SNSF launches OAPEN-CH pilot project for Open Access book publications

In February 2015, the SNSF will start the OAPEN-CH pilot project in collaboration with interested academic publishers. The aim is to learn more about Open Access publishing and collect data on the use and the production costs of Open Access book publications.

​The SNSF renewed its publication funding as of 1 July 2014. It now finances digital book publications that are freely accessible 24 months after initial publication at the latest. Researchers have the option to publish a printed book in parallel to the digital version.

Before implementing this new publication funding policy, the SNSF repeatedly held discussions with Swiss academic publishing houses. In order to learn more about the publishing process for Open Access monographs, the SNSF and representatives of Swiss academic publishers decided to launch a pilot project about Open Access book publishing.

The SNSF developed the concept for the pilot project in the second half of 2014. In so doing, it relied strongly on the Dutch study "OAPEN-NL – A project exploring Open Access monograph publishing in the Netherlands".

Project design and objectives geared to learning process

The pilot project OAPEN-CH is intended to be a shared learning process of the SNSF and interested publishers as well as other parties involved in the publication process (authors, libraries, university repositories). The pilot project aims to contribute towards a better understanding and higher acceptance of Open Access for book publications and its benefits.

The SNSF offers to support interested publishing houses in testing two publication models for Open Access book publications:

  • Model 1: a monograph is immediately released for Open Access, i.e. without any embargo period, and published at the same time in printed form.
  • Model 2: a monograph published in printed form is released for Open Access after 24 months and continues to be available on the market in printed form.

For each model, a control group is formed in which monographs are produced as traditional print publications, i.e. without any Open Access publishing.

Apart from being a learning curve for those involved in the publication process, the pilot project is aimed at creating a body of data on the use, sale and costs of book publications in digital and printed form. Based on the generated data, the impacts of different Open Access models on the accessibility, visibility and costs of book publications will be determined.

Project participants at all levels

The SNSF is aiming for in-depth exchanges with all parties involved in the Open Access publication process. Realisation of the pilot project depends on the participation of the SNSF's key partners - the academic publishing houses - as well as interested authors. In addition, the SNSF plans to contact libraries at higher education institutions as well as university repositories in order to secure optimum storage and high visibility for Open Access book publications.
The OAPEN Foundation has agreed to be a partner in the pilot project, which will thus benefit from the Foundation's experience, gained in the Dutch pilot study, and the possibility of drawing comparisons at European level.

First call for submissions in mid-February

With the first call for submissions in mid-February, interested academic publishers will be invited to submit book publications for the pilot project to the SNSF by mid-April 2015. These "pilot books" are expected to be published in autumn 2015. A second call will be issued in February 2016.
The results of the OAPEN-CH pilot study will be communicated at the end of 2017.