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Open access books

Publishing open access books

Open access books are freely available online to be read and reused by anybody with an internet connection, anywhere in the world. Publishing your book open access enables a wider and more diverse readership and can increase visibility and impact of your research. You can make your book open access by publishing open access on the publisher website or by depositing a copy into a repository (self-archiving), normally a Creative Commons licence will be applied.

On this webpage we refer to open access publishing of scholarly monographs, book chapters and edited collections, but open access can also apply to textbooks and other student teaching materials (Open Educational Resources).

Open access book publishers

Publishers that offer open access book publishing options include specialist full open access book publishers, which only publish open access books. Hybrid publishers offer open access publishing following payment of a fee. Some publishers do not yet offer open access book publishing options as standard but may be able to provide this upon request. Read more about finding an open access book publisher on the OA Books Toolkit.

Open Book Environment Dashboard provides information about open access book publishing options with a range of publishers. JISC Open Access for books provides an overview of publishers' book policies.

Funder open access requirements for books

Many funders now require open access to long form output types arising from their funding, including UKRI (monographs, book chapters and edited collections, within 12 months), Wellcome Trust (scholarly monographs and book chapters, within six months) and Horizon Europe (immediate open access via a "trusted repository" to all peer-reviewed outputs).

Your funder may pay open access book publishing costs, visit the funder policy webpage.

Funding to publish open access

Where the publisher charges a fee to publish an open access book, this may be referred to as a Book Processing Charge or BPC. These start at around £5,000 and can be as high as £10,000 plus VAT. Fees charged vary greatly between publishers, we recommend considering the relative costs when choosing where to publish. 

When publishing a book chapter, check the publisher’s self-archiving policy, as many publishers allow allow you to deposit a copy of your chapter into a repository, free of charge. You may wish to include a Rights Retention statement in your chapter at submission, to ensure you can make the accepted manuscript version immediately open access in ORE under CC BY licence.

Contact the Open Research team before signing a publishing contract to discuss your options for making your monograph, chapter or edited collection open access.

Open access monograph initiatives

Book Processing Charges can present a barrier to publishing open access, as most authors do not have access to funding to pay. The University supports alternative business models, where publishers offer open access book publishing options without charging author fees:

Third party copyrighted content in open access books

Ideally, open access versions should include all images, figures, illustrations and other supporting content. However, Third Party Copyrighted materials within an open access book may be subject to a more restrictive licence.  Find more information about copyright and open access books in the UKRI and JISC guides linked on the right hand side of the page. Or, visit the Copyright Toolkit.