Focus Group on Open Access for Scholarly Books – Report – — public version —

Report published on figshare:
I wrote this about a year ago and plan to write a new article on the topic.


The paper comprises the results of a focus group on open access scholarly monographs/books conducted in Oxford, UK in November 2013 as well as about 12 pages secondary research on the topic.

The secondary research part covers basics, trends and drivers, benefits and some macroeconomic aspects of open access for scholarly literature in general before drilling into various topics of open access for scholarly books specifically, including research funder rationale and how open access mandates are being extended to cover books, funding flows and business and system-wide models emerging for open access books, and activities by university presses, universities, research libraries, commercial publishers, etc.

Finally, the focus group results are presented. The first two hypotheses – that there is an ongoing trend of increasing adoption of open access models for scholarly books and that advances in information technology are the main driver for this – have been largely confirmed. The third hypothesis – that open access models represent a whole host of opportunities for scholarly book publishers – has been largely confirmed and some information about risks revealed. The fourth hypothesis – that the gold open access model represents the most promising opportunity for scholarly book publishers – was the most controversial. Some pros and cons for this hypothesis are outlined in the conclusion section.

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