May 29, 2022

British Academy Report Offers New Evidence About Impact of Open Access Journal Publishing

From the British Academy of Humanities and Social Science:

A new British Academy report offers the first full evidence-based analysis of the impact of UK Open Access policies on the current pattern of humanities and social science journal publishing.

Author of the report and Publications Secretary at the British Academy, Professor Chris Wickham, said: “Far too much of the current UK Open Access debate has been based on very little evidence, particularly in the large humanities and social science sector. This project, funded by HEFCE and run by the British Academy, aimed to change that, and I believe it has. I hope that the conclusions of the report will shift the field of debate.”

The report, Open Access Journals in Humanities and Social Science, investigates some of the major issues involved in the UK’s Open Access agenda, seeking to examine various practical issues and difficulties that may arise, particularly in ‘green’ open-access journal publishing.


Research for the report looked at Open Access use and understanding from across the humanities and social sciences. Key findings of the report include:

  • There are wide differences in the patterns of the type of publication and publisher used across the sector;
  • Current UK Open Access rules are not understood and adhered to throughout the international community;
  • Journals in some subject areas (particularly English and Modern languages) have very low levels of Open Access availability outside the UK, which creates problems for Research Council funding of these disciplines according to current rules;
  • No change is needed for embargo periods in humanities and social science;
  • The length of time that research remains relevant, as measured by article downloads, is surprisingly stable across disciplines;
  • As long as embargoes remain at 24 months, green Open Access will not have much effect on the buying of journals by libraries, or on journal financial viability.

Direct to Full Text Report: Open Access Journals in Humanities and Social Science (108 pages; PDF)

UPDATE: David Crotty Interviews Chris Wickham, One of the Co-Authors of the Report (via The Scholarly Kitchen)

See Also: Four Higher Ed Funding Bodies Publish New Policy For Open Access in Post-2014 Research Excellence Framework (March 31, 2014)

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.