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New Project for Humanities: The Open Library of Humanities

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Open Access has become a part of the scientific mainstream; in many academic disciplines, such as technology, engineering, and mathematics publishing in this model is now quite common. However, the situation in social science and humanities is much less comforting. At the same time, the OA model seems to be a perfect match for these disciplines, since it offers researchers specializing in these areas an opportunity to gain a wider audience for their articles and monographs. Open Access may also give a new impetus to the development of the humanities. It therefore comes as no surprise that new initiatives intended to boost open access across Humanities continue to arise. 

The Open Library of Humanities is a brilliant example of such an enterprise. Curious to find out how exactly this newly established organization is going to help researchers, I took a deeper look into this inspiring project.  The Open Library of Humanities aims to provide a platform for Open Access publishing that is:

  1. Reputable and respected through rigorous peer review
  2. Sustainable
  3. Digitally preserved and safely archived in perpetuity
  4. Non-profit
  5. Open in both monetary and permission terms
  6. Non-discriminatory (APCs are waiverable)
  7. Technically innovative in response to the needs of scholars and librarians
  8. A solution to the serials crisis

Well, all this sounds very nice, but I can’t fathom exactly how the team behind this project is planning to accomplish these goals. They intend to use or follow the PLoS example. The main goal is to establish one “megajournal” which will publish peer reviewed humanities and social science research under Open Access. The organization also plans to set APCs at a very low level or even give up them in some special cases. As we can read on official page of the project:

“We want to build a system like this in the humanities, backed by prominent academics across the spectrum so that, from the very beginning, the project has the academic capital needed to succeed; the area where other similar projects fail.”

The Open Library of Humanities is non-profit organization. Many well known names were involved in the shaping of this project, among them: Dr Martin Paul Eve, Dr Caroline Edwards, Tim McCormick and Mike Taylor.

Can the Open Library of Humanities become a PLoS for humanities? It is hard to say at this point. The project is quite new, and its founders are still searching for an original model solution and a path for its development. However, I believe that Open Access for social science and humanities needs as many new initiatives and ideas as possible. The implementation of OA in these disciplines is still at an early stage. The more new projects, programs and money there is, the more likely it is that OA will disseminate faster among researchers.

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