Report Open Access

Academic Libraries and Open Access Books in Europe. A Landscape Study

Morka, Agata; Gatti, Rupert

The last fifteen years have witnessed the emergence of a new role for academic libraries. Besides fulfilling
their fundamental task of providing access to knowledge, besides being called everything from
temples of knowledge to disturbing heterotopias, libraries have become one of the crucial stakeholders
in the open access book publishing space. They act as funders for OA book fees, they support
collaborative funding schemes, and sometimes they assume the role of publishers themselves.
In an attempt to create a sustainable publishing environment, in which OA books could blossom, it
is therefore necessary to gain a sound understanding of how academic libraries work, how they deal
with open access initiatives, and what challenges they encounter. These questions remain at the very
core of this report.
The landscape painted in this report is by no means exhaustive; there are many more countries in the
European community, other than the fourteen we have looked at, that need further investigating. The
sample that we have taken under closer inspection proved to be a lively and diverse organism that
escapes any easy overarching classifications. In order to better understand the role of academic and
research libraries in Europe regarding open access books, we have looked at several crucial aspects
that would help us both identify common threads and pinpoint regional particularities. We have examined
each country according to the following areas of interest: 1. general characteristics of library
systems for e-content and OA publications, 2. library community and open access, 3. OA book policies,
4. OA book funding, 5. library/scholar-led OA book publishing initiatives, and 6. integration of OA
books in library systems.

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