Milloy, Caren, Collins, Ellen and Stone, Graham (2012) OAPEN-UK: Investigating a business model for open access monographs in the humanities and social sciences. In: LIBER 41st Annual Conference, 27 June - 30 June 2012, University of Tartu, Estonia. (Unpublished)

In the humanities and social sciences (HSS), the monograph is the primary method by which researchers share and disseminate knowledge. Over the last two decades monograph print sales have declined and researchers are concerned that this new economic reality is affecting scholarship: not only the types of book that publishers choose to commission, but also the research pursued by potential authors. Open Access (OA) publishing is an alternative model that could provide a solution to the monograph problem by providing unfettered access to electronic monographs, and OAPEN, a recent European project, looked at how OA might work for HSS monographs.

The OAPEN project found that significant barriers to widespread adoption of OA were cultural and institutional. It also suggested that local conditions such as funding arrangements would be important in establishing how OA should work in different countries. JISC Collections therefore initiated OAPEN-UK [], a four-year project that will produce evidence to underwrite informed decisions on the future of OA publishing for HSS monographs in the UK.

The project has two main strands. The first is a pilot, which takes 30 matched pairs of HSS monograph titles from 5 UK publishers. From each pair, one title is made OA – freely available on the publisher’s website and on the OAPEN platform – and the other is distributed through the publisher’s usual routes at the usual price. Data is collected annually to evaluate the effects on usage, sales and citations.

The second strand is a programme of focus groups, interviews and surveys with academics, publishers, funders and other stakeholders to understand their aspirations and concerns in relation to OA monograph publication. Over the four years of the project, we hope to construct and test a viable business model for OA publication of HSS monographs using data gathered from both strands.

This presentation will look at the background to OAPEN-UK and explore some of the issues that it has already identified in relation to OA monograph publication. We will explore the difficulty of establishing data collection mechanisms for use and sales of OA books, and some of the solutions that we have found. Finally, we will present initial findings from the broader research programme, exploring what needs to happen for different stakeholders to feel comfortable with an OA system for monograph publication.

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