A new report looks at policies, funding, and publishing in regard to open access (OA) research monographs in eight European countries: Denmark, Finland, Germany, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway. and Austria.
Research monographs are defined as: “A long, academic and peer reviewed work on a single topic normally written by a single author, and extended to also include peer reviewed edited collections by multiple authors.”
- The report authors are cautiously optimistic about the prospects for a significant amount of European long-form scholarship to be published as OA, despite well-known obstacles.
- There is substantial funding that could be re-routed in various ways to pay for the publishing of books more efficiently, although it is recognised that this involves complex operational changes.
- Countries in the study are similar in many ways, however, there are huge differences in population size, book markets, OA policies, funding streams, and publishers’ approaches to OA.
- No single model will fit all and there is no scenario for a perfect transition. Indeed, it is not expected that all monographs will go OA, but there are a number of ways in which OA for books can be encouraged further.
- Monograph sales are steadily declining, destabilising academic book publishers, raising barriers for early career authors, undermining the monograph as a valuable form of scholarly output and thereby reducing scholars’ choice of output.
- Academic book publishers in many continental countries continue to rely on “print” subsidies from public and private funds that could in theory be rechanneled to pay for OA publishing.
- Successful pure OA monograph publishing initiatives in various countries are demonstrating clear benefits, though scaling will require further support.
- OA for monographs is becoming an accepted publication model, offered by leading book publishers. Authors are increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of increased exposure.