Open Access Books has a similar premise to open access journal articles: the books are made freely available with a Creative Commons licence immediately at the point of online publication so that anyone, anywhere in the world can read them. All open access academic monographsare reviewed, just as with traditional academic book publishers, and go through editing etc. before production.

Commercial academic book publishers and some non-profit open book publishers charge a Book Publishing Charge (BPC), similar to an article processing charge for a hybrid open access journal article. Some BPCs are set to cover only the cost of production (from submission to publication), while others are priced higher to include a profit margin for the publisher.

Multiple publishers (commercial and non-profit) have all reported a steep rise in book usage for open access books, and the advantages to discoverability and accessibility have been widely recognised. Two examples of open access book statistics are:

Publishing an Open Access book without a BPC

These are just a few examples of publishers who do not charge a BPC to publish open access books:

Open Book Publishers : Open Book Publishers is a non-profit social enterprise that has been operating since 2008. It's the biggest independent academic monograph publisher in the UK and leads globally in publishing open access monographs across the English-speaking world. They publish a wide range of topics and do not charge authors a book publishing charge to publish. In their words: 'What we’re not: We’re not vanity publishing. We’re not predatory publishing. We’re not commercial publishing. We don’t charge authors to publish OA. We don’t publish poor-quality scholarship.' OBP books are freely available online at the point of publication in PDF, HTML and XML and can also be bought in hardback, paperback and ebook versions as well. If you are interested in publishing with Open Book Publishers, please refer to their page for New Authors. Aston University has supporter membership with Open Book Publishers.

Open Humanities Press : Open Humanities Press has been in operation since 2006 as an independent, volunteer organisation. They publish both open access books and journals and do not charge any fees to publish. Authors retain rights to their books under a Creative Commons licence. Open Humanities Press books are published as part of established series, though new series can be proposed to the OHP editors. Open Access OHP books can be downloaded as pdfs, and physical copies are also available to buy. Authors wishing further information or submit book proposals should refer to the OHP Submissions page.

Punctum Books : Punctum Books is based in the USA and Netherlands and publishes monographs relating to the humanities, social sciences and arts/design and do not charge any fees to publish. Books published by Punctum are available free in ebook form with a Creative Commons NC-SA licence (though authors can choose another license) and can be bought as print copies as well. Punctum Books typically publish 30-40 books a year and prospective authors are encouraged to submit proposals according to the guidelines on the Submit page

Publishing an Open Access book with a BPC

Many academic book publishers now offer the option of making all or part of books open access via that payment of a Book Publishing Charge (BPC), or a reduced charge for individual chapters. The fee for this with commercial academic publishers starts at £10,000 + VAT and can be higher, depending on the publisher and book length. Fees for individual chapters begin at £1200+ VAT and higher. Commercial publishers may offer you the option of making your book open access at the point that they accept your book proposal. Note that you do not have to pay to publish your book with a commercial publisher; if they imply that they will not publish your book unless you agree to pay a BPC you should consider withdrawing your proposal and find another publisher.

Aston University does not have a BPC budget and cannot pay to make books or chapters open access. However, authors are encouraged to make books and chapters open access via self-archiving in the repository wherever possible. Please email to enquire whether your publisher allows all or part of you book to be deposited in Aston Publications Explorer.

UKRI Open Access Policy and long-form publications

UKRI released their updated Open Access Policy on 6 August 2021. This updated policy applies to peer-reviewed journal outputs submitted for publication from 1 April 2022 and to long-form publications published on or after 1 January 2024. UKRI training grant holders are excluded from the long-form publication open access requirement. This updated policy applies to those with funding from AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, STFC, Innovate UK** and Research England**

**note that this policy only applies to Innovate UK and Research England grants with an open access requirement specified in the terms and conditions of the grant. The UK Space Agency is excluded from this policy and therefore not eligible for funds from the UKRI open access block grant.

For long-form publications published from 1 January 2024, you can meet UKRI’s open access policy through two routes. UKRI’s guidance for long form publications is now included in the UKRI Open Access Policy pages. Aston authors of UKRI funded longform publications must contact the Open Research Team at  before signing a publishing contract, and we will support you through the process, whether you are following the Route 1 (Gold) or Route 2 (Green) route to open access under the UKRI OA policy.

Route 1: Gold Open Access for books and chapters

  1. Author contacts the Aston Open Research Team prior to signing a publishing contract. Author must supply the following information to the Open Research Team: intended output type, UKRI grant reference number(s), publisher and estimated cost (inclusive of VAT and in GBP). Authors must also confirm the publication has a substantial link to the UKRI grant.
  2. If the OR Team initial review suggests that the output is eligible for UKRI funding and that the publisher offers a suitable licence, the OR Team will submit a Stage 1 application on behalf of the author(s). Note that only the OR Team can submit an application for funding.
  3. UKRI will respond to the Stage 1 application with approval, a request for more information or a rejection. If approved, the OR Team will notify the author(s) and open access publication can proceed.  
  4. The author publishes the output and sends the invoice to the Open Research Team for payment.  Author acknowledges the UKRI grant with funder name and reference number in the manuscript.
  5. The Open Research Team completes the Stage 2 application where we evidence BPC/CPC payment and that the output is published open access. There is no minimum or maximum time limit between Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications.
  6. The final version of record is freely available to view and download.
  7. UKRI reimburse Aston University for approved BPC and CPC payments after publication.

Route 2: Green Open Access for books and chapters

  1. Authors should contact the Aston Open Research Team to discuss making their UKRI funded longform publication open access prior to signing a publishing contract. Authors must supply the following information to the Open Research Team: intended output type, UKRI grant reference number(s) and publisher. Authors must also confirm the publication has a substantial link to the UKRI grant.Apply a CC BY or other Creative Commons licence.
  2. Author acknowledges the UKRI grant with funder name and reference number in the manuscript.  
  3. Author deposits the accepted manuscript in Aston Publications Explorer via Pure, with a maximum embargo period of 12 months.