The report includes a set of best practices and recommendations for various stakeholders: funders, authors, universities, publishers, technology providers, libraries, citizens. They are the first steps towards a European roadmap for open access monographs.  

Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs

A Knowledge Exchange Report

Executive summary

This report outlines the key findings and recommendations coming out of the Knowledge Exchange (KE) Stakeholder Workshop on Open Access and Monographs, which took place in Brussels in November 2018.

This two-day event consisted of introductory talks on the current open access (OA) monographs landscape, followed by funder and publisher panels and a selection of in-depth workshops that explored how we can support OA monographs through Author Engagement, Policies, Technical infrastructure, and Monitoring. The aim of this workshop was to emphasise the importance of monographs as a format in the OA landscape, and to encourage further collaboration and the sharing of best practices. Based on the outcomes of the workshop this report includes a set of best practices and recommendations for various stakeholders in order to outline next steps towards a European roadmap for OA monographs.

The introductory talks highlighted how there remains a lack of consistency at a European level for the support of OA books, with respect to funding, recognition, infrastructure, and awareness. The work KE does has been important in this context, most importantly through its Landscape Study on Open Access and Monographs and its 2018 stakeholder survey which identified next steps for OA monographs. Simon Tanner’s (King’s College, London) keynote focused on the importance of citizens in the debate of who OA for monographs is for (especially where it concerns the value and potential impact of OA for monographs).

The funder panel with Steven Hill (Research England/UKRI) and Jean-Claude Kita (FNRS) outlined how OA policies for books are taking shape in the UK and Belgium, highlighting the importance of finding a balance between mandating and incentivising. Olaf Siegert, (LeibnizAssociation) looked at the policy development for OA monographs in Germany, reporting back from a national workshop on “The Future of the research monograph”,organised by the Alliance of German Science Organisations. In the publishers panel, Margo Bargheer (GöttingenUniversity Press/AEUP), Sarah Kember (GoldsmithsPress), Myriam Poort (Springer Nature) and Leena Kaakinen (Helsinki University Press), reflected on whether OA can counter the alleged ‘death of the book’ in the HSS, reflecting on the importance of the monograph for the humanities and both the format and the field’s future sustainability in an OA context.

The author engagement workshop, led by Sebastian Nordhoff (Language Science Press) explored some of the tactics that can be used to encourage author take-up of OA monographs. The policies workshop, led by Alain Beretz (Université de Strasbourg), focused on the policies of OA monographs and explored what, on a policy level, needs to be done to improve stakeholder alignment and make sure OA policies (funding, mandates, quality and discoverability) are practical, feasible and aligned with researchers’ needs. The technical infrastructure workshop, led by Pierre Mounier (OpenEdition), focused on defining the specific efforts that could be made to improve the integration of monographs in the scientific information system by providing adapted technical infrastructures. The monitoring workshop, led by Eelco Ferwerda (OAPEN) looked at how to establish a permanent Open Access Book Watch to monitor progress, identify good practices, examples, and business cases, and to provide a tool for funders and policy makers.

Each of these workshops formulated recommendations and action plans, which together form first steps towards a European roadmap for OA monographs. Based on these outcomes, specific stakeholder recommendations were formulated:

For Funders these highlight the importance of policy interventions to encourage change, of sustainable policies that allow diverse publishing options, of the funding of infrastructures and platforms, and of more networked action between funders on a European level.

For Authors and Universities, these highlight the importance of the monograph as a format for humanities scholarship, of acknowledging the fears that exist around OA, of balancing mandating and incentivising, and of community engagement.

For Publishers these focus on a need for more transparency around the cost of OA monographs, and on the importance of alternative (non-BPC) funding models.

For Technology Providers and Platforms these emphasise the need for common technical requirements for monographs, for dialogue between stakeholders to define technical standards and their implementation, and for robust governance of technical infrastructures; for Libraries they focused on their potentially more active role in (financing) the publication of OA monographs, and on the long-term sustainability of OA monographs.

For Citizens they emphasise the societal impact and the value of OA monographs for those outside of academia.

With respect to Monitoring they highlight how an Open Access Book Watch could help us monitor OA for books, how we should start collecting data now, and on how monitoring should be a collective stakeholder effort.


© Knowledge Exchange 2019