OLH Readership in 2019 and a Reflection on the First Half Decade

Posted by Paula Clemente Vega on 10 February 2020

Publishing in open access formats implies a series of challenges and opportunities. The opportunity of having research published openly is that it will always improve the speed, efficiency and efficacy of research, its reproducibility and the potential for collaboration. Open access also increases the visibility, usage and impact of research, allowing everyone to benefit from it. Last year at the Open Library of Humanities we published a total of 532 articles, 74 more articles compared to 2018. These articles were viewed 870,324 times in 2019. There was also a significant increase in the number of article downloads, at 120,435 in 2019, compared to 61,922 in 2018. We hope that this will continue as we grow, and as more institutions join us and we continue to expand.

The challenges of open access have much to do with business models. One of the main goals of the OLH has been to ‘flip’ subscription journals to open access using a business model that does not require authors to pay. For many years, we have been stressing the economic problems of the APC model for humanities scholars and departments as the standard path towards open access, as well as the importance of devising new funding models for open access. At the OLH we are funded via a consortial model in which institutions pool their resources in order to facilitate open access publishing without the need to charge authors or readers. 

This year marks five years since we launched the Open Library of Humanities. During these five years, we have proven the viability of our consortial funding model for open access. At the moment we publish 28 journals across the humanities with an average of two journals that are moved onto the platform, and therefore converted into open access, every year. With that said, we are delighted to say now, five years after our launch, that we are financially independent. And more importantly, this could not be possible without the help of nearly 300 institutions that financially support us, making the ongoing viability and financial independence of the platform a reality. Thank you to all our members and our funders for your continued support.

Photo by Markus Spiske / Unsplash