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.
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.
|Organisation (& link to OA policy)||Scope||Embargo (months)||Licences|
|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||12 max||any CC licence allowed|
|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|