What is Jisc doing in the area of open access (OA) monographs?

Below is a quick summary of our activity in the area of OA monographs.

OAPEN-UK is funded by the AHRC and Jisc. It commenced in 2010 and will complete with the release of the final report in October / November 2015. It is a collaborative research project gathering evidence to help stakeholders make informed decisions about OA monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences. There are three areas of focus:

  1. understanding stakeholder attitudes and perceptions towards OA monographs and exploring how these change over the length of the project
  2. looking at the processes, systems and policies that will support a dynamic OA monograph landscape
  3. a real time pilot to identify any impacts of making an OA title available on the ‘traditional’ business model

The project shares knowledge and data gathered across all stakeholders to promote evidence based decision making. The project has completed all work packages and all the research findings are available online.

The project is currently in its final stages and the data gathered over the last 4 years is being analysed for presentation in the final report. Some key elements to note:

  • the project has just released a Guide to open access monograph publishing for arts, humanities and social science researchers – this is very practical and pragmatic and responds to the many questions raised by researchers during the HEFCE REF consultation. It aims to help researchers understand the opportunities and challenges of publishing a monograph in open access. It is available online, as a PDF and in print under a CC BY licence
  • three workshops were held to explore how researchers, publishers and institutional staff perceive the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with a variety of business models. The report from these workshops makes clear, and is in support of the Crossick report, that no one single business model will prevail within OA monographs and that in order to support all researchers a mixed ecology is required
  • the final benchmarking survey undertaken with authors and members of the steering group shows that each stakeholders understanding of other stakeholders has increased through participation in the project
  • the data from the pilot, which is extremely complex, is almost complete in terms of graphic presentation to allow the identification of trends in terms of usage and sales data
  • we added in a last work package to interview the authors of the titles in the pilot. These are now complete and have been extremely informative – not least as no one single author has the same views and therefore it captures the diversity of opinion within HSS

Investigating OA monograph services is funded by Jisc and is a joint project with OAPEN and is due to complete in January 2016. This project, builds on the knowledge gathered in OAPEN-UK and OAPEN-NL and focuses on the systems and services element. It aims to explore potential centralized services that can support and encourage the publication of OA peer-reviewed monographs. Potential services should serve OA book publishers, in particular university and library presses, but could also benefit libraries, research and repository management, and funders. The project is conducted on co-design principles, in collaboration with universities that have an interest in OA monographs – as university-based publishers, consumers, or supporters.

The project is focusing on the following use cases:

  • support quality assurance of OA books
  • aggregation and deposit of OA books and chapters
  • improve dissemination and discovery of OA books
  • report about OA policies and usage

The project is based on the following work packages (WPs):

  • Knowledge exchange: to enable communication and knowledge-sharing among participants involved in OA for books
  • Publisher information: to identify and describe good-practice guidelines for OA book publishers
  • Metadata: to develop requirements for metadata of OA books
  • Aggregation: the need for researchers to get easy access to research output; the need to allow discoverability and dissemination of OA books; and the need to support digital preservation
  • Impact / reporting: the need to assess impact for OA books and the need to investigate ways to report effectively on research output
  • Green OA: primarily concerned with the potential for a ‘green’ route to OA books
  • Evaluation and final report

The emphasis for each WP is on initial investigative work – providing evidence and intelligence to support possible future service specification. For each WP, work is being done to establish where services for OA monographs might potentially be developed using models already in place (in Jisc or elsewhere) for OA periodicals, or where existing services might be extended to OA periodicals.

Business models for OA monographs

There is clearly more work that needs to be done to support the development of business models for OA monographs, especially for non ‘APC’ related models.

Jisc is currently discussing the potential of three avenues through which further testing of models may take place:

  • new university presses
  • academic / early career researcher led initiatives / presses
  • publisher / learned societies partnerships

These three markets are at various stages in terms of development and adoption of business models for OA monographs. Initial discussions with stakeholders suggest that each market has different drivers, appetite for risk, views on collaboration and requirements for centralised services or infrastructure. Jisc is considering how best to benchmark these markets, identify where opportunities exist to ‘testbed’ new models and where Jisc involvement will bring the most value in supporting the implementation of OA monographs within institutions.

A full proposal will be developed by Jisc staff in October, following the release of the OAPEN-UK report.

Knowledge Unlatched Round Two

Knowledge Unlatched is a global library initiative to make open access scholarly monographs available to all. Libraries join together to pay the publisher a set fee upon receipt of which they make the monograph available in open access. By working together, libraries share the costs and make it affordable.

The first round of the pilot was deemed a success but there are still some issues to tackle. Jisc Collections is working with Knowledge Unlatched on round two of the pilot and a consultation with institutions is currently underway.

Stay up to date

If you are interested in OA monographs then you can stay up to date with the latest information and news by following @carenmilloy and @oapenuk

If you have any questions about our work in the area of OA monographs, please contact Caren Milloy, Head of Projects, Jisc Collections on


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *