN-UK has two strands: an open access pilot gathering data on the usage, sales and citations of 60 monographs, and a wider research project which explores the environment for open access publishing.

We’re six months into the project and, following a series of focus groups, have identified some key questions for researchers – both as authors and readers. We invite you to complete the researcher survey. The findings from this survey will combine with interviews and surveys of other stakeholder groups to help us understand the big issues and priorities that an open access publishing model must accommodate.

To thank you for your help, if you complete the survey you will be entered into a draw for Amazon vouchers – we have three £100 vouchers, three £50 vouchers and three £25 vouchers available to win.

The survey will take about 15-20 minutes to complete. Nobody will have access to your individual responses except the project researcher, and we will never publish anything that might identify you.

The survey will close on Monday 16 April 2012.

If you’d like any further information, please contact Ellen Collins or Caren Milloy.

OAPEN launches Directory of Open Access Books

OAPEN is launching a new new service for Open Access monographs: the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) in beta in early sprint 2012. Full press release….

OAPEN is pleased to announce a new service for Open Access monographs: the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB). DOAB will provide 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. The beta version of the service will contain publications of a selected number of academic publishers. The beta version will be made public early spring 2012.

The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Academic publishers will be invited to provide the metadata of their Open Access books to the DOAB. Metadata will be harvestable in order to maximize dissemination, visibility and impact. Aggregators can integrate the records in their commercial services and libraries can integrate the directory into their online catalogues, thereby helping scholars, students and the general public to discover the books. The directory will be open to all academic publishers and should contain as many books as possible, provided that these books are peer reviewed and published in Open Access. DOAB will determine requirements for publishers to qualify as Open Access academic book publishers and will maintain a certification procedure.

A number of academic publishers have already expressed their interest in taking part in the further development of the service; among them are members of the OAPEN Library such as Amsterdam University Press and Göttingen University Press, and other well-known Open Access publishers such as Open Book Publishers, Open Humanities Press, MPublishing and Athabasca University Press. OpenEdition, a portal dedicated to electronic resources in the humanities (www.openedition.org), will also take part in the beta phase of DOAB.

DOAB will be launched by the OAPEN Foundation. The idea for DOAB has been developed 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). Both will be involved in the further development of DOAB.

OAPEN will manage the service and approach publishers to provide the metadata of their Open Access books. OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks, www.oapen.org) started in 2008 as an EU-funded project coordinated by Amsterdam University Press. The OAPEN Foundation is an international initiative dedicated to Open Access monograph publishing, based at the National Library in The Hague. OAPEN develops Open Access models for books and works with academic publishers and research institutes to build a collection of Open Access books through the OAPEN Library. OAPEN is currently involved in two pilot projects in the Netherlands and the UK experimenting with Open Access monograph publishing.

SemperTool will develop and maintain the service. SemperTool (www.sempertool.dk) is a software development company specializing in building digital library technologies, as well as providing hosting and consulting services. Salam Baker Shanawa, director of SemperTool, was in charge of development of DOAJ while employed at Lund University, and for the past two years SemperTool has been responsible for further development and maintenance of DOAJ.  SemperTool offers a range of reliable and cost-effective software solutions for digital libraries, and serves more than 100 universities in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Lars Bjørnshauge will be involved in the further development of DOAB and its business model. Lars founded and managed DOAJ during his service as Director of Libraries at Lund University, Sweden. Currently Lars is SPARC’s Director of European Library relations and Senior Advisor to the National Library of Sweden.

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

OAPEN-UK focus groups complete

We have finished our first round of focus groups with key stakeholders. We have held sessions with institutional representatives including librarians and repository staff, publishers, learned societies, e-book aggregators, research funders, and researchers as both authors and readers.

Each focus group has been written up and provides an account of what each stakeholder discussed regarding a move towards an open access business model for HSS monographs, including significant issues and concerns.

The focus groups have been extremely interesting and Ellen and I have spent the last couple of days dissecting the information and then pulling it back together under key themes. Over the next couple of weeks we will be use the focus group data to create surveys and to inform the interviews we plan to hold.

Keep an eye out for the report on the focus groups which we are working on at the moment.

OAPEN-UK congrats to Prof Julie Sheldon

Congratulations to Professor Julie Sheldon, author of  The Letters of Elizabeth Rigby, Lady Eastlake, who has been randomly selected from the first benchmarking survey participants to win a £100 voucher.

Julie is a Professor in Art History at the Liverpool School of Art & Design at Liverpool John Moores University and is one of the authors, taking part in the OAPEN-UK project. Her book, The Letters of Elizabeth Rigby, Lady Eastlake, published by Liverpool University Press, is in the experimental group which means that it has been made open available under a creative commons licence. You can download a PDF of her book on the OAPEN Library alongside many other scholarly monographs that have been made openly available to support scholarship.

Julie was one of many authors that completed our first benchmarking survey which we will repeat annually as we progress through the research plan. The survey asks authors about their familiarity with open access, how they read scholarly books and what motives are important to them in authoring and publishing a book.

The results of the annual benchmarking survey will be made available in the research findings section of the website.

OAPEN-UK learned societies focus group

On the 15 February 2012 we are holding a focus group for learned societies as part of the OAPEN-UK research plan. We are keen to hear from humanities and social science learned societies in terms of their role in an open access monograph publishing environment.

If you would like to attend this focus group, please see the event page for further information.

