OAPEN-UK is a four-year research project that is exploring an OA model for publishing HSS monographs in collaboration with publishers, research funders, learned societies, researchers and institutions. Peter asked us to look at the HEFCE consultation and to comment on that in relation to RCUK policy and history academics. I do not believe that it is my place to comment on the consultation directly, rather my role is to present the current findings of the research in relation to the views, perceptions and concerns of academics in the humanities and social sciences and this is turn can be considered by the policy makers. I also want to avoid speculating – rather I would stick to what we have learnt from the project thus far.So what Iam going to do is present some results from the qualitative research we have conducted over the last year with a focus on the academic perspective and also some key issues for learned societies.
But before I do, I will just say that the finch report does not address, nor did it try to address OA monographs aside from noting this project and the work of Pinter’s Knowledge Unlatched. The RCUK policy says is journals focused and whilst alludes to monographs does not specifically mandate their inclusion. The HEFCE consultation goes a step further in recognising monographs and their delicate balance and looks to ‘deposit’ as a solution while more robust open access models are developed.All there report recognise that there is a need to move carefully in the monograph area and that evidence is required to support these moves.
So whilst there has been a fair amount of negativity from the history community and comments that there is not enough evidence and consultation taking place, the very fact that JISC and the AHRC are funding OAPEN-UK goes some way I hope to alleviate these concerns and show that there is work taking place in collaboration with all the key stakeholders to listen to their concerns, to discuss what processes, mechanisms and policies would need to change within their organisations and to understand their perceptions so that they can be addressed.So what have we discovered so far?
The HEFCE consultation clearly acknowledges the delicate balance of conventional monograph publishing – print runs and sales have been reduced as library budgets continue to be squeezed. For learned societies, the monograph element is often subsidised by journal income and for many university presses, they are tasked to cost recover. The HEFCE consultation also notes that whilst the overall percentage of monographs submitted for assessment is low, there are several disciplines and types of institutions for which the percentage is much higher. In addition, the publication of a monographs is often a critical step in establishing reputation for early career academics. It is therefore critical that a variety of robust models are developed and tested to support open access.The finch report and the RCUK policy have focused on the Gold OA model, whilst the HEFCE consultation talks a lot about deposit while satisfactory models are developed. Once of the key challenges that are faced in developing a Gold type model is captured in the
Once of the key challenges that are faced in developing a Gold type model is captured in the results of the survey we undertook with HSS academics.Themajority of HSS researchers do not receive grants from funding councils, but rely on core university funds – i.e. their salary to pay for their research. In addition, some academics would probably agree that they do most of their research in their own time which is why we have the columns of self funding and no funding.If we move to a gold model - where the costs of publishing a monograph could be as high as £11,000 as with the PalgraveOpen, it will be necessary to consider who will pay for this, who will decide what gets funding and what will happen to young researchers in this process? These are some of the concerns being raised. But, standing still is not an option, there is a need for a different business model for monographs and we need to move with policy.
In OAPEN-UK we are piloting a Gold type model which was used by the OAPEN project which was an EU project whereby a grant is paid to the publisher who publish a PDF of the monograph under a creative commons licence but can also generate revenue through sales of print and ebook device friendly editions. We are exploring to see if this is a viable model and to try and ascertain what the equivalent ‘APC’ would be for a monograph and whether additional sales revenue may help reduce the first copy costs. But this is just one example of experimentation – there is also Frances Pinter’s Knowledge Unlatched initiative, OpenEdition in France which is a freemium model and new presses such as Open Humanities Press. We don’t have the answer to the business model question yet but we are experimenting and what will drive the success of these models is engagement by the HSS community here in the UK and internationally. They need to know what is out there and get testing.---What we have done though is set up two groups in our pilot – the open access group and the control group. Publishers were invited to submit titles for inclusion in the pilot but they had to submit pairs of titles matched on subject area, publication date, sales etc. The pairs were then selected by the project’s Steering Group and one from each pair randomly selected to go into the experimental group and one into the control group.The titles in the OA pot are made available under a CC licence from the publishers website, the OAPEN Library website and IRs. The control group titles are made available for sale under the publishers normal route such as for sale to libraries as part of packages, via aggregators.All the titles, whether OA or Control are available for purchase in print format and some are also available in epub or specific e-formats such as amz. We have 58 tiles from Palgrave Macmillan, Taylor & Francis, Berg Publishers, Liverpool University Press and University Wales Press and over the next three years we will gather and compare sales and usage data for each group to measure the effects on OA.
