Open access: the case of creative writing?

In the first of my previous posts on open access publishing, I mentioned that I was considering establishing an open access programme under our new imprint. That imprint is Creative Writing Studies and is dedicated to publications for scholars, teachers, and students involved in that discipline in higher education. To date, we have commissioned a number of books to be published using a conventional (retail) model. The question now is whether to supplement that programme with one using an open access model.

To date, open access has made more headway in scholarly journal publishing than book publishing. There are reasons for that. Electronic dissemination is better established in journal publishing. Where paper copies are produced, print runs may be based in subscription numbers. And the charge – to the author or the author’s sponsor – for an article is likely to be less than for an entire book.

Nevertheless, the open access model is to be found in scholarly book publishing too. The Open Access Directory provides a listing of publishers who use this model. The Open Access Publishing in European Networks (OAPEN) provides an example of an online platform and library.

There are reasons for thinking that open access may become more popular in scholarly book publishing. Theoretically, at least, the provision of books free to users might be expected to (a)  increase citation counts and (b) help researchers to reach a broader audience and hence make an impact beyond their own academic communities.

We are considering, therefore, developing an open access programme that would be:

1. subject to the same quality control measures as our conventional programme (notably through peer review);

2. marketed alongside our conventional programme.

Would such an innovation be a good idea? If so, what exactly is required? These are the questions we are asking ourselves. If you’d like to contribute to the debate about open access book publishing in general, please use the ‘leave a comment’ function below. If you’d like to contribute your thoughts on the question of open access in creative writing studies specifically, please leave a comment on our imprint website.

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