OAPEN is to publish…

“a study on user needs in relation to open access book publishing within the Humanities and Social Sciences. The study will be made available through OAPEN’s website, www.oapen.org, by the end of October [2009].”

No sign of it yet. Any day now, now doubt…

In the meanwhile, the main findings are:

* Print remains important in HSS although a trend has been established to more digital consumption (more screen reading and E-Book use), more informal online communication (blogs and wiki’s) and a small rise of scholarly writing specifically adapted to the digital environment. It is felt print and E-Books will coexist and will be used side-by-side for the time being.

* Accessibility and dissemination of scholarly content are key. It is felt Open Access promotes both and does not necessarily harm the quality of publications. Accessibility also opens research up further, enabling content enhancement and connections (links) between publications. A good and easy way to use search function remains indispensable.

* In the online environment filter and selection mechanisms such as peer review remain of the utmost importance to establish quality, as are (publishers) brands and (scholarly) reputations. It is felt Open Access monographs should pay extra attention to quality control to ensure their legitimacy.

* Experiments with new forms of collaboration and new (Open Access) business models in book publishing are necessary. The research shows users are still skeptical about the sustainability of these kinds of models but feel experiments are essential to save the monograph from the traditional (print) publishing model that is no longer sustainable.