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Open Access and the Humanities, by Martin Paul Eve

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Nour Aoude, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

When it comes to open access, it can sometimes feel like the humanities and social sciences are merely catching up to the progress made in science, technology and engineering disciplines. One of our goals at the Federation is to encourage the publishing of SSH monographs in open access. So naturally, we are very excited about the recent publication of Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge University Press) by author Martin Paul Eve.

It is high time, we believe, for the in-depth analysis that Eve presents of the challenges of open access in the humanities. Our eyes were immediately drawn to the fourth chapter of the book, which specifically addresses challenges of monograph publishing. Eve compares the economics of this kind of publishing to other types of scholarly publications and examines economic models that may be better suited for the publishing of open access monographs.

The remaining four chapters of the book elaborate on the definition of open access in the humanities, the economics of digital open access, open licensing and copyright law, and the innovations that open access may be expected to bring to scholarly publishing (including a discussion of the peer review process).

Eve’s book has already received a positive review from Jonathan Gray in the LSE Review of Books. Gray highlights one of the key original moves in the book, which happens in the second chapter. Here, in his discussion of the economics of open access, Eve distinguishes between financial and symbolic capital in scholarly publication, arguing that economic value systems of scholarly publishing cannot be understood without accounting for “the roles of prestige, trust, and reputation in scholarly publishing.”  

Ultimately, this is a complex and rich book that cannot be condensed into a few paragraphs or a single review. As may be expected, scholars, publishers, and supporters of scholarly publication are able to enjoy the complete volume in open access. We will certainly be taking a closer look at the insights provided in Open Access and the Humanities to stay ahead of the game in our own support for open access through the Awards for Scholarly Publications program (ASPP).

Image: Cambridge University Press

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ASPP

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Open accessSocial innovationAward to Scholarly Publications Program