HEFCE has today published its report 'Monographs and Open Access', a welcome in-depth study of the impacts of open access publishing on the publication of monographs. The British Academy has been closely involved in debates regarding the adoption of open access models of publishing and their impact on academic research in the humanities and social sciences in particular. The Academy is very pleased to see this detailed analysis of the implications of open access for monographs - a major form of research output in our disciplines.
One of the key issues is how business models can be developed that would make open access publication of monographs viable. This report analyses this question in detail, raising concerns about whether a model in which authors pay for publication can extend from journal publication to monographs. It also highlights the important issue of the value of the physical text – both in terms of the inherent qualities of layout and design in a printed text, and the importance of future access to scholarly volumes within the national and international research communities. The particular challenges of open access monographs was explored in our series Debating Open Access, in a chapter authored by Professor Nigel Vincent FBA – a member of the steering group for the HEFCE report.
Continued engagement between funding bodies, publishers, learned societies and the research community in its entirety is essential in order to ensure that open access publishing delivers its intended benefits without disadvantaging any of the critical stakeholders in academic publication. The HEFCE report provides a very important contribution to this conversation.
The full report is available to read on the HEFCE website.