OAPEN-UK e-book aggregators focus group

On the 13 February 2012 we are holding a focus group for e-book aggregators. As a key stakeholder in the supply chain for scholarly e-books we wish to capture aggregators comments on open access publishing and discuss the challenges they foresee in their role.

If you wish to attend this focus group, please see the events page for further details.

OAPEN-UK research funders focus group

On the 17 February 2012 we are holding a focus group for research funders to explore the issues and challenges around a move to an open access model for HSS monogpraph publication.

We welcome attendance from research councils, HEFCE, the British Academy and other funders interested in the area. For more information please visit the events page.

OAPEN-UK focus group findings

What do publishers, authors / readers and institutional representatives think the major challenges, issues and opportunities are in a move to OA HSS monograph publishing?

We are in our first year of OAPEN-UK; the titles have been selected and are available online and before Christmas we kicked off the research plan with our first round of focus groups. So far we have held three focus groups; one with HSS monograph publishers, one with HSS authors / readers and one with institutional representatives including libraries, repository staff and research managers. In February 2012 we are holding the next round; one for research funders, one for e-book aggregators and one for learned societies (see events).

In the focus groups, the stakeholders discuss and identify what they consider to be the most significant issues and challenges that will arise in moving to an OA monograph publishing model for HSS monographs. They are interactive sessions, with a ready supply of post-it notes and sticky dots, with which they categorise potential barriers, opportunities and key questions into technical, attitudinal, financial and administrative fields. Participants then agree the top priority issues and discuss these together.

One of the most fascinating things that often arise in focus groups is hearing how different stakeholders perceive each other. It is quite hard to resist saying ‘no that not quite true’ but in order not to influence anyone, Ellen Collins and I have sat quietly and just listened. Some of the emerging themes from the first three focus groups in my mind are:

Consistency: this word came up frequently in the publisher and institutional focus groups when discussing best practice, standards, metadata and preservation of OA monographs. It also arose when participants discussed what is meant by OA – just online or downloadable or full re-use and at what level a creative commons licence is applied – at the book level or at a component level?

Reward and recognition: this (predictably) came up in all three focus groups in terms of author royalties, prestige in being published and career progression. What would be the reward in an OA environment and how this might change away from royalties or the impact as measured by the REF towards other models such as usage was discussed.

Business models: a major part of discussions by the publishers and the institutional representatives featured little in the author / reader focus group, although there was recognition by the authors that they didn’t discuss it and that this is probably because they are divorced from the real costs of scholarly material provided by their libraries. Whatever the model, the publishers were very clear in stating that they need to make a profit.

Responsibility: in an open access model, who does what and does it have to be the same people as who were doing it before? All the focus groups talked about this and whether in a new model, academics, repositories and libraries could take on some of the roles that have traditionally been up to the publisher or how the publisher may take on more roles in terms of overlay services to support income generation. Interestingly, both the publisher and the institutional representative group mentioned national shared service infrastructure to support open access monograph discoverability and preservation – noting that someone will have to take responsibility and it may be easier therefore if it is shared.

National v international: what was clear in all three groups was the awareness that issues are often at a local level, that in an open access model, it has to work at an international level also. Publishers publish authors from across the globe and authors want to be published by publishers who are based outside the UK. Whatever the model, the need for infrastructure and funding models to take account of this was made apparent by the groups.

Cross stakeholder: I have added this one in as an observer as it was very clear that there is greater need for cross stakeholder engagement. Perceptions and attitudes can be very strong and can often be based on assumptions. Over the course of OAPEN-UK we will be holding cross stakeholder focus groups and workshops to explore some of the issues highlighted by these focus groups, but sharing knowledge and helping each stakeholder to better understand how and why they work in a particular way is going to be key to making open access scholarly monographs a possible future.

I am looking forward to seeing what the research funders, e-book aggregators and learned societies have to say in the next round. In the meantime, please do read the write-up’s of each focus group for a much more comprehensive understanding.

OAPEN-UK research underway with first round of focus groups

The research plan which will support the aims and objectives of OAPEN-UK has been agreed by the Steering Group and is underway with focus groups planned for November 2011.

OAPEN-UK is exploring the issues impacting upon the publishing of scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences. The research strand of the project will investigate whether an open access model for scholarly monographs could take hold in the minds of humanities and social sciences scholars, what funding policies and technical processes would need to be developed to support an open access model and what the impacts of an OA model would be on key stakeholders.

The three main questions we are exploring are:

  1. How does the general research environment – policies, systems, technical products, attitudes and so forth – need to change if OA monographs are to become more common? This will be explored through a series of focus groups, interviews and surveys with various stakeholder groups.
  2. What is the measurable impact of choosing to publish a monograph in open access on sales, usage and citations? This will be established by comparing data for the matched pairs of books.
  3. How has participation in the project affected attitudes towards OA monograph publishing? This will be examined using an annual benchmarking survey, which tracks the opinions of all those who come into contact with the project and its findings.

In November 2011 we will be holding three focus groups, one with representatives from institutions, one with monograph publishers and one with researchers. The focus groups will be discursive and we are looking to identify key issues and concerns regarding OA monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences.

The focus groups will be an excellent opportunity to share your views and experiences, and to influence the future direction of the OAPEN-UK. If you are interested in attending a focus group please see the details on the events page.


The OAPEN-UK wesbsite is up and running!

Soon to be added will be information on the research that we will be undertaking over the next 3 years and the list of humanities and social science titles that are included in the pilot. To learn more about the OAPEN-UK please visit the overview page.

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