Open access and monographs
In planning an approach for open access and the next REF, the UK HE funding bodies received very clear advice, during consultation, that the monograph publishing world was not yet at a stage where it could support an open access requirement. We have listened to this advice; monographs and other longer publications will not need to be made available in an open access form to be eligible for submission to the next REF.
However, we remain keen to understand the issues better and to support efforts to solve them wherever possible. We are optimistic about the potential for open access to sustain and enhance scholarly communications in the humanities and social sciences, and we are confident that open-access monograph publishing initiatives will continue to grow over the coming years.
Furthermore, the long timescales for monograph publishing mean that policy decisions would be needed now if requirements were to be introduced for the REF after next.
HEFCE monographs and open access project
In partnership with the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, we commissioned a project to investigate the issues and help identify potential ways forward for research funders, institutions, publishers and academics interested in open access monographs.
Geoffrey Crossick, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, has led this work. Professor Crossick was formerly Vice-Chancellor of the University of London and Warden of Goldsmiths.
The project was supported by an Expert Reference Group which helped to establish what evidence was needed to inform understanding in this area, and to shape an appropriate programme of work to gather this evidence.
The report identifies the issues that must be addressed if open access requirements for monographs were to be introduced, and sets out a number of areas for further work to be undertaken by research funders. The community of research funders in the UK are mindful that any next steps must follow a period of discussion and consultation with the relevant stakeholder communities. Further details of this will be published in the coming months.
The monographs and open access project: Report to HEFCE
The monographs and open access project report was published on 22 January 2015.
Expert Reference Group
The Expert Reference Group met for the first time on 4 November. The discussion paper and notes from the meeting are available below. We welcome comments on these, in particular where they draw our attention to any evidence we may need to be aware of when devising our programme of work.