The humanities: critical issues in OA

Goldsmiths College hosted a full day of discussions on what makes OA in the humanities ‘different'.

An event held at Goldsmiths College, University of London, brought together an audience of researchers, librarians and representatives of university presses to discuss the current state of affairs in open access publishing in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) and potential future directions.

The event will be followed by a report, which will be published by the Goldsmiths University Press.

Key messages

The humanities are different

  • The humanities experimented in OA very early on – but now the debate and the pathways are being led by STE(A)M
  • The arts, humanities and social sciences (AHSS) are different. Monographs and long form publications have a distinct role. They allow authors to provide rich detail, to be reflective. They can offer analysis and narrative.
  • Also fundamental are the layout, the images and the very process of engaging with a book. There are still limitations in the digital format.
  • Discourse not data – or if it IS discussing data it is usually data from a third party

Mandates are not popular

  • Funders have focused on mandates too much
  • Focus has been too narrow
  • We can’t simply adapt ideas and models inherited from STE(A)M
  • Green and gold models are too limiting for AHSS

 Celebrate the difference

  • Book processing charges are not the way forward
  • Explore new models of funding
  • A diversity of models should be welcomed and encouraged

 Collaborate and be positive

  • Support library-led publishing
  • Publishers should assert that they are not the enemy
  • Researchers and academics must recognise that publishers matter
  • A call to collaborate with funders and policy makers to create a tailor-made policy for AHSS
  • Avoid monopolies
  • One size will NOT fit all