The Open Library of Humanities

Leiden University. 7th April 2017.

A book

Professor Martin Paul Eve, Birkbeck, University of London

Three Problems for Humanities Research

Three Problems: researcher access, public access and re-use

Problem 1: Researcher access

Library Economy

Problem 2: Public access

  • Increasingly educated populace
  • Institutional missions to benefit society
    • Or what is a university?
  • The academy becomes irrelevant
    • Especially the humanities

Problem 3: Restrictive Re-Use Rights

  • Photocopying licenses
    • Even for teaching
  • Text mining/derivatives prohibited
  • Inclusion in Wikipedia and other resources
  • Community translation
  • Third-party re-use rights

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.

But APCs problematic for the humanities and some other disciplines

APC graph

Our Solution

Open Library of Humanities Megajournal / Multijournal / Not-for-profit / Collectively Funded

Planning since 2013

Press and Committees

Support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

  • $90,000 planning grant
    • University of Lincoln, UK, 2014-2015
  • $741,000 sustainability grant
    • Birkbeck, University of London, UK, 2015-2018

The Subscription Model as it Exists

The current system: many libraries all paying relatively large amounts

The OLH Library Partnership Subsidy Model

Many libraries all paying smaller amounts

>220 Libraries Financially Supporting the OLH

Some of the libraries supporting OLH: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Cambridge

18 Journals on or Supported by the Platform (909 articles in first year)

Journals on the OLH platform Cost: around $1.10 per institution per article. 118,686 unique readers. Average of 131 readers per article. $0.008 per institution per reader. Donald Gray Prize for best Victorian Studies essay from the North American Victorian Studies Association (NAVSA)

Ongoing Project to "Flip" Subscription Journals

Six additional journals joined in January 2017

Two University Press Partnerships

University of Wales Press
University of Liverpool Press

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