Open Access Monographs: Building Better Infrastructure – The Scholarly Kitchen

However the element of the report that most caught my attention had to do with the issue of discovery. How are readers and others who need to make use of monographs supposed to identify and engage with the open access content they need? Current gaps in support for those activities impact on the future of digital monographs. As the Digital Science report notes, citation activity of scholarship appearing in monograph form may take two to four years to be noticed in blogs, news outlets, or even in Wikipedia citations. There is a time lag for such titles to be captured in subsequent scholarly works. Those citations — in an environment where every data point may be examined — are critical to proper valuation of a particular monograph. Today’s monographs need hosting environments that properly enable discovery and evidence of use, particularly with regard to open access titles.

This is where the Open Research Library (ORL) from Knowledge Unlatched makes sense. From the perspective of the researcher in our present environment, there is no mechanism for identifying open access monographs that may be relevant to their studies. One can, as I did, run a Google query searching for open access literary criticism on Jane Austen. It’s very easy to uncover journal articles in that situation as the Jane Austen Society of North America has long made articles from its journal, Persuasions, freely accessible. It is not as easy to uncover open access monographs about the works of Jane Austen. (JSTOR gets a thumbs up here for enabling me to find one such book title in the first 10 results on Google and multiple gold stars for making it immediately obvious that the title was open access.)…”