A Landscape Study on Open Access and Monographs

Our new Knowledge Exchange report maps the open access monograph landscape in the six Knowledge Exchange countries Finland, the Netherlands, UK, France, Denmark and Germany together with Norway and Austria.

A large part of the Open Access discussion has so far been concentrated on journals but in recent years the focus is also starting to move towards making publicly funded monographs open access. It is likely that monograph mandates will follow where mandates for journal articles have lead the way. In the UK, HEFCE has stated its intention to move towards an open access requirement for monographs in the exercise that follows the next REF (expected in the mid 2020). This doesn’t seem to be too far in the future as it can take many years to write a book!

There are several projects and initiatives experimenting in the area of open access monograph publishing. In spite of of this rich evolving landscape, it was so far hard to get a systematic overview on characteristic developments and to assess which specific issues would benefit from further attention and discussion. To fill this gap and in order to effectively support open access monograph publishing in its partner countries, the Knowledge Exchange initiated this new landscape study on Open Access Monographs. The study was supported by Knowledge ExchangeFWF Austrian Science Fund, CRIStin and Couperin and written by Frances Pinter, Eelco Ferwerda and Niels Stern. It builds on in-depth interviews with experts from over 70 institutions across Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, UK, France, Norway and Austria, a survey and also an analysis of existing information. The focus is on three areas: the inclusion of open access monographs in open access policies, funding streams to support open access monographs and business models for publishing open acess monographs. The report has been designed to be read in a number of ways. The reader can either concentrate on particular areas of interest or focus on the eight very rich country studies.

It is clear that the eight countries examined in the report are at different stages towards enabling monographs to go open access and that no country has found the perfect solution for this transition but by looking at how particular issues have been addressed we can learn from each other and hopefully build a better system.

The report mentions a number of interesting open access book publishing initiatives which are experimenting with new business models and other innovative features. For example, Language Science press in Germany is a very successful new academic-led press with a discipline specific focus. It has already gained significant credibility among the community and was initially developed with support from DFG (German Research Foundation). The knowledge gained by this press and other examples mentioned will be valuable when considering similar projects in other disciplines. The KE study also complements the  Jisc Changing publishing ecologies report by Graham Stone and Janneke Adema which maps the rise in the number of independent presses set up by academics next to university presses in the UK.

The report closes with recommendations for a number of groups including Knowledge Exchange. For example, it suggests for the Knowledge Exchange to facilitate the exchange of ideas and to encourage awareness for policy makers across countries on the issues around mandating of open access monographs. Could this lead to policies than can be adopted across countries?

Jisc will also review the report in order to recommend best practice for open access monograph publishing in the UK as part of research being undertaken by the Jisc Collections research team on open access publishing infrastructure in the UK.


general publishing platform

The Rise of New University Presses and Academic-Led Presses in the UK

blog post by Janneke Adema (University of Coventry), Graham Stone (Jisc) and Chris Keene (Jisc)

report-coverOur new report: Changing publishing ecologies: A landscape study of new university presses and academic-led publishing maps the rise of new university presses and academic-led presses in the UK

The landscape of academic publishing has seen a discernible increase in new publishing initiatives entering the sector over the last few years. These new publishing initiatives have a potentially disruptive effect on the scholarly communication environment, providing new avenues for the dissemination of research outputs and acting as pathfinders for the evolution of academic publishing and the scholarly record.

In 2016 we commissioned a research project focused on institutional publishing initiatives which includes academic-led publishing ventures (ALPs) as well as new university presses and library-led initiatives (NUPs). We are pleased to announce the publication of the report ‘Changing Publishing Ecologies. A Landscape Study of New University Presses and Academic-led Publishing’, which charts the outcomes of this research.

The report, by Dr Janneke Adema (Coventry University) and Graham Stone (Jisc, formerly Collections and Scholarly Communications Librarian, University of Huddersfield), benchmarks the development of NUPs and ALPs and fills in knowledge gaps. It complements our previous  research, such as OAPEN-UK, the National Monographs strategy, the Jisc/OAPEN Investigating OA monograph services project and the new Knowledge Exchange Landscape Study on Open Access Monographs which will be published in September 2017.

The NUP and ALP strands of the research study were co-ordinated and run in tandem by Stone and Adema. This study was informed by a desk top review of current library publishing ventures in the US, Europe and Australia and an overview of international academic-led initiatives and their existing and future directions. The NUP strand consisted of a survey, which collected 43 responses, where the ALP strand was informed by interviews with 14 scholar-led presses. Taking different approaches for these two types of press, the report captures the take-up, reasoning and characteristics of these initiatives, as well as their future plans.

The report concludes with a series of recommendations to help support and foster new developments in this space, share best practice, collaboration and the tools and services to facilitate further innovation. As such the report recommends to support community building for both NUPs and ALPs, the establishment of guidelines for setting up a press, the provision of legal advice and guidelines for preservation and dissemination, and the development of future projects to support these new initiatives. In particular, the community professed a need for the development of a toolkit that would aid both existing NUPs and academic-led presses, as well as those universities and academics that are thinking about setting up their own publishing initiatives. This toolkit, based on information collated from the communities, could consist of how-to-manuals, best practices guidelines, standardised contracts and agreements and alternative FLOSS software able to support the production process.

The findings of the research carried out as part of this report provide an evidence base for future support for both new university presses and academic-led publishing initiatives to help create and maintain a diverse publishing ecology. We plan to work with both communities, its members, and partners to further build on these recommendations and seek suitable ways to take these ideas forward to realisation.

Full report:

Interview transcripts with Academic-led presses:


Open Citations Experiment

The recent Metric Tide report proposed the notion of responsible metrics as a way of framing appropriate uses of quantitative indicators in the governance, management and assessment of research. One of the crucial dimensions of responsible metrics are transparent measurement systems. Data collection and analytical processes should be kept open and transparent (including university rankings), so that those being evaluated can test and verify the results.

Image by CC BY 2.0 (
Image by CC BY 2.0 (

The move to open access and open research means there are now opportunities for more open citation systems.

In a short experiment we’re investigating new forms of research citation and measures that could offer more accurate and transparent methods of measuring research impact based on an open approach.

We think that CORE which aggregates all open access research outputs from repositories and journals worldwide provides a great basis for this kind of demonstration. CORE is delivered by Jisc in partnership with the Open University (OU).

The open citations experiment team – Drahomira Hermannova and Petr Knoth will develop a graphical demonstrator of a new class of metrics for evaluating research. The demonstrator will allow us to visualise and compare – on a small set of preselected publications from CORE – traditional citation counts with the scores for the new metrics (the contribution score).

While this new method relies on the access to a citation network it does not use citation counts as evidence of impact. Instead it falls in the class of semantometrics/contribution methods, which aim at using the full-text of resources in order to assess research value, you can find out more about them in this 2014 Dlib article.

As part of the experiment a short report will be produced that:

  • provides a qualitative comparative evaluation of the semantometric/contribution method against a baseline of traditional impact metrics
  • compares technical challenges in larges use of semantometrics and traditional metrics including their possible adoption in the CORE aggregator
  • proposes possible modifications/improvements to the contribution method and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of the metrics with respect to time delay, validity across subject fields, transparency, resistance to gaming/manipulation

The demonstrator and report will be available in January 2016, and we’ll post a link to them on this blog.

Following this experiment we plan to evaluate the approach and hope to work with researchers, librarians, research managers, funders and other projects working in this space to assess feasibility and to inform thinking on new services and approaches for research citation.

If you have any thoughts, ideas or connections do let me know.