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Research Publishing (Open Access): Monographs

Open access compliance and REF 2021

Are Monographs in scope for REF 2021?

Monographs do not need to be open access for REF 2021. Only journal articles and conference proceedings are required to comply with the current REF 2021 OA policy.

Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs (A Knowledge Exchange Report), May 2019

Having been overlooked for a long time, OA monographs are now increasingly recognised as an important factor in Open Access publishing. National Open Science policies name OA Monogaphs explicitly to help achieve openness in the way research and scholarship are conducted and made available.

To support better incorporation of OA monographs in overall OA policies and approaches, Knowledge Exchange, in 2017 and 2018 produced a landscape study on Open Access and Monographs and the results of a stakeholder survey. Outcomes indicate that there is a crucial need for international concertation and harmonisation among communities.  

To follow-up Knowledge Exchange invited experts and stakeholders from academic libraries, universities, authors, publishers, EC-officers and others for an international two-day workshop in Brussels. On 8 and 9 November 2018 intense exchanges and brainstorming resulted in the information and recommendations you will find in our latest publication Towards a Roadmap for Open Access Monographs. First published May 2019, revised version published June 2019. This 2nd version of the report was updated to include a revised summary of the examples of other funder policies on page 18.

The report can be accessed via:

The report contains recommendations that we hope will be building blocks for further development of OA monographs within the open research culture.

Chris Keene

Jisc (and Knowledge Exchange steering group), 2019

Scottish Open Access Press – Proof of concept

SCURL (Scottish Confederation of University & Research Libraries) have employed a consultant to look at the feasibility of setting up an open access press. The intention would be for this venture to be jointly operated & managed by the Scottish Universities who are members of SCURL.  This would include OA monographs, OA journals, OA text book commissioning (SCURL, 2019).

Workshop July 2019, OA monographs: policy and practice for supporting researchers,

Workshop - Booking is open for this event on 4th July in York – places are free but booking is required. Further information and booking form:

There is a growing trend across European countries to include open access monographs in funder policy. Most recently, this push towards open access mandates was captured in the revised guidance on Plan S, published on 30 May 2019, stating that “cOAlition S will, by the end of 2021, issue a statement on Plan S principles as they apply to monographs and book chapters, together with related implementation guidance”. 

In the UK, Research England has mandated 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.

Therefore by 2021, the major UK funders will have implemented policies and mandates on open access monographs, joining the growing international list.

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. This was followed in May 2019 by an event for academics at Goldsmiths College, London.

JISC now want to bring together research and academic liaison librarians, repository managers, press managers and other interested parties to address these issues, share experiences and expertise, and to shape future work for both Jisc and the sector.

Helen Blanchett

Scholarly communications subject specialist

T 0203 819 8277

Open Access Monographs (Univerisities UK Report), July 2018

This Open Access Monographs report (July 2018) was produced by the Universities UK Open Access Monographs working group. It provides an overview of the open access (OA) landscape for monographs,significant publishing activities, and recent reports that provide an insight into the transition to OA for academic books. Some headline findings:

  • Academic books made available OA are accessed more than books that are not. For example, in May 2018 UCL Press reported that the 80 books it had published since June 2015 had been downloaded or viewed one million times. Similarly, Springer Nature reported that download rates from the SpringerLink website are seven times higher for the OA titles than the non -OA titles.
  • The monograph holds particular significance to disciplines aligned with the arts and humanities, with scholars reporting that it is ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to publish an academic book.
  • Steps can be taken to improve the discoverability of OA monographs published in the UK. Examples of good practice can be found in Germany, France and the Netherlands, who are achieving a higher ratio of books on platforms such as the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) against the number of books published.

Open access briefing: OA monographs in the UK

This paper outlines the UK landscape for arts, humanities and social science (AHSS) monograph publishing, the state of business models to support open access (OA), the technical infrastructure, the engagement of the academic community and suggestions for improvement.

Published as part of Open Access Week October 2018. It can also be downloaded as a PDF document