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OLHJ is our flagship journal. Establishing it led to a wider experiment in open-access publishing, and the formation of OLH as a publisher.

As a publisher, having our own interdisciplinary journal means we can showcase best practice. OLHJ was inspired by experiments with open access in the sciences around the turn of the millennium, which we adapted to suit humanities scholarship. The journal offers a home for curated Special Collections of articles that form a cohesive body of research.


OLHJ was inspired by experiments in digital publishing in the early 2000s. Building on the open-source movement, scientists innovated open research practices as well as crafting new infrastructures to make them possible. Megajournals like PLOS ONE aimed to accelerate article publication, trial new forms of peer review, and provide coverage of a broad range of subject areas.

Back in 2013, we asked whether these publishing innovations could be adapted to humanities scholarship. OLHJ is an evolution of some of these concepts, including rolling publication models and expanded disciplinary boundaries in favour of a broad readership. It took us two years in dialogue with scholars, editors, publishers, funding agencies, and software engineers to determine the best way forwards. We facilitated public discussions to find the right balance between preserving traditional humanities practices of editing and curatorship alongside innovative digital publishing methods.

Scholars agreed that a sciences model required careful consideration to support the disciplinary integrity of humanities fields. Using OLHJ as an example of best practice, we've worked hard to meet the needs and expectations of the humanities community by publishing rigorously peer-reviewed articles within field-specific, curated collections.

Most important of all, OLHJ articles are available to anyone with an internet connection — without restriction, and with no author or reader fees.

OLHJ represents quality and best practice in open-access publishing, while providing a home for academic-led and community-owned humanities scholarship.


  • Academic-led, with each member of our publishing team a qualified academic with a PhD in the humanities
  • Rigorous double-anonymous peer review by at least two reviewers
  • Publications that are REF-admissable
  • Articles that are professionally copyedited and typeset, with downloadable web and PDF versions

Best Practice

  • Diamond open access with an award-winning publisher
  • Robust publisher policies, adhering to COPE standards
  • Comprehensive archiving and indexing for maximum accessibility and digital preservation
  • Timely publication, with each article published as soon as it has passed review
  • A unique DOI for each article


  • Represents a revolution in academic publishing, made possible by the support of over 300 libraries and institutions who financially back our model
  • Full support documentation and tailored training to help our community of authors and editors
  • Mechanisms for gathering editor and author feedback to improve our open-source submissions platform
  • No article processing charges for authors, or fees for readers
  • Open-access publication under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 licence for maximum visibility
“I really enjoyed working with the OLH, and thought their work was excellent: just the right amount of editing and always fast, and always patient as we tried to navigate the workflow. I’ve worked with a lot of publishers and journals by now, and that was the smoothest, friendliest and best-value experience I’ve had in the last 15 years. I hope to work with them again in the future.”

Bettina Bildhauer, Co-editor of “Politics and History of Menstruation” Special Collection

Calls for papers. Find out more
Published special collections. Find out more
Editor testimonials. Find out more

Special collections.

OLHJ publishes articles in curated ‘Special Collections’ — guest-edited issues in a specific field, subject, or exploring a particular historic or cultural event within the humanities.

Special Collections combine the best of traditional journals with the latest innovations in digital publishing. They retain the focus associated with niche humanities disciplines, enabling ongoing dialogue between scholars. However, our rolling publication format accelerates access to original research because articles are published as soon as they successfully pass review.

This was inspired by the use of preprint servers in the sciences to share research findings quickly with the scholarly community. The elasticity of our model also means that Collections can remain open for a longer period of time, growing organically and inspiring response pieces that can appear within the same Collection.

For me, the Special Collection format at the Open Library of Humanities journal is an excellent alternative to more traditional forms of edited collection, both because of the brilliant editorial support that we received from the OLH and also because the open rolling format was so generative. Being able to decide how long submissions could be kept open meant that the collection developed in ways we could never have imagined in advance. The resulting gathering of work is genuinely diverse, inspired by our research context and questions but not limited by them.

—Catherine Grant, Co-editor of ‘Pride RevisitedOLHJ Special Collection

And, crucially, unlike an edited book collection, the articles are available to all, without restriction, and as soon as each article submission is ready for publication. This ensures maximum visibility

Apply to edit a Special Collection with OLHJ.

We welcome expressions of interest from humanities scholars looking to publish a Special Collection with OLHJ. Click below to visit the applications page on our journal site. You can also explore OLHJ's archive of Special Collections and Author Guidelines.

Interviews and insights.

12 July 2022
Open Insights: An interview with Bettina Bildhauer, Camilla Røstvik and Sharra Vostral
Posted by Dr Katherine Parker-Hay
The Politics and History of Menstruation: Contextualising the Scottish Campaign to End Period Poverty An Open Insights Interview with Bettina Bildhauer, Camilla Røstvik and Sharra VostralFeatured image: Matriline by Bibo Keeley, digital image, 2016Bettina Bildhauer (BB) is Professor of German …
3 February 2022
Open Insights: An interview with Adrian Curtin and Adam Whittaker
Posted by Paula Clemente Vega
Representing Classical Music in the Twenty-First CenturyAn Open Insights interview with Adrian Curtin and Adam Whittaker Dr Adam Whittaker is Head of Pedagogy and a Lecturer in Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and is an internationally rec…
14 September 2022
Open Insights: Choosing the Open Library of Humanities journal (OLHJ) as the Publisher for your Special Collection
Posted by Dr Katherine Parker-Hay
Choosing OLHJ as the Publisher for your Special Collection An Open Insights blog post by Katherine Parker-HayKatherine Parker-Hay is an Editorial Officer for the Open Library of Humanities where she oversees editorial processes and production. She has a PhD from the University of Sussex and ha…