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Open Access & Scholarly Communication: OA in Humanities & Social Sciences

Resources on open access and scholarly communication.

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