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Open Access Monographs  

Last Updated: Oct 27, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts
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Award to Scholarly Publications Program

Funded by SSHRC, the ASPP is a competitive funding program designed to assist with the publication of scholarly books on topics in the humanities and social sciences.

The Federation supports Open Access and has established a policy to actively promote and facilitate Open Access publishing of ASPP-funded books.

The ASPP offers 180 Publication Grants of $8,000 and five Translation Grants of $12,000, contributing 1.5 million dollars annually to the dissemination of Canadian research.



YUL Partnerships

York University Libraries contribute to the Knowledge Unlatched program which employs a crowdfunding business model to support open access monograph publishing. The premise of the program is that "many libraries from around the world share the payment of a single Title Fee to a publisher, in return for a book being made available on a Creative Commons licence via OAPEN and HathiTrust as a fully downloadable PDF".

The Libraries are also a member of the international consortium of libraries that fund the Open Library of Humanities, a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges (APCs). 


The open access monograph publishing landscape

In the interest of maintaining scholarly legitimacy and guarding against predatory practices, the scholarly open access (OA) monograph publishing landscape focuses heavily on peer review and accreditation. There is also a shift to libre copyright models, demonstrated by a preference for the adoption of creative commons licensing.

The OAPEN Library is a central repository for hosting and disseminating OA books, while the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) serves as a discovery service for books deposited in the OAPEN Library. These initiatives are the work of the OAPEN Foundation, a not-for-profit organization with a goal of "achieving a sustainable publication model for academic books in humanities and social sciences".

The OAPEN Library "contains freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences. OAPEN works with publishers to build a quality controlled collection of open access books, and provides services for publishers, libraries and research funders in the areas of deposit, quality assurance, dissemination, and digital preservation."

To contribute to the OAPEN library, publishers must be members of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), which maintains a list of exhaustive membership critera. For those seeking to publish an OA monograph, OASPA's list of members provides a list of reputable OA monograph (and journal) publishers.

Publishing an OA monograph may require authors to provide financial assistance to the publisher to offset the costs of the publication process (i.e. editorial work, layout, copyediting, graphic design, marketing). A helpful introduction to OA monograph business models can be found in the Guide to Open Access Monograph Publishing, as well as the The Open Access Directory. The author-pays model (described above) and the freemium model are common. In the freemium model, the publisher makes a basic version of the monograph available free of charge (HTML for example), while the ebook, PDF and/or print versions are sold for a cost. The freemium model may be used to help supplement financial shortfalls when authors lack sufficient subventions.

The following readings may be of interest:

A selected list of OA monograph publishers

This partial list is intended to showcase variety as well as Canadian press options for OA monograph publication. See the OASPA member list for other OA publisher recommendations (note that monograph and journal publishers are interwoven).

  • Athabasca University Press
    "Athabasca University is the first university in Canada to create an open access scholarly press--AU Press. In keeping with its committment to the principles of open access, AU Press reduces barriers to knowledge. Access to all AU Press publications is free over the Internet and, wherever possible, its publications are licensed with Creative Commons."
  • University of Ottawa Press
    The University of Ottawa Press is an early adopter of OA monograph publishing models.
  • Open Book Publishers
    "OBP publishes monographs and textbooks in any area of the Humanities and Social Sciences and are also accepting book proposals in science, mathematics, and medicine. Our standard is at least as high as that of the most prestigious academic presses." While OBP follows a rigorous review process, they do encourage authors of quality manuscripts who may be inexperienced to contact the publisher to discuss their work.
  • Open Humanities Press
    All OHP publications (monographs and journals) are fully and rigorously peer reviewed. Each OHP book series has independent review processes. Proposals for new book series are approved by members of OHP’s Editorial Board. Your monograph manuscript submission must be directed to a particular book series for consideration.
  • Concordia University Press
    Concordia University Press is a non-profit, open access publisher of peer-reviewed books that cross disciplinary boundaries and propel scholarly inquiry into new areas. Concordia University Press books are engaged, accessible, and make a point. The Press publishes in English and in French.

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