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Open access for book chapters: event summary

Long form scholarly works, such as monographs, book chapters and edited collections, will become in scope of the new UKRI open access policy if published after 1 January 2024. UKRI is developing a dedicated fund to support these new requirements.

A variety of publishing models already exist to help cover the cost of publishing open access. However, many publishers have already introduced the Chapter Processing Charge (CPC) as their preferred publishing model, and similarly to the Book Processing Charge (BPC) model, there are concerns that the CPC model will not scale with this limited fund.

The issues

The inclusion of book chapters in the UKRI open access policy raises a number of issues that must be resolved prior to policy launch:

  • Where book chapters contain a UKRI funder acknowledgement, but the edited works that they are contained within do not, the individual book chapters must be made open access (OA) within 12 months of publication. This applies to each chapter, if more than one chapter acknowledges funding
  • If the whole edited work acknowledges funding, then the policy applies to the whole book, even if book chapters acknowledge different UKRI funding
  • Chapters in edited works from born OA publishers and those made OA via a subscribe to open or community driven (diamond) models would be compliant

The need to find an affordable and sustainable solution to these issues is vital. A “green route” for an Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) has the potential to be both cost effective and policy compliant, if agreements with publishers can be reached. Therefore, engaging with publishers to put in place new models and workflows that they can adopt, and that authors can publish in, is a key part of our work to support the research community in implementing the UKRI open access policy.

In response to the above issues, we held a workshop in October 2022 where we were joined by representatives from the publishing sector. This blog post provides a summary of the event and links to the workshop report.

The event

The aim of the online workshop was to give publishers the opportunity to share their experiences, concerns and ideas and allow us to gain greater understanding of the challenges they are facing in relation to the inclusion of book chapters in the UKRI open access policy. We need to fully understand the complex issues involved in order to progress a move towards a long term and sustainable solution for publishers looking to be policy compliant.

We divided participants into two groups and used breakout rooms to identify potential barriers, address the challenges associated with the use of AAMs as a route to compliance, discuss workflows, suggest solutions, and consider the next steps for publishers, UKRI and Jisc.

Using questions, which had been shared prior to the workshop to provide some context, the first breakout session saw lively and informative discussions about the barriers to using AAMs as a route to compliance. In the second session, publishers were asked to review a generic workflow for book chapters and advise on whether this workflow reflected their own processes. The aim of this was to provide Jisc and UKRI with a better understanding of publisher workflows, discover where the major pain-points lie, and identify any implications that need to be taken into account rather than pushing a standardised workflow. The final breakout session built upon the previous two, and was an opportunity for participants to suggest some concrete ideas to ensure that the building blocks are in place around book chapters to support the UKRI open access policy.

All participants then convened to the main room to share their thoughts with the wider group. Many conversations in the breakout groups converged on similar themes and suggested a number of well thought out ideas for further work.

The consultation exercises that Jisc has organized to inform [the] UKRI open access policy have been models of active listening,” said Charles Watkinson, 2022-2023 President of the Association of University Presses. “Most of the members of AUPresses are small academic publishers with limited capacity for adding additional overhead. I particularly appreciated the practical orientation of the workshop on OA for book chapters and the underlying commitment to minimizing the burden of compliance. Such sensitivity to operational concerns should help preserve bibliodiversity in academic publishing and prevent commercial consolidation from being an unintended effect of the OA books policy.”

Next steps

We would like to thank the workshop attendees for what was a highly collaborative and lively session. The discussions have formed the basis of the workshop report, which outlines a number of key areas for UKRI, publishers, authors and academic editors, and for publishing systems providers to consider. Jisc and UKRI will now discuss these suggestions further as part of the policy development and implementation.

Further workshops, collaborations and knowledge exchanges between UKRI, Jisc and publisher member organisations, such as the Publishers Association and the Association of University Presses, and other key stakeholder groups, will take place during 2023. We want to guarantee a long term and sustainable workflow solution that allows book chapters containing a UKRI funder acknowledgement to be compliant when long form publications become in scope of the new policy.

Further information

Not only will this project benefit UKRI funded researchers but the outcomes will also benefit other funders looking to launch an open access policy for book chapters. If you would like more information about this event or our work supporting open access book publishing, please get in touch by emailing caroline.mackay@jisc.ac.uk

Jisc Open Research statement: We're working to develop services, provide support, and influence policy, so UK higher education can harness the power of open research.

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By Caroline Mackay

Licensing Manager

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