When we think about open access (OA) publishing in academia, it’s very often about articles. That is, relatively short, data- and research-focused pieces in peer-reviewed journals. Trends in open science, public funding, cost containment, and library collection development have driven a lot of those conversations, and they’re important.
Today, though, I’d like to talk about the scholarly monograph. Book-length content published as a stand-alone work is not the norm for many of the hard sciences. But it is often the end result of important work done in the humanities, liberal arts, and social sciences—and often required for tenure and promotion in those disciplines.
The trends we’re seeing in OA for article-level materials are very promising. But they also often work against monograph publishing, which is not good for academic presses working in the humanities.
There is an opportunity here, however, for academic libraries to engage in OA publishing to promote and protect the work being done by their humanities scholars.