This is another slide from the researcher survey. We asked them a series of questions about their awareness of Creative Commons (which was low) and which licenses they would consider publishing under.I have picked this slide in particular as it shows a clear preference for the most restrictive licence CC BY NC ND and this would indicate that the concerns voiced by the RHS and other HSS bodies are reflecting their communities. However it also shows something much more interesting – and that is researchers are more concerned about derivatives of their work than it being exploited commercially. I think it is important to highlight that whilst the respondents to the survey selected the most restrictive version of the CC licence, that does not necessarily mean that it is the most appropriate for an Open Access monograph environment and there are many academics out there who advocate strongly that more open the licences are better for the future of research and the researcher themselves. There are others that propose, heather Morrison that CC is not the appropriate licensing regime for open access at all. However, what this slide and the other survey results relating to CC licensing do show is that there is a real need to educate researchers, or all stakeholders indeed, on what CC licensing means so they can make informed decisions themselves and as part of the project we are working to develop a guide of HSS researchers with a particular focus on monographs.
The last point that I will make is that the understanding the perceptions of researchers are critical to establishing an OA model for monographs. This slide, again from the survey looks at the how researcher perceive the effect of OA to impact on particular core values of scholarly communications. The majority of values, especially availability and dissemination are very positive, but you will see that whilst not negative, the two values of quality and reputation and reward are lower than the others. In the area of quality – there exists a perception that OA means lower quality which is not evidenced, but the learned societies in particular are concerned that loss of journal publication income from Gold OA could perhaps mean that they would not be able to sustain such rigorous peer review or editing processes on their book series (although it should be noted that most of this work is provided voluntarily). In the area of reputation and reward – researchers are concerned that a move to OA may effect their freedom to choose where to publish, especially if OA is not rolled out internationally. Reputation is interlinked with who publishes their book and if the key US publishers are not offering or enabling an OA model, then this could impact on their reputation.As for reward, well that’s a dummy argument as we have found that whilst a nice to have, very few researchers receive large sums of money and according to our author survey, it is not important.What we need to ensure is that we address these perceptions, work to engage the HSS community.
What I have shown you today are snippets from a much larger ongoing body of research that includes interviews, case studies, focus groups, surveys and sales and usage data analysis. We are still at very early stages of experimentation and evidence gathering in our project but what I would like to end on is that we are working internationally, that we are exploring where shared services could bring efficiencies and we are listening, consulting and looking to provide stakeholders, such as HEFCE and RCUK with evidence to inform their policies.
OAPEN-UK presentation at IHR event, London, 2013
Informed Decisions on the Future of OA Scholarly
Monograph Publishing in HSS
Caren Milloy, Head of Projects,
Evidence & consultation
RHS: Letter from the President:
OA Publishing, Jan 13
• “insufficient consultation”
• “Failing to acknowledge key
differences between the
research and publication
landscape in HSS”
• “Monograph publication has
cardinal importance in HSS”
• “Far from policy being
evidence-based for the HSS, it
appears to be evidence-free”
• “Haste and lack of
OAPEN-UK – OA monographs in HSS
• Funded by the AHRC and Jisc
• Highly collaborative and
• Aims to provide stakeholders with
a well-researched evidence base
to ensure that decisions regarding
a move to an OA model are based
on knowledge and understanding
of the UK HSS scholarly
environment and the
perceptions, processes and
policies within it
Which business model?
• Why explore OA monograph publishing?
– ‘The case of monograph publication and its
sustainability is of particular concern to the
– Drop in print runs /sales from 2000 – 200
– An important research communication channel
– Helps to establish reputation for early career
58 HSS titles: 2006 - 2011
OA with CC licence
Google Books (100%)
Google Books (10%)
Print version available for sale
E-book device friendly version available for sale
Analyse sales and usage data to assess impact of OA