This report explores the extent to which Open Access (OA) specialist scholarly books can be seen by the communities that might make use of them. It also identifies the key challenges that will need to be tackled in order to ensure that OA books are fully integrated into digital landscapes of scholarship; as well as the steps that need to be taken to achieve this goal.
The report focuses on Open Access books made available by publishers and platforms that are part of the OPERAS network, which is focused on the development of European research infrastructure for the development of open scholarly communication.
Specialist scholarly books are the core research output of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Ensuring that they are integrated into digital landscapes of scholarship will play a decisive role in the future of these disciplines, and their impact on the world. Identifying gaps in existing infrastructure and creating a roadmap to address them is vital groundwork.
This report forms part of the OPERAS-D project, which focuses on the development of a European e-infrastructure for open access publications in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Knowledge Unlatched Research is a core partner in the OPERAS-D project.
KU Research is an independent research and analysis group focusing on strategy and analytics that support the ecosystem of scholarly monographs.
The report builds on i.a. 73 in-depth conversations, conducted across eight different countries (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, France, Norway and Austria) to understand current developments among three stakeholder groups: Publishers, funders and libraries. The importance of author attitudes, scholarly reward and incentive systems is also raised throughout the study by numerous interviewees.
The study shows that although the main OA policies do not include monographs, conversations about OA and monographs are surfacing and are expected to be accelerating over the next few years. The general explanation for monographs not being included in policies is the global focus on journal publishing and the perception that monographs are more complex to deal with than journals. Some also point to a lack of demand yet from authors.
In general, OA book publishers will comply with gold OA policies from funders and institutions. This is not the case for green OA. It appears that the current self archiving policies from publishers for books are largely restricted to book chapters.
The report also points towards the fact that funding schemes for books are lagging behind schemes for articles and their availability to fund the publishing process is somewhat ad hoc across the countries we’ve surveyed. Nevertheless the authors are ‘cautiously optimistic’ about the prospects for OA and monographs.
The report creates an overview of both the OA monographs policies, funding streams and publishing models for all eight countries for the first time.