Open Access, Peer Review, and Editorial Workflows

Birkbeck. 30th November 2017.

A research paper

Professor Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck, University of London

What is research and why do we write it?

To be read. To be assessed.

A book

Dissemination: Quality Control, Validation and Space-Time Compression

  • Dissemination of work
  • Preservation of record
  • Footnotes and scholarly genealogy (vs. science?)
  • Labour of reading: reading-avoidance techniques


Symbolic Economy

The Symbolic Economy Maps onto the Real Economy

Library Economy

Open Access (OA)

  • Peer-reviewed research
  • Free to read online
  • Permission to re-use

  • Gold: at publisher/source
  • Green: institutional/subject repository

  • Gratis: free to read
  • Libre: free to re-use
Background image © PLOS. Used under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license.

BPCs for monographs scale badly + concentrate costs

  • 5,023 monographs in UK in 2013 by largest 4 publishers (source: Crossick)
  • At a £5,050 BPC (UP price): £25,366,150
  • At a £6,500 BPC (CUP price): £32,649,500
  • At an £11,000 BPC (Palgrave price): £55,253,000
  • UK spend on all books 2010/2011: ~£60,000,000 (source: SCONUL)

BPCs for monographs scale badly

BPC graph

UK REF costs for monographs

"to publish 75% of anticipated monographic submission output for the next REF would require approximately £96m investment over the census period. This is equivalent to £19.2m per year. Academic library budgets as they are currently apportioned would not support this cost."

Eve, M.P. et al., (2017). Cost estimates of an open access mandate for monographs in the UK’s third Research Excellence Framework. Insights.

UK Policies on Open Access

  • REF2021: green OA for journal articles + published conference proceedings
  • REF2021: deposit accepted manuscript _on acceptance_ (with embargo allowed)
  • REF2026: extension of OA to books
  • RCUK: prefers gold; delegates a block grant to institutions to cover it

Break for questions on publishing + OA

What is Peer Review?

  • What do you know about it?
  • How good is it?
  • What types of peer review are there?

Anonymity of Peer Review

  • Pros and Cons

Balancing reports

  • How to handle conflicting reports?
  • Role of editor?


  • What is the workflow of journal publishing?
  • What forms of labour are therein invested?

The End

Thank you!

Presentation licensed under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license. All institutional images excluded from CC license. Available to view online at