May 18, 2022

OAPEN-UK Surveys Humanities and Social Science Researchers About Open Access, CC Licensing, and More

The report was released today by OAPEN-UK, an organization researching monographs and open access.

690 researchers were surveyed.

Caren Milloy, head of the OAPEN-UK (being managed by JISC Collections), summarizes some of the findings in a blog post titled, “Exploring open access to save monographs, the question is – how?”

By the way, some of the findings provide insight into library usage, reading preferences, etc.

First, a bit about some of the group’s work:

What if your monograph was available online for free for everyone to read as a PDF or in HTML and in addition libraries and academics could still purchase print (60% of academics still prefer print) or e-book editions if they wanted them? There would be no limits on who can read your book – discoverable to all through online search engines and the sales of the print could support the sustainability of the Open Access version. And of course each book is put through the same peer review processes that normal print books are – you could even experiment with open peer review – or get input from fellow colleagues as you write.

This is the model we are exploring in OAPEN-UK with 58 monographs matched into pairs – half available in OA and half available through standard methods. We are gathering sales, usage and citation data to assess performance – do the OA titles get more usages and sales than the control group titles?


  • Only 50% of researchers are aware of OA and only 30% familiar with it.
  • Around 50% of researchers think it is ok to make a profit from OA publishing as long as that profit goes back into supporting the discipline or making more OA content available – 20% think you can make a profit and use it however you like and 20% think that you can make a profit but only to cover costs.
  • Almost 80% would prefer the most restrictive Creative Comms licence, but what is interesting is that the responses show that researchers are more concerned about protecting their work than it being used commercially.
  • 60% had read a monograph in the last couple of days – 39% had bought it and 33% had got it via the library
  • Early career academics are more willing to consider self-publishing than later career researchers.
  • 397 that had published a mono, book chapter or co-authored a mono since 2000 where interviewed. The authors picked their publishers because 1st they are good at disseminating to the right audience, 2nd cause they have good QA process, 3rd cause they are the best in their filed and 4th because they were the only ones interested!
  • Phd students were more likely to rely on the library that late career academics
  • Print still dominates reading preferences but less so for early career academics
  • Perception of the group was that open access will have negative impacts on quality, reputation and reward but will be brilliant for availability and efficiency – so clearly any open access model really has to address quality and think about impacts in terms of the REF and reputations. Oh and no one really cares about royalties!

Access the Complete Report

See Also: Findings From OAPEN-UK Focus Groups With Various Groups Including:

  • Publishers
  • Ebook Aggregators
  • Authors and Readers
About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.