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Open Access & Scholarly Communication  

Resources on open access and scholarly communication.
Last Updated: Aug 3, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

OA in Humanities & Social Sciences Print Page

Open Access in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS)

While much of the discussion of Open Access publishing focuses on the journal literature and research data produced in the science, technology, and medicine fields (STM), there are opportunities for Open Access publishing in humanities and social sciences (HSS) as well. Open Access scholar Peter Suber* identifies several reasons for the slower advance of Open Access in the HSS fields than in STM fields, including:

  • lower journal pricing, which decreases the urgency for alternative economic models;
  • less availability of federal funding, which means OA author fees usually can't be paid from grants, and providing access for tax payers is not as strong an argument for OA;
  • higher peer review costs, which are difficult to support in an OA economic model;
  • and the prevalence of the book as a format, which lends itself less well to OA publishing.

Despite these factors, OA options are expanding in the HSS fields, including opportunities for OA book development, article archiving, and data archiving and sharing. Some scholars are re-conceptualizing the very natures of both the book and journal in a networked, media-rich environment that allows new modes of interaction, annotation, and collaboration to emerge. Explore the projects on the right and below for a little OA inspiration.

*Suber, P. (2004). Promoting Open Access in the Humanities. (Working paper). (

HSS Open Access Initiatives

  • Open Humanities Press
    An international open access publishing collective in critical and cultural theory.
  • Open Library of the Humanities (OLH)
    Building a low cost, sustainable, Open Access future for the humanities.
    The Social Science Open Access Repository (SSOAR) maintains a steadily growing collection of full-text social-science documents that are freely accessible.
  • PhilSci-Archive
    PhilSci-Archive, is an electronic archive for preprints in the philosophy of science. It is offered as a free service to the philosophy of science community. The goal of the archive is to promote communication in the field by the rapid dissemination of new work.
    hprints is an Open Access repository aiming at making scholarly documents from the Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences openly available to the widest possible academic audience. It is the first of its kind in the Nordic Countries for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Open Language Archives Community
    OLAC, the Open Language Archives Community, is an international partnership of institutions and individuals who are creating a worldwide virtual library of language resources.
  • History & Theory of Psychology Eprint Archive
    It is offered as a free service to the community of scholarly historians and theoreticians of psychology with the goal of promoting the rapid dissemination of new work in the field.
  • Postmodern Culture
    Published by Johns Hopkins University Press with support from the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Virginia. Note: text only version is OA, images and videos require a subscription.
  • Culture Machine
    Culture Machine is an international open-access journal of culture and theory, founded in 1999. Its aim is to be to cultural studies and cultural theory what 'fundamental research' is to the natural sciences: open-ended, non-goal orientated, exploratory and experimental. All contributions to the journal are peer-reviewed.

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