Skip to main content

Birkbeck awarded £200,000 grant to support the work of the Open Library of Humanities

The generous grant has been made possible by Arcadia, a charitable fund seeking to improve access to publicly funded research.

Students studying in the Birkbeck Library
Students studying in the Birkbeck Library

Birkbeck has been awarded a grant of £200,000 from Arcadia, a charitable fund of Dr Lisbet Rausing and Professor Peter Baldwin, to support the innovative research and work of the Open Library of Humanities.

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH), based in the Centre for Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, is a major open-access journal publisher in the humanities disciplines and host to 28 fully gold open-access journals (openly licensed, XML, HTML, and PDF). The platform was the first to operate a journal publishing platform on a novel collective funding model that eradicates article processing charges (subsequently adopted by many others), ensuring equitable access to open access. The Centre also pioneered the Janeway publishing platform, used internationally by University of Michigan Publishing, Iowa State University Press, the University of Arizona Libraries, the California Digital Library, and the Earth Sciences preprint platform, EarthArXiv, among many others.

The OLH seeks to strengthen open access to scholarly work in the humanities disciplines, allowing everyone the freedom to access academic research. At a time of commendably increasing access to scientific research, there is a danger of the humanities disciplines missing out. OLH seeks to remedy this and to ensure that the general public has access to published research about cultures, histories, and languages.

This grant will be used to help OLH to expand and diversify its revenue sources. While the pandemic has put strain on library budgets worldwide, OLH has achieved financial stability using its innovative model. This funding will allow the Centre to expand its Janeway offering, thereby providing a second, secure, and stable revenue source for the years to come.

Professor Martin Paul Eve, Director of OLH and Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing in the Department of English at Birkbeck, said: “In the debates about open access, we have often seen the humanities disciplines fall behind. I see a coming world where every piece of scientific research is available to anyone to read, for free, while humanities scholarship remains behind paywalls. This is not the world I want. We have worked to build a model that shows equitable, sustainable open access to high-quality research in the humanities disciplines. This generous grant from Arcadia will allow us to stabilise and consolidate our business models, ensuring a diverse mix of approaches that will make it possible for us to better weather future storms like the COVID-19 pandemic. We are extremely grateful to Arcadia for this generosity.”

More news about: