OLH Launches

North Beach, San Francisco

It is with great pleasure that we announce the launch of the Open Library of Humanities. Over two years in the planning and execution, the platform starts with seven journals, supported by 99 institutions. Our estimated publication volume for year one is 150 articles across these venues. The economics of this work out at approximately £4 ($6) per institution per open-access article.

You can read more about the platform in our editorial piece: “Opening the Open Library of Humanities”. Crucially, we will be publishing new material in the OLH Journal on a weekly rolling cycle, so do keep your eyes peeled for fresh articles.

This is, of course, only the beginning. What we have built should be understood as an economic, social and technological platform for a transition to open access, not just a publisher. Certainly, what we've built goes well beyond a proof of concept; at launch we are the same size as a small university press and have an underlying economic model with good levels of support and a path to sustainability. Our ambitions are much larger, though, and our plans for the next three years are:

  • To bring new journals to the platform and, ideally, to move those that are currently subscription-based onto our OA model, thereby providing a true transition.
  • To sustain and scale library investment in the platform to achieve sustainability. We need libraries who have supported us to continue to do so and we need new libraries to join. This is how our not-for-profit, charitable model gives the best value to the most institutions. With the help of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation we have staff costs covered to pursue this sustainability agenda, with a trajectory towards complete self-sufficiency arriving in 2018.
  • To pioneer innovative publishing technologies and social strategies for the humanities, including multi-lingual publishing, inter-lingual translation facilities, annotation and pedagogical integration, and post-publication peer review/discussion.
  • To improve further the indexing and discoverability of our platform through cross-site search and integration with a range of aggregation services that feed into library platforms.

We cannot thank everyone who has supported us enough. To academic advisers, university management support (and particularly Professor Mary Stuart at the University of Lincoln and Professor David Latchman at Birkbeck, University of London), funders (and especially the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), librarians, publishers, OA advocates, and many others – we owe much. We look forward to continuing this work.


Featured image by torbakhopper under a CC BY license.

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