SWOT workshop report

OAPEN-UK Business Models for Open Access Monographs SWOT Workshops: Findings, Key Messages and Reflections

The following report summarises the proceedings of the OAPEN-UK Business Models for Open Access Monographs SWOT workshops that were organised for three key stakeholder groups; researchers (as both readers and authors), librarians/institutions and publishers. The workshops were held on 17th, 19th and 20th March 2015 respectively at the Jisc Offices in London.

Please download and read the full report: OAPENUK Business Models SWOT workshop report Final


  • The SWOT workshops have glimpsed into the perceptions and attitudes of the different stakeholder groups and their rating of the performance criteria for the different business models. Whilst there are often areas where their views or ratings differ, the areas of commonality provide useful starting points for those that are interested in exploring a particular model – to build upon the strength or to focus attention on addressing a weakness.
  • The workshops confirm that no single business model will meet the requirements of publishers, researchers and institutions to publish open access monographs; variety is required to meet the diverse nature of the arts, humanities and social science research.
  • Perhaps the strongest message from the SWOT activity is that each model has potential viability dependent on the type, mission and funding stream of the outfit. It is possible to identify where a model will benefit a small society press over a large commercial press, where a niche subject publisher may find support or where a new open access publisher could ride on infrastructure already in place to maximise dissemination. Likewise, there are opportunities for some of the larger more commercially driven presses that have established platforms to explore models such as ‘freemium community’ and to offer a ‘big deal’ type offer to libraries.
  • A publisher may be required to implement a combination of models to support an open access monograph offering – not just in terms of financial sustainability but also in meeting future mandates from funders (both here in the UK and internationally). These models should complement each other and maximise on efficiency.
  • There is clearly opportunity for innovation in some of the models discussed such as freemium / value added. Publishers (both new and traditional) could consider exploring innovative offerings through collaborations where the risk is shared. This might enable the development of new, better, business models.