Plan S and Humanities Researchers - UCL Town Hall meeting
Plan S and Humanities
Margot Finn, UCL History Department
Declarations of interest
• OA advocacy/engagement: UCL Press Executive; UCL Press Author;
Royal Historical Society OA book series (New Historical Perspectives);
• Gold OA scepticism/pragmatism: RHS Camden and (hybrid) TRHS; 3
US/UK journal editorial boards; successive CUP monograph series co-
editorships; director of research and REF lead, UCL History
• Humanities & Social Sciences with a twist: Vournakis et al.,
‘Sequence and structure analysis of end-labeled RNA with nucleases’
(1981); founding director of a university IAS that stretches from
Humanities through the sciences and maths to medicine.
‘Two Cultures’ approaches are inadequate to
the task of ‘science’ in the European sense;
science (Wissenschaft) benefits from being a
house with many mansions.
OA can (and should) be a jolly good thing
Since 15 February 2018, the book
has been downloaded 18,744
times in 147 countries/territories,
including 761 UCL Discovery
downloads from India, 217 from
Pakistan and 32 from Bangladesh.
Why haven’t you proposed a title
(monograph, edited volume,
textbook) for UCL Press?
Gold OA is often problematic for authors in the
Humanities due to the nature of their research.
• Data: 3rd-party rights limit access to many kinds of Humanities data,
complicating Gold OA and the use of CC BY licences;
• Funding: much UK Humanities research is self-funded, or funded from
student fees, endowments, university press revenues or supported by non-
Plan S charities. These sources (like QR) do not offer funding for Gold OA
APCs and BPCs. Outside the UK/Europe, APC/BPC funding is exiguous;
• Methodology: some Humanities methodologies comport with ‘open
science’ agendas, but much qualitative data and research is ill-suited for
these protocols. ‘Reproducibility’ differs across the Humanities and
between Humanities and other ‘sciences’; many Humanities researchers
view CC BY ND as an essential barrier to research misconduct (plagiarism).
What proportion of History journal articles are
funded by research councils & Wellcome?
• In a sample of 342 articles published in 12 UK History
journals in 2017, the research of only 12% of authors
(ranging from 0% to 24.3% in individual journals) had been
funded by Plan S signatories (UK research councils, ERC and
Wellcome Trust). For UK authors, the overall average was
• 242 authors (70.8%) recorded no external funding of any
kind in their acknowledgements/author notes.
Among the many elephants in the room is the
question of who is to pay the Humanities piper?
A further elephant is ECR access to Gold OA
publication. Both precarity and self-funding are
the common lot of UK ECRs in the Humanities.