Details of a recent JISC survey in the arts and humanities and social studies. They asked if OA publishers could be allowed to recoup their costs on open access, by selling print-on-demand paper copies of monographs. I guess this is consultation on the medium-range future, since the UK Research Councils and the HEFCE are both targetting journal articles and conference papers for OA first, not books (and thus presumably not monographs) or data.

What I’d want (and might pay for during a research project, instead of a free PDF) wouldn’t be print, but a nicely formatted .mobi ebook file for my Kindle ereader. But if a publisher’s Kindle monograph costs £65 (inc. shipping from the USA) and a simple PDF to Kindle operation is free, why would I not choose the latter, mangled formatting and all? Many others will simply read their PDFs on an iPad, Kindle Fire or other tablet.

However, it seems that for the moment print rules…

“Print still dominates reading preferences, but less so for early career academics”

Yet I really can’t see university managers standing for academics charging the departmental credit-card £50+ a time to get print monographs, once the PDFs are free online (as the legal requirement for OA widens out from just “research council funded” works to encompass all taxpayer-funded works). To save costs managers might present their stick-in-the-mud academics with shiny new £150 tablets, and tell them to read all future PDFs on that or lump it. Or, if print really is vital, the university might install a hired print-on-demand book-printing machine in the university’s printing works.

Also some interesting statistics in the article, from a JISC survey of 690 (presumably all in the UK)…

“Creative Commons licensing is not well understood by humanities and social science academics, not only was awareness of CC low at only 40 per cent […] Familiarity with open access is at 30 per cent and awareness is at 50 per cent, although this was before the Finch report” […]