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A look at the Open Library of Humanities

people working at computer in Milner Library

Open access involves making information free, online, and open for others to use.

The Open Access movement is lowering barriers not just to reading scholarship, but also to publishing as well. Some paywalled journals allow their authors to publish their research as open access, but only for a fee which can sometimes be in the thousands of dollars. Publishing entails costs, and fortunately members of the Open Access movement have organized to make it easier for journals to publish articles without charging readers fees or charging authors publication fees.

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is one example of an organization dedicated to supporting journals which publish as open access. Launched in January of 2013, the OLH provides support for 27 gold open access journals in disciplines across the humanities, and also hosts its own multidisciplinary journal. Submissions in languages other than English are also welcome.

The OLH is funded by grants (including the Austrian National Science Fund and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation), and membership fees from libraries. Like the general public, libraries are not charged to access the materials but can choose to become institutional members and support the platform financially. Library members can also vote on the inclusion of new journals to the platform.

For those looking for service opportunities, OLH is also recruiting editors for many journals publishing research on many fields in the humanities. The OLH is also interested in suggestions for special collections. These are collections of articles on a specific topic, much like special issues of other journals. While open access may often be discussed in terms of the ability to read materials without paying fees, the OLH provides freedom to publish without fees or surrendering copyright as well.

ISU ReD is committed to lowering barriers to access in the same way, by providing full text for all items in our repository and allowing authors to add materials without charge. Authors wishing to make their own materials digitally available can often place pre-prints or even published articles on institutional repositories on ISU ReD. If you wish to discuss these options further, for current or already published research, please contact

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