Open access ebooks

A growing number of researchers, societies and publishers, are developing collections of open access academic ebooks. A number of science initiatives are already established, but activity is increasing in the arts, humanities and social sciences where monographs have traditionally been viewed as more significant than journals.

OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is a collaborative initiative to develop and implement a sustainable Open Access publication model for academic ebooks in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The OAPEN Library aims to improve the visibility and usability of high quality academic research by aggregating peer reviewed Open Access publications from across Europe. An early output from OAPEN is the beta version of Directory of Open Access Books.

In the UK JISC is running OAPEN-UK to gather evidence for stakeholders to make informed decisions on the future of open access scholarly monograph publishing in the humanities and social sciences (HSS). The University of Sheffield Library will participate in the pilot project.

Some ebook providers are experimenting with open editing and writing where users can annotate, tag, edit, add to, remix, and reformat the content. Open Humanities Press Liquid Books are examples of this approach.

Finding open access ebooks

StarPlus the Library catalogue contains links to over 2 million open access ebooks via Primo Central.

Directory of open access books

HathiTrust Digital Library


The Online Books page
A regularly updated listing of over 1 million e-books that are freely readable over the internet, maintained by the University of Pennsylvania Library
Project Gutenberg
Project Bartleby
Free ebooks
Internet Archive and Open Library

Arts and Humanities

Open Humanities Press
Online Literature Library
Complete Works of Shakespeare
British Library: Shakespeare in Quarto
Electronic Poetry Center

Science technology and medicine

Science, Technology and Medicine open access books
IT and computer science: O'Reilly open books
NCBI Bookshelf
Provides free access to books and documents in life science and healthcare, (National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine)
National Academies Press
Over 5000 titles from the US National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council to read online or download in PDF format