OAPEN Newsletter – October 2009

User needs study on Open Access Book

As part of the OAPEN project Prof.dr. Paul Rutten and Drs. Janneke Adema (Leiden University, The Netherlands) have carried out a study on user needs in relation to open access book publishing within the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

The study will be made available through OAPEN’s website, www.oapen.org, by the end of October. Below are some of the main findings of the report. Please feel free to give your feedback on this summary to Janneke Adema ( JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING ).

Main Findings

Print remains important in HSS although a trend has been established to more digital consumption (more screen reading and E-Book use), more informal online communication (blogs and wiki’s) and a small rise of scholarly writing specifically adapted to the digital environment. It is felt print and E-Books will coexist and will be used side-by-side for the time being.

Accessibility and dissemination of scholarly content are key. It is felt Open Access promotes both and does not necessarily harm the quality of publications. Accessibility also opens research up further, enabling content enhancement and connections (links) between publications. A good and easy way to use search function remains indispensable.

In the online environment filter and selection mechanisms such as peer review remain of the utmost importance to establish quality, as are (publishers) brands and (scholarly) reputations. It is felt Open Access monographs should pay extra attention to quality control to ensure their legitimacy.

Experiments with new forms of collaboration and new (Open Access) business models in book publishing are necessary. The research shows users are still skeptical about the sustainability of these kinds of models but feel experiments are essential to save the monograph from the traditional (print) publishing model that is no longer sustainable.

The research is based on a state of the art literature study, round table discussions, one-on-one interviews across Europe, and an online survey.

OAPEN survey ‘Funding of Monographs in the HSS’

OAPEN is currently conducting a survey about the ‘Funding of Monographs in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)’

The survey invites authors/editors, funders and publishers to estimate how books are currently funded and how this might be complemented by funding opportunities for Open Access publishing of books. We welcome you to take part in the survey or to send it on to others who might be interested. The outcomes of the survey will support OAPEN in the development and implementation of an Open Access publication model for peer reviewed academic books in HSS.

The survey is based on the observation that publishing of monographs (including anthologies) in HSS often relies on additional funding on the part of authors/editors as costs can not solely be met by revenues of sales. So far funding institutions have mainly supported the print production and based their funding models on the traditional book market. The combination of a free (open access) electronic version (access, searchability, quick citability etc.) with a convenient pay print version offers new opportunities in visibility and dissemination.

Meet us at Frankfurt Book Fair, 14-19 October 2009

Amsterdam University Press, stand 4.2 C410 (Man. Director Saskia de Vries, JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING / OAPEN coördinator Eelco Ferwerda, JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING )

Museum Tusculanum Press, stand 4.2 C411 (Man. Director Marianne Alenius, JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING )

Manchester University Press, stand 8.0 C921 (Man. Director David Rodgers, JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING )

Universitätsverlag Göttingen, stand 4.2 M440 (Head of Publishing Margo Bargheer, JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING )

Firenze University Press, stand 4.2 M442 (Man. Director Patrizia Cotoneschi, JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING )


OAPEN is a Targeted Project co-funded by the EC within its eContentplus Programme.

OAPEN aims to develop and implement an Open Access publication model for academic books in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS). Our goal is to achieve a sustainable European approach to improve the quantity, visibility and usability of high quality academic research and foster the creation of new content by developing future-oriented publishing solutions, including an Open Access Library for peer reviewed books in HSS. The 30-months project started in September 2008.

Learn more about OAPEN by visiting the website: www.oapen.org