Other Open Access

Investing in the Open Access Book infrastructure - A call for action

Pierre Mournier; Jeroen Sondervan; Graham Stone

Editor(s)
Lucy Barnes; Margot Bargheer; Dirk Pieper; Vanessa Proudman; NIels Stern; Claire Leymonerie; Sofie Wennström

Books play an essential role in scholarly communication, notably but not only within the Social Sciences and Humanities. Open science benefits the quality and value of research and scholarship. If open access is to benefit society as widely as possible, it is logical to include academic books. In a 2019 briefing paper, Science Europe reported that: “Open access to academic books must be considered in the wider open access policies developed by research institutions, funders, and governments”.

In recent years, Knowledge Exchange, a joint network of six key national organisations in Europe, has been working on gaining a better understanding of the open access book landscape, identifying existing initiatives as well as gaps that need to be addressed in the countries concerned. In general, there is a clear will in the scholarly community to accelerate open access for academic books in order to better serve research and society's needs.

However, to overcome the obstacles identified by research activities, reports and networks, and to roll out good practices and increase opportunities, additional coordinated support is needed, in particular from research and funding organisations. In February 2021, a one-day virtual workshop brought together stakeholders from a number of European countries, all with a common understanding that open access for academic books needs further attention and support. The prerequisites for the implementation of a well-functioning and sustainable open access book infrastructure are discussed below.

This position paper, undersigned by the workshop participants, identifies three legs of a policy stool that together will support the full transition to open access for academic books. It brings together people, technology and knowledge.

The signatures in the first version of this document include workshop delegates. The document will stay open (https://tinyurl.com/PPOpenBooks) for additional signatures. We will update this document (and version it) as appropriate.

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