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The Future of Monographs in a World of Open Access

20 October 2015 12:00 – 14:00
Neill Lecture Theatre, Trinity Long Room Hub

On Tuesday 20th October 2015, to mark International Open Access Week, the Library of Trinity College Dublin held a public discussion forum entitled The Future of Monographs in a World of Open Access, as part of “The Library of the Future; the Future of the Library”, a programme of events for 2015-2016.

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This forum considered the place of monographs in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences disciplines, and how they fit into the developing world of Open Access. The starting point was Professor Geoffrey Crossick’s HEFCE report on Monographs and Open Access. Professor Crossick, Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, School of Advanced Study, University of London, was joined by a panel including Professor Darryl Jones, the Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Professor Nicholas Canny, Professor Emeritus of History at NUI, Galway; and Mr Christopher Pressler, Director of Library Services and the Historic Collections Research Centre, DCU. This substantive discussion resonated with anyone interested in scholarly output, the future of publishing and Open Access.

The Library was delighted to have a panel of speakers including Professor Crossick and those involved in the authoring, publishing, acquiring and reading of monographs, to engage in a discussion on the value of the monograph to academics, and the future of monograph publishing in the context of open access. The discussion forum was recorded and the podcast will be made available in due course.

To paraphrase Professor Crossick from his report introduction, monographs and other long form research publications play a crucial role in the overall ecology of scholarly communications across many disciplines. However, while much has been done to promote open access publishing for other scholarly works, extension of open access to monographs has been more challenging for a variety of reasons, including licensing, copyright, business models and quality. The aim of the forum is to discuss the value of the monograph and the future of publishing within the context of open access; to provide an overview on the issues that emerge when we think about the relationship between open access and monographs; and to act as a forum in which the journey towards open access for monographs can be discussed.

The forum will consider the following key topics raised in the HEFCE report:

  • What is the importance of the monograph to academics in the arts, humanities and social sciences (reputation, academic identity, career progression) and how can this inform our understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with open-access research monographs?
    • Will other research outputs and other forms of academic achievement increase in importance as measures of quality?
  • How can a move towards open access replicate the desirable features and essential contributions of the monograph to the production and communication of knowledge, while also improving on their form and function to enhance their contribution to the research process and securing their continued value to scholarship?
  • How important a role does the materiality of the monograph play beyond the text it contains?
  • Will the importance of the monograph, both as a form of research process and expression and as a research output, and the quality of research in the arts, humanities and social sciences be impacted negatively by the way that the digital environment is used?

Draft Programme:

12:00 – Welcome and introduction by Chair: Ms Arlene Healy, Sub-Librarian (Digital Systems and Services)

12:05 – Professor Geoffrey Crossick (Distinguished Professor of the Humanities, School of Advanced Study, University of London): ‘HEFCE Report on Monographs and Open Access.’

12:30 – Professor Darryl Jones (Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Trinity College Dublin): ‘The Role of the Monograph from the Author’s Perspective’

12:45 – Professor Nicholas Canny (Professor Emeritus of History at National University of Ireland, Galway and Chair, European Research Council’s Working Group on Open Access): ‘Why the ERC encourages OA for monographs’.

13:00 – Ms Alison Jones (Managing Editor, Open Access, Oxford University Press): Title TBD

13:15 – Mr Christopher Pressler (Director of Library Services and the Historic Collections Research Centre, Dublin City University): ‘The implications of Open Access for University Libraries’

13:30-13:45 – Panel Q&A


Professor Geoffrey Crossick

Professor Geoffrey Crossick is currently Director of the AHRC’s Cultural Value Project, which was established by the UK’s Arts & Humanities Research Council to explore the benefits of arts and cultural engagement to individuals and society, and the methods by which those can be understood and evidenced. He is Distinguished Professor of Humanities in the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. He was previously Vice-Chancellor of the University of London (2010-12), Warden of Goldsmiths, University of London (2005-10), and Chief Executive of the Arts and Humanities Research Board (2002-05) which he led through its transformation into a full research council.

He has written and spoken extensively in the UK and internationally on higher education and research strategy, on the importance of the arts and humanities, and on the creative and cultural sectors. He is author of a major report for the Higher Education Funding Council for England on ‘Monographs and Open Access’ which was published earlier this year. He is Chair of the Crafts Council, the UK development agency for contemporary craft, and amongst other roles is a member of the governing Boards of both the Courtauld Institute and the Horniman Museum; Chair of the Board of the Arts & Humanities Research Institute of Trinity College Dublin; and a member of Science Advisory Council of the UK government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Professor Darryl Jones

Professor Darryl Jones is Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor in the School of English at Trinity College Dublin. His research primarily focuses on nineteenth-century and Edwardian genre fiction, with a particular interest in horror fiction and film. He has also written on Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and on nineteenth and twentieth-century catastrophe and apocalypse. He is the author or editor of nine books and numerous articles. He is currently working on the gothic tales of Arthur Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells.

Professor Nicholas Canny

Professor Nicholas Canny is Professor Emeritus of History at National University of Ireland, Galway and held an Established Chair in History at the National University of Ireland, Galway, 1979-2009, where he was also Founding Director of the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities, 2000-11, and Vice President for Research, 2005-8. He was President of the Royal Academy 2008-11. He is currently Chair of the ERC Working Group on Open Access and is a Member of Academia Europaea, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. He has been a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; a fellow of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies, professeur invité at the École des Hautes Études, Paris, and was Parnell Senior Research Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, 2005-6.

An expert on early modern history broadly defined, he edited the first volume of The Oxford History of the British Empire (1998) and, with Philip D. Morgan, edited The Oxford Handbook of the Atlantic World, c1450-c1850 (2011). His major book is Making Ireland British, 1580-1650 (Oxford, 2001), for which he was awarded the Irish Historical Research Prize 2003; a prize he had previously won in 1976 for his first book The Elizabethan Conquest of Ireland: a Pattern Established, 1565-76.

Mr Christopher Pressler

Christopher Pressler is Director of Library Services and the Historic Collections Research Centre at Dublin City University. Christopher read Modern History at Queen’s University Belfast, and holds further degrees from Nottingham Trent University and the University of Sheffield. Previously he has worked at UCL, Jisc, University of London and the University of Nottingham. In addition to a number of national and international memberships of boards and advisory committees, he is co-founder of DART-Europe, the OA e-theses portal and of the UK Centre for Research Communications. He is Chair of the CONUL Research Communications Committee and Editor of CONUL’s national Strategy 2016-2019. Following a six-year term as Chair of Digital Research in the Humanities and Arts, he is now Deputy Chair and brought the conference to Ireland in 2015. His books include two acclaimed academic monographs on the historic collections of the University of London and a collection of essays on the work of Jeanette Winterson. His latest novel, ‘94 Degrees in the Shade’ will be published this year and he is now working on two further commissioned novels for Pegasus. He is a member of the Society of Authors by publication, an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a member of the Board of the Irish Writers Centre.