This week sees the launch of the Humanities Digital Library, a new open access publishing platform for scholarly books. The Library is an initiative of the School of Advanced Study (SAS), led by the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) and the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (IALS).
At launch the Library includes monographs in history, law and classics. Over the coming months it will grow to include books from other disciplines researched in institutes across the School. External partners are also participating in the Humanities Digital Library. They include the Royal Historical Society whose ‘New Historical Perspectives’ book series will appear in the Library, published by the IHR.
In this populous arena, the Humanities Digital Library is distinctive in two key ways. First, it offers a combination of first-time monographs (for example, the fourth edition of Stephen Mason’s Electronic Signatures in Law) alongside new eBook versions of works that have previously only existed in print (including A History of the French in London from the IHR’s conference series).
Each title is published as an open access PDF, with copies also available to purchase in print and EPUB formats. As existing titles are rediscovered via the Library we anticipate an upturn in print sales as some readers purchase a valued work in hardcopy. The healthy co-existence, and symbiosis, of OA and print – central to reviews such as Professor Crossick’s – is something we hope to foster.
Second, the Humanities Digital Library allows greater flexibility in publishing formats. Monographs and edited collections of 80–100,000 words will likely remain the dominant currency. But we’re also inviting scholars to experiment with shorter (and perhaps longer) form works when their research is best communicated in a scholarly text of, say, 40,000 words. In addition, the Library will allow creative linking to supporting or supplementary content – for example, datasets or extra images – that cannot be accommodated in traditional print formats.
Direct to Humanities Digital Library