Open Access Futures in the Humanities and Social Sciences

A one day conference for social science researchers presented by SAGE and the LSE
In association with the British Academy and Academy of Social Sciences

OA conference

As part of Open Access Week 2013, we co-hosted the event Open Access Futures in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The aim of the conference was to bring together a diverse range of voices within the wider community to examine and interrogate issues of openness, new horizons for adopting open access practices, and how best to achieve a beneficial transition to a more open future for humanities and social science research.

Focusing on the opportunities and challenges that open access presents for the humanities and social sciences, the conference provided stimulating contributions from all sides of the OA debate, with the goal of encouraging and shaping HSS-relevant engagement. Featuring panellists from academia, funders, publishers and learned societies, it addressed the foundational questions of ‘Why Open Access?’ and ‘What type of Open?’ before considering the potential benefits that OA could provide for HSS and the possible routes towards more open futures.

Watch the full event on Youtube: Part One and Part Two. The Twitter conversation is compiled herehere and here.

Programme and presentations from the event:

Panel 1: Why OA? Which OA?

How well do the ideas behind open access fit with characteristics of HSS? What are the drivers, goals and costs of open access in HSS; is open access the only means of achieving those goals? What is the most appropriate model (or models) of open access for the HSS disciplines, especially in relation to the re-use of scholarly works?

  • Jonathan Gray, Director of Policy, Open Knowledge Foundation (full text of talk available here)
  • Professor Peter Mandler, President, Royal Historial Society
  • Professor Charlotte Waelde, Chair of Intellectual Property Law, University of Exeter
  • Brian Hole, Researcher and publisher, University College Longon, Ubiquity Press
  • Chair – Professor Adam Tickell, Pro Vice Chancellor, Research, Birmingham, Academy of Social Sciences Council and Chair of Nominations Committee, Finch Committee member

Afternoon Keynote: As HEFCE’s consultation on the role of open access in the next REF period comes to a close, their Director for Research, Innovation and Skills talks about HEFCE’s strategy in relation to the HSS subject areas.

  • David Sweeney, Director, HEFCE.

Panel 2: New Horizons? Open Access and the potential for positive change in HSS research communication

Where could open access take us in HSS? How might it bring positive change to established systems of peer review, research presentation, scholarly collaboration and data-sharing? What are the dangers of such shift in practice, and how might they be mitigated?

  • Dr. Caroline Edwards, Lecturer in Modern & Contemporary Literature, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr. Paul Kirby, Lecturer in International Security International Relations, University of Sussex and author of Disorder of Things blog
  • Ian Mulvany, Head of Technology, eLife (slideshare slides)
  • Chair – Professor Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, LSE

Panel 3: What Next? Transition mechanisms and next steps in HSS

What open access future(s) do we want for HSS and how do we get there? Do we want revolution or evolution, and how do we overcome the collective action problems that stand in the way of change? What are the roles in this process for the university, the learned society, the librarian, the funder, the publisher and the academic?

  • Professor Steffen Bohm, University of Essex, Mayfly Books
  • Ziyad Marar, Global Publishing Director, SAGE
  • Sally Hardy, CEO of the Regional Studies Association
  • Simon Kerridge, Director of Research Services at the University of Kent and Chair, Association of Research Managers and Administrators (UK)
  • Professor Ian Walmsley,Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research and University Collections) University of Oxford
  • Chair – Dr. Paul Ayris, Director UCL Library Services and UCL Copyright Officer

In conjunction with the Open Access Futures event, the Impact blog put together its first eCollection – Open Access Perspectives in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The collection delves deeper into many of the issues discussed at the event, as well as provides additional space for topics we may not have been able to suitably cover during the event. The panel sessions were video recorded and are available to watch here. In the coming week, we will look to compile further material from the event.

ecollection image

Download the PDF of the eCollection for more on the following topics:

UK Open Access Policy, Delivery and Commercialisation

Open Access Policy in an International Context

  • Alma Swan (SPARC): Views from Europe
  • Heather Morrison (Ottawa): OA policy across the pond
  • Dominique Babini (CLACSO): Voices from the Global South

Looking Ahead: Discipline-Specific Perspectives

  • Velichka Dimitrova (OKFN): Open data in economics
  • Jelte Wicherts (Tilburg): Open psychology data
  • Justin Bzovy and Emma Ryman (Western University): Philpapers

Many thanks to all who took part in the event yesterday, in person and online, and many thanks to the above contributors.

Alternatively you can view the eCollection on Issuu

issuu ecollection

If you have any questions on Open Access Perspectives in the Humanities and Social Sciences, please do get in touch at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email