Background: open access in the humanities and social sciences

  • Most humanities and social sciences research output is in the form of monographs, whereas the sciences mainly show their output in the form of journal articles.

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  • A monograph and a journal article are very different, and therefore have different ‘needs’ in terms of open access.
  • Journal articles are usually written quite quickly and have a particular structure; they are written to fulfil a specific objective and are seen as a means to an end.
  • However, in the humanities the book (monograph) is the principle research output. These are written over a longer period of time and are longer and less structured.
  • The production of the book is the end in itself – its objective is to start a dialogue, not necessarily to provide answers.

The Wellcome Trust is the only UK grant awarding body to have made open access mandatory for monographs.