Open access for scholarly communication in the Humanities faces some longstanding cultural/social and economic challenges. Deep traditions of scholarly authority, reputation and vetting, relationships with publishers, etc. coupled with relatively shallow pockets in terms of funding (at least compared to the Sciences) and perceptions that the costs associated with traditional modes of scholarly communication are reasonable (at least compared to the Sciences) can make open access a hard sell. Still, there are new opportunities and definite signs of change. Among those at the forefront confronting these challenges while exploring open access opportunities for the Humanities is Martin Paul Eve.
Followers of the blog will be familiar with the name Martin Paul Eve. Dr. Eve is Lecturer in the Faculty of Media Humanities and Performance at the University of Lincoln in the United Kingdom, and co-founder of the Open Library of Humanities (OLH), an innovative project aiming to build a sustainable model for open access scholarly communication in the Humanities. (I have written about the development of OLH and the work of Dr. Eve on the blog here, here, here, here, and here. [Hover on links for post title and date.])
Martin Eve has written a new book set to be released later this week entitled Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy and Research at Open Knowledge got advanced access to Open Access and the Humanities and he posted a review on The London School of Economics and Political Science Review of Books site. The full review is well worth a read. Gray summarizes:
Eve’s book gives a synoptic and multi-layered overview of many of the different factors at play in scholarly communication in the humanities, and offers valuable suggestions about how a transition to open access in the humanities might take better account of these factors, bringing much needed critical and constructive reflection to the contemporary pursuit of a long held dream. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the future of open access and scholarly communication in the humanities, and a rallying call for more researchers to join those working to shape this future.
I am very much looking forward to Eve’s contribution, particularly because, as Gray notes, “[it] addresses an important gap in the recent literature on open access” which has tended to focus on the Sciences.
It is especially noteworthy that in addition to paperback and hardcover editions, Cambridge University Press will release Martin Eve’s Open Access and the Humanities as a freely downloadable open access ebook, following on the successful recent release of Jo Guldi and David Armitage’s The History Manifesto.