Open books and book chapters

When people think about open access (OA), many will think about journal articles, but you can also publish your research openly in long form. 

If you are publishing a monograph, book chapter or edited collection, read on to find out how you can make it open access.


Thinking of publishing your next book openly? Contact the team for support and advice

Why publish open?

There are lots of benefits to publishing open access books: 

  • Open access allows your research to be read more widely as it removes access barriers, so your book can be discovered, read, shared and cited without individual readers or libraries purchasing a copy.
  • There is growing evidence that suggests OA monographs are more likely to be accessed, downloaded and cited than non-OA books, with some research showing that the average OA monograph will be downloaded 10 times more and cited 2.4 times more than the average non-OA monograph.
  • Publishing your work under an open access licence can be more conducive to use and re-use in teaching. Many standard e-books often have limits on usage and can mean users are more likely to come up against digital rights barriers, whereas open books can be accessed and used indefinitely.
  • Open books can complement traditional print sales. Many publishers of OA books also publish print copies as well as offering print on demand services. When a print run finishes, the OA version will still be accessible, ensuring long-term accessibility of your research.
  • Usually when publishing your book as open access you will retain the copyright in your own work, allowing you to maintain rights to its use and reuse.

Funder policies

Many research funders now encourage or require open access to their funded research. These policies have applied to research articles and conference proceedings primarily, but funders and policy makers are increasingly looking towards mandating open access for monographs and book chapters.    

There are some funders already who do either request monographs be open access (such as Wellcome Trust / European Union) or support OA monographs by allowing for OA monograph costs to be included in grants (such as AHRC/Leverhulme).   

From 1 January 2024, UKRI will require long-form publications that arise from granny funding to be openly available. This policy will apply to monographs, book chapters and edited collections. We have produced a summary of key requirements

It is anticipated that Research England, as part of their FRAP programme, will launch a consultation on their next REF open access policy. This is expected to propose bringing long-form publications into scope.

These two significant policies, building on existing policies encouraging OA for monographs could signal the move towards a much wider uptake of open access for monographs.  

Fill in our UKRI Open Access Long-form Outputs Form to talk to the team about your planned book chapter, monograph or edited collection

Accessing funding options 

If you are looking to publish your book openly, you may be required to pay a Book Processing Charge (BPC). The costs of BPCs vary by publisher but can cost between £5,000-£15,000.  If you have been externally funded, or are planning to apply for external funding from a funder that requires or recommends OA monographs, then you should investigate how you can access funds from your funder at an early stage. 

  • Wellcome Trust provides funds to supplement research grants and authors should apply directly to them for reimbursement of costs.  
  • AHRC allow publication costs for books, monographs, critical editions etc. to be included in their grants as a Directly Incurred Other Cost.  
  • Leverhulme Trust similarly allow open access costs to be used by project grants or expenses, as long as they are incurred during the period of the Leverhulme award.  
  • ERC allow costs to be allocated with research grants for publication costs, including for monographs, as long as the costs are incurred during the lifetime of the award.
  • UKRI provides some funds towards the cost of supporting long-form publications in scope of the UKRI open access policy.  

Example OA monographs and book chapters

Here are some examples of OA books written and edited by University of Nottingham researchers:

You can find more OA books in NUsearch where we have activated discovery of a number of OA book collection such as DOAB, OAPEN, JSTOR and more.  

Thinking of publishing your next book openly? Contact the team for support and advice

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