Open Access monographs

There are two key ways you can make a monograph or book chapter open access.

Please note: This is a general guide to open access options. Some funders including UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Wellcome Trust require funded books and chapters to be made open access under specific terms. Please check the funder pages for individual requirements and guidance if this is applicable to you.

Deposit the 'final approved version' of your manuscript in an institutional or subject repository

A permitted version of all book chapters and monographs should be self-archived by depositing it in Pure (and a funder approved repository if required). This allows it to be made open access as soon as possible and preserved in perpetuity. Authors should ensure a publisher’s standard contract terms permit this before signing a contract with them.

It is reasonable (and meets key funder requirements) for the self-archived version to be made open access no more than 12 months from publication under, at minimum, an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND) licence. Where that is not offered by your chosen publisher, you may wish to ask for the contract to be amended.

Alternatively, you may wish to include a rights retention statement when submitting your manuscript, and prior to signing a publishing contract.

When self-archiving in Pure, ensure you link each output to any grant that has supported its publication using the Projects link.

What version should you self-archive?

Funders such as UKRI still refer to an Author’s Accepted Manuscript (AAM) in relation to monographs, but that is not necessarily a term used by monograph publishers. Publishing a book, or edited volume typically takes longer, involves more editorial and production steps and is less consistent between publishers, than journal publishing. Which version of a manuscript is the equivalent of the AAM may not be clear. It is recommended that you deposit the final version of the manuscript you approve as ready for going to print. This usually emerges following any peer review, copy-editing and proof-reading arranged by the publisher or yourself.

If the work is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) or Wellcome Trust, check the specific funder pages for additional guidance before signing any publishing contract, as there may be more requirements to ensure compliance with their open access policies.

Publish with a publisher that makes the Version of Record (VoR) immediately open access via its website

There are a several different open access business models currently in operation for monographs and chapters. Some are open to all authors and have no cost, whereas others do.

Publisher membership schemes 

Libraries / institutions pledge funds to make monographs open access retrospectively or pay a membership to the publisher that covers the cost of open access. This means there is no cost for authors to publish their monographs as open access regardless of their institutional affiliation.

The University has signed up several of these memberships, including:

In addition, while the Library is not currently actively supporting them, the following publishers have revenue streams which allow them to make some or all new monographs open access at no cost to the author:

Finally, the following publishers have revenue streams which allow them to make some or all new monographs open access at no cost only where the author has no funds available to pay publishing costs:

New university presses

Some universities subsidise the publication of open access monographs through their university press. Examples of new university presses include University College London (UCL Press) or White Rose University Press, where authors can benefit from fee waivers or discounts.

The University of Birmingham does not currently have a press of this kind, however, where authors have access to funding to pay for open access monograph publishing, new university presses regularly offer the most reasonable charges and are transparent about where the costs go during the process.

Book and chapter processing charges (BPCs)

These are similar to APCs applied to open access journal articles and are charged by the publisher to make the work open access immediately on their platform. These charges can range anywhere from less than £1,000 to upwards of £15,000 depending on the publisher, whether the charge is for a chapter or whole monograph and the length of the work. It is important to factor these costs in any decisions around open access publishing, and to consider how transparent and fair the pricing is.

Some funders will allow authors to build in costs for BPCs to your grant. Please check the funder pages for individual requirements and guidance if this is applicable to you. 

Third party copyright in open access long form outputs

It is possible to make your long form output open access whilst still including material where the rights reside with a third party. Where the open access licence on your long form work is not compatible with any permissions for reuse of the third party work, it is acceptable to exclude the third party work from the licence, whilst still including it in the final work.

When working on an open access long form output which is likely to contain third party content, it is important you develop a strategy for dealing with such content early on, and try to ensure that where permissions need to be sought, additional time is allowed. Rights holders may, for example, have additional concerns about allowing their work to be included in a book that will be openly accessible in a digital format.

UKRI provide in depth guidance on the inclusion of third party copyright in open access research publications, including template communications and answers to questions that rights holders may have. We recommend you review and follow that guidance early in the process of preparing your manuscript. You are welcome to contact our copyright and licensing team with any queries or concerns.

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