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OUP participated in OAPEN-UK from September 2013. As part of the project, an open access ‘matched pairs’ pilot was funded by JISC Collections and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) to investigate and gather evidence on the viability of open access monographs in the humanities and social sciences.

The Pilot

The pilot compared open access books with those published via the normal route to assess the impact of open availability, both in terms of usage and sales. OUP published eighteen open access scholarly monographs, with the permission of the authors. Each was matched with a control title chosen to be as similar as possible in terms of subject area, length, predicted sales and publication date. The open access titles, which were randomly selected, were made available as a PDF document that was free for online users to download and disseminate under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No-Derivatives 3.0 International Licence (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). They were flagged as open access on the OUP website and made free to read on Oxford Scholarship Online. In addition, copies of each title were contributed to the OAPEN Library, the Directory of Open Access Books and Google Books to aid the discovery of the free version. In all other respects the open access titles continued to be sold and marketed in the same way as our normal titles, so customers were still able to purchase print copies or eBook versions. The matched control titles were sold, marketed and distributed as they would under a normal publication model.

Participating Titles

The following monographs have been published open access as part of the pilot:

Final Report

Over the duration of the study, the titles were carefully monitored in terms of their online usage and sales. All the data collected by OUP was given to the project organisers at JISC who compiled it with information contributed by other participating publishers. The results of the matched pairs study were made available alongside the final OAPEN-UK report which detailed the experiences and recommendations of various stakeholders involved in the move towards open access monographs. Overall, the study was a good experiment in ‘real-world’ publishing that allowed OUP to work through the practicalities of publishing books as open access and to understand the usage and sales trends which will guide the development of sustainable business models. The final reports were published in January 2016 and are available to read on the project website.

Read the matched pairs pilot report

Read the final OAPEN-UK report