Open access for books

Information about the various options for making monographs, edited collections and book chapters openly available.


Although most University of Sheffield researchers will encounter open access in relation to journal articles, there are also a growing number of options for making monographs, edited collections and book chapters openly available. Open access monographs benefit from increased visibility and impact, provide access for researchers, students, practitioners and the public around the world and are easier to use and adapt for learning and teaching. They can also support innovative forms of publishing such as the inclusion of audiovisual material or supplementary teaching resources. The OA Books Toolkit includes useful information for authors, including a selection of case studies where authors reflect on publishing an open access book.

The Directory of Open Access Books indexes and provides access to scholarly, peer reviewed open access books from over 600 publishers.

More information can be found below and in our short video.

Publishing an open access monograph

Books can be made immediately available on the publisher’s website under a creative commons licence in the same way as journal articles.

Increasingly, publishers are developing business models for open access book publishing where the author does not have to pay an open access charge. These include library or consortial membership schemes, print sales, institutional subsidies or using subscription access to a press’s backlist to fund new open access titles. Publishers such as MIT Press, punctum books, Open Humanities Press, Open Book Publishers, Liverpool University Press, CEU Press and Cambridge University Press all offer at least some of their authors the chance to publish open access without paying a fee. The University of Sheffield is committed to encouraging diversity in open access book publishing models and financially supports publishers with library membership schemes. 

Other publishers charge a book processing charge (BPC) to publish an open access monograph. BPCs can range from £8000–12000 (+ VAT) depending on the publisher and length of book.

For authors who wish to explore different publishing options, we have put together a non-exhaustive list of open access monograph publishers that you may wish to consider. This list includes fully open access presses (some which charge BPCs and others which do not) and hybrid presses experimenting with innovative ways to make their titles open access.

Self-archiving monographs and chapters

Some publishers will allow authors to deposit a version of the chapter, book (whole or in part), into WRRO through myPublications in the same way as they do for journal articles.

This version (usually the Author Accepted Manuscript) is made available through the repository after any required embargo period.

Self-archiving policies for books and chapters are often not as easy to find as those for journals, so authors may have to check the details with their publisher.


Although we support the development of non-BPC models of open access monograph publishing, we also recognise that authors without access to funding can currently be excluded from making their books open access with many publishers. An Institutional Open Access Fund has therefore been established as a pilot project to support University of Sheffield researchers who do not have access to funds to cover the cost of publishing an open access monograph.

Current staff members and PGRs are welcome to apply to the fund to cover reasonable Book Processing Charges (BPCs) for monographs and book chapters published with fully open access presses or presses with a clear commitment to sustainable open access publishing.

More information about the fund, including eligibility criteria and application forms

The UKRI open access block grant cannot currently be used to fund book processing charges as books are not currently covered by the UKRI open access policy.

However, researchers are able to request costs associated with open access book publishing in UKRI grant proposals, as long as they are fully justified within the application. 

From January 2024 UKRI will introduce a new funding arrangement for monographs, book chapters and edited collections as they come in scope of the open access policy.

The Wellcome Trust will fund book processing charges for its authors.

Other funders such as Leverhulme allow open access book publishing to be costed in as part of a grant proposal, but often with the stipulation that costs are incurred during the period of the award (rather than after the award has finished).

White Rose University Press

White Rose University Press is a non-profit, fully open access press established in 2016 and owned by the Universities of Sheffield, Leeds and York. So far, it has published nine peer-reviewed open access books, which can be downloaded from the Press’s website, as well as being discoverable through services such as the Directory of Open Access Books, OAPEN, JSTOR and library catalogues such as StarPlus

White Rose University Press charges Book Processing Charges starting at £6000 for an 80,000 word monograph. The press has a waiver fund that authors based at Sheffield, Leeds and York can apply for to cover part or all of the charge. The fund is limited and applications are considered as they are received. We are also happy to cover these charges with the University of Sheffield Institutional Open Access Fund as long as funds are available.

Learn more about White Rose University Press here.

Open access policies

UKRI has announced a new open access policy aligned with Plan S, which applies to monographs, book chapters and edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024.

More information about implementation and funding this policy is expected in Autumn 2023. Please see our UKRI policy guidance for more information.

It is expected that the open access policy for the next REF will also include monographs, edited collections and book chapters in scope, and researchers who will submit their outputs to the REF are advised to start exploring possible open access options. However, we do not yet have any details about what the new REF open access policy will look like.


Both the current Wellcome Trust policy and the upcoming UKRI policy (2024–) express a preference for a CC BY licence, but (unlike for journal articles) allow monograph authors to use any of the creative commons licenses, including CC BY-NC and CC BY-NC-ND.

There is likely to be ongoing discussion about licensing if monographs are brought in scope of the REF policy, taking into consideration concerns raised by the research community of unintended implications of the CC BY licence for monographs, and for arts and humanities scholarship.

Further help

If you have any questions or want to talk more about open access books, get in touch with

Ask a question


Phone: +44 114 222 7200

A world-class university – a unique student experience

Sheffield is a research university with a global reputation for excellence. We're a member of the Russell Group: one of the 24 leading UK universities for research and teaching.