Keep trade books out of open access policy, says Universities UK | Times Higher Education (THE)

“Trade books should be exempt from future policy on open access monographs while embargo periods should also be considered, Universities UK has recommended.

A report published by UUK’s Open Access Monographs Group says “immediate open access for all monographs may not be feasible” and instead endorses a “mixed-model policy that offers various routes to compliance”. This could include one that “offers a suitable period for delayed open access”, it adds, claiming that this may result in “lower costs” for publishers.

UUK also calls for trade books – titles for a non-specialist adult audience – to be “exempt from a future OA policy on monographs”, adding that “OA policy should be clear about who or what decides the validity of a trade book, taking into account publishers’ professional assessment, as well as other factors such as the retail price point and print runs”. …”

Open Access Monographs in the UK: A data analysis

“One of the key challenges of open access book publishing is determining who pays. As pointed out in section 9, and also by Eve et al. (2017), library funding alone would not be sufficient to support a shift to OA books under an immediate OA model; this would bring about undue pressures on library budgets, resulting in sector inequalities (particularly regarding for institutions that do not receive a large amount of QR funding). As could be seen from the sample in section 8, a significant proportion of publisher revenue for UK REF books also comes from non-UK HEIs. In addition, researchers clearly indicated in the survey that they do not want to be limited in their choice of publisher from any country in the world, and publishers are eager to continue to enjoy their entrepreneurial freedom….”

Open access and monographs evidence review

This report presents new evidence on academic book publishing in the UK, and puts forward a set of stakeholder recommendations to be considered as part of the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Research Excellence Framework (REF) Open Access reviews.


The report has been published by the Universities UK (UUK) Open Access Monographs Group. A data analysis of Open Access books in the UK, carried out by fullstopp GmbH and supported by Research England and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (both part of UK Research and Innovation), Jisc and the British Academy, has also been published alongside the UUK report.  

The UUK report draws on a quantitative analysis of the current landscape of long-form publications in the higher education sector, and its engagement with more than 90 organisations at two events,  including publishers, learned societies, subject associations and research libraries….”

OA monographs: policy and practice for supporting researchers | Jisc scholarly communications

“In the UK, the four UK HE funding bodies have signalled the intent to mandate open access for monographs submitted to the Research Excellence Framework beyond the 2021 assessment and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a signatory of Plan S, has launched its own open access policy review. This will cover monographs and book chapters.

At the same time, the UK has seen a growing movement of academic and library led presses, many of whom publish OA monographs.

However, there has been criticism and concern expressed about the move to open access policies for monographs from academics, learned societies and publishers. In order to engage with the community, the Universities UK working group on open access monographs held workshops for learned societies and publishers in 2018 (see the synthesis report). This was followed in May 2019 by an event for academics at Goldsmiths College, London (see this event report).

UUK have now released the final two reports from the working group. The first is a data analysis of Open Access Monographs in the UK carried out by Fullstopp GmbH and funded by Research England, Jisc, the British Academy and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The second is the evidence review from the Universities UK Open Access Monographs Group, which details a number of key recommendations….”

Open Access and Monographs

“Open access for books is very much more complex than it is for journal articles. The publishing landscape for academic books includes commercial and traditional presses, new and old university presses, as well as scholar-led initiatives and is hence far more diverse an ecology than is that obtaining for journals. In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, 1,180 unique book publishers were returned to Panel D (arts and humanities), with some 8,500 monographs submitted. And, although 46% of books submitted were published by the same 10 presses, there was a very large range of publishers among the remaining 54%.1 A future OA policy for long-form publications needs to recognise this very diverse publishing landscape. It is already apparent that discipline-specific requirements must be respected by any OA policy of the future, and that more restrictive licences (such as the use of the non-derivative (ND) licence) may be more appropriate for disciplines in the arts and humanities. It is also clear that long-form publication in the arts, humanities and social sciences encompasses a broad range of output type: inter alia, scholarly translations, editions, commentaries, catalogues and edited collections of essays, as well as the conventional single-authored monograph….”