The State of OA in Humanities

Dr Martin Paul Eve’s book Open Access in the Humanities is an incredibly detailed, extensive and comprehensive exploration of, well, Open Access in the Humanities. He gauges the Humanities publication field, siding for Open Access yet galantly acknowledging the multiplicity of perspectives which enter into the debate. His analysis covers the publication landscape, the digital platform necessary for the proliferation of OA in the first place, as well as the academic dichotomy between financial and reputational economics.

While the Humanities have not been particularly apt at adopting OA, researchers are predisposed to disseminate their work in Open Access, argues Eve. Left to their own devices, most might not even think of charging any subscription fees- and this is largely due to the fact that permission and payment barriers are designed to remunerate publishers, while publishing is seldom a scholar’s main source of income.

Independent scholars, postgraduates and academics working in less wealthy institutes are significantly disadvantaged by a gold model. But such a policy does not necessarily sit well with other humanities researchers either, as humanities funding is scarce and seemingly getting scarcer (those affiliated to more prestigious institutions are thus favoured, as authors rely on their institutions to pay. Are intellectual movements predicated on such elitism?).

Green OA fares better, but unless you are affiliated to a wealthy institution, there’s no guarantee the accessible article will match the published version located in a subscription-based journal.

Regarding payment barriers, Eve provides a number of solutions to the APC problem in the humanities, not least the possibility of setting up a central fund. He has been working, to this end, on a business model that receives funding from Library Partnership Subsidies:

“The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a gold open access, peer-reviewed, internationally-supported, academic-led, not-for-profit, mega-journal, multi-journal and books platform for the humanities. Unlike many gold open-access platforms, the OLH has no author-facing charges and is instead funded by an international library consortium.”

The OLH website may be accessed here:

Open Access in the Humanities may be read here: