6 innovations from the humanities that make Open Access publishing a reality to everyone

One of the common beliefs that often comes up when discussing research dissemination strategies is that Open Access publishing equals high publishing costs. Shifting the burden of payment from readers to authors (or their funders or institutions) indeed creates a new set of inequalities in open scholarly communication as article or book processing charges (APCs or BPCs) are not affordable for many scholarly communities.

This recognition gave rise to more equitable forms of Open Access publishing. These models rely on library consortial funding mechanisms, crowdfunding, freemium services, institutional grants or funders’ collective investments into shared infrastructures and therefore create and maintain publication forums that are openly and freely available both for authors and readers.

Some of the most successful free-to-publish Open Access endeavors have been emerging from arts and humanities in response to the particular needs of the humanities scholars concerning publishing formats, academic evaluation, and funding availability. In the last episode of our Open Access in the arts and humanities blog series, we introduce a selection of these endeavors for you to explore. You are very welcome to expand this list below in the comments! All of them come with the highest standards of peer-review and show values and innovations that are very much in line with the core principles of Open Access.


Open Access innovations  from the humanities


Open Access monographs need to be integrated into the digital and open scholarly ecosystem to improve their discoverability and general well-being in the 21st century academia and beyond.  This is what the High Integration of Research Monographs in European Open Science (HIRMEOS) project is all about. It adds added value services to 5 open book platforms (OpenEdition, OAPEN, University Press Göttingen, EKT, Ubiquity Press). These are: identification services (DOI, ORCID, Fundref), entities recognition services (persons, places, periods), certification services (peer review certifications and connection with DOAB), open annotation service (Hypothes.is) and usage metrics services (Open Access metrics, alternative metrics). These implementations enhance the visibility, citability and quality assessment of digital Open Access books and connect them with the rest of open scholarship. The implementation of services has been conducted in the framework of OPERAS, a wider research infrastructure aimed at developing more inclusive, open scholarly communication and support emerging publishing models.

This 3-minutes video explains the main outcomes of the project and why they are especially important in a humanities context.

Knowledge Unlatched

The Open Access publication service Knowledge Unlatched forms a bridge between libraries and publishers in the monograph publishing ecosystem. Its crowdfunding model brings together libraries from all over the world to pay into a fund to make scholarly books Open Access. The company recently started to expand their services to journal packages as well.

Language Science Press

The idea behind the ‘self-service’ book publishing initiative Language Science Press was that book publishing should be fully under the control of scholars. At Language Science Press, the authors are responsible for typesetting in LaTeX (together with the series editors) while book series editors are responsible for acquiring, reviewing and selecting manuscripts for publication. Here again focus is primarily on digital format: books are freely available in their PDF version with a CC-BY license, but paper versions can also be bought from print-on-demand companies. Both their infrastructure and their workflow are designed to harness new possibilities of the digital, networked publishing environment: it enables storing publications together with primary data and software, connecting text to corpora. Furthermore, thanks to the integration with the open annotation services of PaperHive, content can be continuously edited, improved and extended by other researchers. Their business model and data complemented by a Cookbook for Open Access books is available here.   

Linguistics in Open Access (LingOA)

LingOA is a revolutionary example, now developed into a full-fledged model, of moving journals from a subscription model to an Open Access model. It all started with the collective resignation of the Editorial board of the Elsevier-owned journal Lingua as an outcome of the unsuccessful negotiations about the board’s demands including many elements forming now the core of Plan S e.g. flipping the journal to Open Access, capping APCs to a maximum of 400 EUR, or replacing copyright transfer to CC-BY. As a response, the editors founded the OA journal Glossa, published by Ubiquity Press, now being partners of the Open Library of the Humanities. As a further step in transition to fair Open Access publishing for the entire discipline of linguistics, they launched LingOA, a publishing project to enable international linguistics journals to flip to Open Access by paying for the APCs of articles published in these journals during the next five years if the journals comply with the Fair Open Access Principles. As such, the prospects of the project are not less than that linguistics will soon be able to publish all their research in fair Open Access.

Open Edition

Communities around DARIAH might well be familiar with Open Edition or at least some of digital publishing infrastructure dedicated to electronic resources in the humanities and social sciences. Currently, it brings together 6153 books, 431 journals, 2732 blogs and 39550 events from 4 publishing platforms: OpenEdition Journals, OpenEdition Books, Hypotheses and Calenda. The portal is thus a joint, integrative and shared space dedicated to the promotion of Open Access research and digital publishing. The dissemination of Open Access content from journals, books, research blogs, and academic announcements is complemented by the Open Edition Freemium programme offered exclusively for institutions (libraries, campuses, research institutes) in which premium services and formats (like PDF download and EPUB) are offered for the member institutions. All income generated by the programme is reinvested in the development of open access academic publishing.

Open Library of Humanities

Probably the most widely known and well-received Open Access publishing project in the humanities is the Open Library of Humanities.  OLH was an answer to the lack of funding for Open Access in the humanities. The aim of the OLH founders was to publish open access humanities research immediately but without the author having to pay article-processing charges. As a sustainable way of tackling the lack of funding for Open Access in the humanities, the OLH publishing model relies on support from an international collection of libraries which in effect allows the publication of articles without the need for Article Processing Charges. OLH complements its high-quality publication services with Open Access advocacy and thus indeed  functions as a lighthouse for the humanities communities in this rapidly changing, sometimes surging, sometimes scary environment of open scholarly communication.

For insights on how Open Access works in a humanities context, check out the OLH movie.


In our next post, we are going to move from Open Access to the topic of open data management in the arts and humanities.

In the meantime, tell us about which resources you have available to facilitate Open Access to your work. Is it easy to find an Open Access publication forum for your topic?  What kind of institutional support is available for you and what are the challenges you are facing in openly sharing your work?

Leave your comments below to let us know and to stay connected!

(Image source: Pixabay, CC0)


Cite this blog post
Erzsebet Toth-Czifra (2019, March 28). 6 innovations from the humanities that make Open Access publishing a reality to everyone. DARIAH Open. Retrieved April 24, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/ngtu

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