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Open access journals in humanities and social science

June 10, 2014

The British Academy presents a report investigating some of the issues involved in open access publishing, which seeks to examine various practical issues and difficulties that may arise, using the example of twelve disciplines across the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS).

There are separate ethical, financial and practical arguments in favour of developing open-access provision. At the same time, various difficulties have been identified in practice, focussing on undesired consequences of the desired aims. This report looks at which risks might hinder the process and expansion of open access as it is currently proposed. It focuses above all on 'green' open access policies (the posting of post-peer-review author-accepted manuscripts, on the internet in University repositories, after embargo periods). The report goes on to warn that if UK open-access policies are followed too rigidly, this will, in some disciplines at least, undermine the international reach and thus standing of the country's research.

This research project was led by Professor Chris Wickham, FBA, with support and co-writing from Dr Rebecca Darley and Dr Daniel Reynolds. The project was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and was overseen by a Steering Committee set up by the British Academy to manage the project.