Open access books myth busting two: quality and prestige

Join us to explore the wider benefits of open access for books.

  • 1.5 hours
  • Online
  • Free

This event will be held on


In August 2021, UKRI launched a new open access policy, which for the first time includes a provision for long form scholarly works including monographs, book chapters and edited collections published from 1 January 2024. In preparation for policy implementation, a collaboration of UK university presses, supported by Jisc, have come together to hold a series of online events about the myths around open access for books, as well as to address legitimate concerns and suggest ways to remove barriers to open access publishing.

This online event is the second of three sessions. Questions around quality and prestige in relation to new formats and new publishers have been repeatedly posed over the course of many years. Open access and the rise of new university presses and scholar-led publishers are often confronted by perceptions of lack of professionalism and quality of open access book publishing. These concerns are sometimes expressed by academics, sometimes by those working in publishing, and, less often, by librarians. It is also common for these views to be expressed explicitly, such as direct comparisons with self-publishing or vanity publishing.

However, well established publishers who have an open access route have repeatedly gone on record to emphasise that there is no difference between the book proposal and production workflows between OA and more traditional routes to publishing. Peer review itself can be an opaque process for book publishing (although transparency of peer review processes is a requirement for inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Books). Likewise, prestige is an issue faced by any new publisher or imprint. Indeed, prestige can be very discipline specific - a high prestige publisher in one discipline may be, at best, less well thought of in another.

In this online event authors, publishers and other experts in the field will dispel some of the myths around open access publishing for books and the quality of ‘born open access’ publishers.


Introduction to the webinar series and today's session

  • Claire Redhead, Executive Director, OASPA

The problem with prestige

In this first session we will hear from the perspective of an award-winning, scholar-led, born-OA press to explore the complexities of this issue. Open Book Publisher’s books are rigorously peer-reviewed and produced with care; they are regularly well-reviewed and sometimes win prizes; their authors include high-profile academics and early-career researchers alike. However, prestige can still be a barrier that discourages authors from publishing with OBP. Lucy will address how the press works pragmatically within a system in which prestige matters, but also how they are trying to make change.

  • Lucy Barnes, Open Book Publishers

Ensuring quality and navigating issues of prestige: the author perspective

In this session we will discuss the issue of quality and prestige from her perspective as an editor, translator and author of award-winning open access academic books. She will explore how to navigate the pressures placed on academics when making publishing decisions, as well as the reasons she has published open access and the experiences she has had when doing so.

  • Caroline Warman, Professor of French Literature and Thought, Jesus College, Oxford

Tips and tricks when publishing books open access

This session will present the OAPEN Open Access Books Toolkit and explore how it can support and inform authors when making decisions about whether and with whom to publish an open access book. Niels will explain the factors authors should bear in mind to assess the quality and trustworthiness of a press, and how to navigate some of the questions that are particular to open access.

  • Niels Stern, Director of OAPEN and co-Director of DOAB


Wrap up, further resources, brief overview of the following sessions


Who should attend

  • Researchers/Academics, across all career levels
  • Librarians/Scholarly Communication Managers
  • Research Offices
  • Rights holders


For further information, please contact events@jisc.ac.uk.