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cOAlition S statement on Open Access for academic books

02/09/2021

Academic books – defined here to include monographs, book chapters, edited collections, critical editions, and other long-form works – are an important mode of publication for scholars, especially in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Several studies have pointed out the benefits of Open Access (OA) book publishing. In 2019, Science Europe published five principles for OA to academic books and recommendations for six types of research stakeholders.  Springer Nature has recently shown that OA books receive 2.4 times more citations and are downloaded 10 times more than non-OA books.

Principle 7 of Plan S acknowledged that the timeline to achieve Open Access for books requires a separate and due process. The Implementation Guidance specified that “by the end of 2021, a statement on Plan S principles would be issued as they apply to monographs and book chapters, together with related implementation guidance”.

Since the Plan S principles for research articles were published, many cOAlition S funders have developed their own OA policies around academic books. (For an overview of cOAlition S funders with an existing OA books policy, see Annex A).  On critical elements, like embargoes and licences, policies of cOAlition S organisations have already converged. Most cOAlition S funders have adopted or advise CC licences, and embargoes range between 0 and 12 months.

cOAlition S recognizes that academic book publishing is very different from journal publishing. Our commitment is to make progress towards full open access for academic books as soon as possible, in the understanding that standards and funding models may need more time to develop. Rather than to decree a uniform policy on OA books, we have therefore decided to formulate a set of recommendations regarding academic books – in line with Plan S principles – that all cOAlition S organisations will seek to adopt within their own remits and jurisdictions.

Recommendations

  1. All academic books based on original research that was directly supported with funding from cOAlition S organisations should be made available open access on publication.
  2. Authors or their institutions should retain sufficient intellectual property rights to make their academic books available OA and to allow for re-use.
  3. Academic books should be published open access under a Creative Commons licence.
  4. Any embargo periods on academic books should be as short as possible and never exceed 12 months.
  5. cOAlition S funders should financially support Open Access of academic books via their funding schemes and open access publishing business models via dedicated arrangements.

Implementation

Cognizant of the diversity in the book publishing practices – academic book formats, technical platforms, languages, specific national book publishing practices, publishers, and economic models – cOAlition S will collaborate with the OA books community to develop implementation guidelines that respect this bibliodiversity. These guidelines will include a set of technical standards on OA books that mirror the technical requirements cOAlition S has set for OA journals and repositories (Part III of the implementation guidance).

Existing infrastructures like the Directory of Open Access Books and information resources like the OAPEN OA books toolkit and the position paper Investing in Open Access Books Infrastructure will support the implementation process. The OA books network will serve as an open forum for community input during that implementation process.

“We very much welcome this cOAlition S statement. In particular, we embrace the statement’s invitation to include the diverse community of open access books in the implementation of its recommendations. We are sure that this collaborative approach will resonate well beyond cOAlition S. As representatives of a key infrastructure for open access books we are fully prepared to engage in the implementation of this great vision,” said Pierre Mounier and Niels Stern, co-directors of the Directory of Open Access Books.

 


Annex A: Overview of existing OA book policies of a subset of cOAlition S organisations

Organisation (& link to OA policy) Scope Embargo (months) Licences
Academy of Finland (AKA) Books and books chapters resulting from AKA-funded research 6 in STM, 12 in HSS not specified
Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) OA encouraged for monographs 6; 12 in HSS CC licences recommended
Foundation for Science and Technology of Portugal (FCT) books and books chapters resulting from FCT-funded research (in whole or in part) 12 CC BY recommended
European Commission (Horizon Europe) All books, monographs and other long-text publications provided they are peer-reviewed. 0 CC-BY, CC-BY-ND and CC-BY-NC (or other licences with equivalent rights)
Austrian Science Fund (FWF) All peer-reviewed research results of FWF funded research 12. Applies only if FWF does not financially support the book publication. CC BY and CC BY-NC for book publications required
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) All peer-reviewed academic books, book chapters and collected volumes resulting from research funded partly or in whole by NWO and are primarily aimed at an academic reading audience 0 CC BY preferred, other licences permitted
Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Academic books (monographs and book chapters) arising in whole or in part from the SFI’s funding 12
United Kingdom Research & Innovation (UKRI) Starting 1/1/24: monographs, book chapters and edited collections 12 max any CC licence allowed
Wellcome All original scholarly monographs and book chapters authored or co-authored by Wellcome grant holders 6 CC BY preferred, other CC licences permitted
World Health Organization (WHO) Book chapters 12 max CC BY 3.0 IGO for WHO-authored articles, CC BY 4.0 for WHO-funded chapters
Source: Funders OA book policies / overview