Project Aims and Objectives

OAPEN-UK is a collaborative research project gathering evidence to help stakeholders make informed decisions on the future of open access scholarly monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences.

The key objectives of the project are to:

  • undertake a real time pilot with HSS scholarly monograph titles
  • establish what challenges each stakeholder faces in the open access scholarly monograph environment
  • gather and evaluate a wide range of data to explore the challenges and how they might be addressed
  • analyse usage and sales data with publishers to help ascertain what an open access business model might look like
  • assess the attitudes and perceptions of the authors, researchers, publishers and readers to open access scholarly monographs
  • explore the route of funding and the systems and processes required to support this
  • develop recommendations to aid the discovery of open access scholarly monographs
  • promote awareness of the issues and challenges of open access monographs
  • share the results of OAPEN-UK and disseminate the findings at an international level

Project Outline

There are two elements to OAPEN-UK:

  1. A real time pilot working with publishers to evaluate and compare the sales and usage of open access HSS monographs with a control group of monographs that are not available in open access.
  2. A research programme consulting with all stakeholders to gather data on attitudes, perceptions, challenges, opportunities and practical workflow related issues that relate to a move to open access monograph publishing.

The project commenced by consulting with a range of stakeholders to get an understanding of the current monograph publishing environment. Following the consultation, the requirements and knowledge gathered were used to create an invitation to tender.

The invitation to tender invited publishers of scholarly monographs in the humanities and social sciences to participate in a pilot and to submit ‘matched pairs’ of HSS scholarly monograph titles for inclusion. The pairs were assessed and evaluated by the Steering Group (which at the time will did not include publishers). For each ‘matched pair’ that met the criteria, the publisher received £6,000 in funding to support their involvement in the project and the collection of the data for the pilot period. This funding was provided by Jisc. One title in each matched pair was then randomly assigned to either the Experimental Group (OA) or the Control Group to create the Pilot.

Once the titles had been confirmed, the publishers were invited to join the Steering Group alongside research funders, institutions and researchers. The Steering Group then agreed the research plan for the project.

The findings from the research are being made openly available and are discussed by the Steering Group to help form useful recommendations and guidance for stakeholders.