Posts Tagged 'Open Access'

Sustainable Open Access and Impact: Celebrating OA Week

Julia Mortimer

Julia Mortimer

We are delighted to be a part of the Open Access Week celebrations and to be able to showcase OA content and initiatives at Bristol University Press and Policy Press. Journals and OA Director, Julia Mortimer, explains why.

Our OA books and recent articles are all brought together to view and access here.

Why OA is important for us

Our vision is to create and disseminate critically acclaimed, evidence-based work that has the potential to make a difference in the world. Over the past two decades we have built a reputation dedicated to that vision.

We have set our sights on publishing great scholarship that addresses the global social challenges and broader social science issues that face the world community today. A commitment to OA is crucial to this vision for the following reasons:

Visibility & impact: OA makes research more widely and easily visible to researchers, practitioners and policy makers if the content is discoverable and efficiently marketed.

Collaboration: OA publication fosters greater dialogue across disciplinary and geographical boundaries.

Social Justice: OA reduces inequalities in access to knowledge due to lack of institutional funding.

As a publisher committed to making an impact in the real world, sustainable open access has obvious benefits for us and our authors in reaching our goals. Authors can make their work accessible, safe in the knowledge that our rigorous quality standards, excellent marketing services and strong reputation will still apply.


What we offer

We offer a range of flexible open access options for both journals and book publishing which continue to evolve, and we are always interested in working with our authors to explore new ideas.

Both Green and Gold options are available for all our journal and book content and we are flexible to allow for funder compliance. See our open access options for books and open access options for journals for more information.

For journals our OA content is available to access on our IngentaConnect platform where it is clearly signposted.

For books we make our OA content available via OAPEN and JSTOR and we are delighted to be a part of the Knowledge Unlatched collections which are funded by libraries.

We offer discounts on our standard APCs to researchers in developing countries and to those in institutions who subscribe to our journal collections.

We are also working with a range of partners to improve OA metadata distribution and discoverability of our OA content, an important issue in current OA debates.

A sustainable model of OA publishing in the social sciences

At Bristol University Press and Policy Press we work hard to make as much content open as possible, whilst ensuring that we can cover the necessary costs involved in a high-quality publishing operation and the all-important marketing, promotion and discoverability activities needed to ensure OA content can be found. This is a crucial balancing act and a question of ensuring publishing OA is sustainable in an uncertain funding environment. Most importantly, it also gives authors a choice and equitable opportunity to publication when OA funds and routes may not be easily accessible, and they need to publish in publications and with publishers of high repute.

The OA agenda has been led by STM disciplines but, in our view, initiatives like Plan S are not easily applicable to the social sciences where funding models are currently much less clear. This is why we are committed to a mixed model of OA/non-OA publishing at this point in time.

OA and free content initiatives

We have experimented with innovative approaches to OA and free content to ensure our content reaches its intended audiences. Much of our journal content is free, either on a permanent basis for sections like Debates and Issues or Voices from the Frontline, or via Most read and Editor’s Choice collections which are free for regular periods during the year.

Many of our Shorts, designed to meet the needs of busy policy makers and practitioners, are OA, they are brief, and free to share to influence policy and practice.

Short open access

For our book Being a scholar in the digital era, chapters were free to access on a monthly basis for the first year and the whole book available OA thereafter. As no OA funding was available, this allowed us to simultaneously cover the publishing costs whilst also making content open.

We provide Executive Summaries for many of our books which are freely available and especially useful for policy makers and practitioners to make use of research findings.

In addition to these and many other impact-focused activities we have just launched a brand-new blog on the Futures of Work to stimulate debate, ideas and interaction.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are also a main sponsor of the highly successful social research blog Discover Society. Our authors are actively encouraged to share their work through writing blogs, magazine features and newspaper articles, to disseminate their work widely but often more accessibly than straightforward OA can.


Please explore all the OA and freely available content that Bristol University Press has to offer and contact Julia Mortimer (email to discuss OA options for your work.

Open education is not a luxury


Polly Thistlethwaite

Polly Thistlethwaite, co-author of Being a scholar in the digital era talks about open education and how higher education’s practices and products must become more democratic to better serve democracy.

Chapter 3 of Being a scholar in the digital era – ‘Opening education and linking it to community’ – is free to download here (pdf), or from the Policy Press website during December. Subsequent chapters will be available over the coming months.

Audre Lorde famously asserted that “for women … poetry is not a luxury.” Artistry and lived experience shared, while valued less than dominant notions of thought and process, is “a vital necessity of our existence,” she wrote (Lorde, Audre. Poetry is Not a Luxury. Chrysalis: A Magazine of Female Culture, 1977, no. 3.).

Open education is no less a luxury. Markets cannot administer equitable access to education or to cultural and scientific information any better than they can fairly manage access to health care. To invoke Lorde’s essay once again, it is vital to share “living as a situation to be experienced and interacted with,” to deepen understanding, to resist oppressions, and to improve lives.

Continue reading ‘Open education is not a luxury’

Open Access FREE content for #openaccess week


Policy Press are proud to offer a range of Open Access options for our authors across books and journals.

In celebration of Open Access Week – 24-30 October – here is a collection of some of our recent open access content for you to enjoy…
From Families, Relationships and Societies:
House, home and transforming energy in a cold climate
Authors: Janette Webb, David Hawkey; David McCrone, Margaret Tingey


From Policy & Politics:
Against the tide of depoliticisation: The politics of research governance
Authors: Sarah Hartley, Warren Pearce, Alasdair Taylor


From Evidence & Policy:
Concepts and practices for the democratisation of knowledge generation in research partnerships for sustainable development
Authors: Cordula Ott, Boniface Kiteme


From the Journal of Poverty and Social Justice:
Gamers or victims of the system? Welfare reform, cynical manipulation and vulnerability
Authors: Del Roy Fletcher, John Flint, Elaine Batty, Jennifer McNeill


From Critical and Radical Social Work:
Franco Basaglia and the radical psychiatry movement in Italy, 1961–78
Author: John Foot


From Voluntary Sector Review:
Transforming the world and themselves: the learning experiences of volunteers being trained within health and social care charities in England
Author: Sarah Darley


Open Access Monograph:
Rethinking sustainable cities: Accessible, green and fair
Author: David Simon


Why publish open access?


  • Visibility & impact: Open access makes your research more widely and easily visible to researchers, practitioners and policy makers;
  • Usage: A number of studies and reports have shown that open access journal articles are viewed more often than articles available only to subscribers (See for example, Wellcome Trust, Research Information Network);
  • Collaboration: Open access publication fosters greater dialogue across disciplinary and geographical boundaries;
  • Social Justice: Open access reduces inequalities in access to knowledge due to lack of institutional funding.

To find out more about open access publishing at Policy Press, including information about our APC discounts and waivers, please see our website.


You may also be interested in this recent blog post: Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference

Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference

In this guest blog post about the publication of her book ‘Being a scholar in the digital era‘ with Jessie Daniels, Polly Thistlethwaite reflects on why she believes information should be able to be widely accessed and shows how publishers can help to make this happen.

Chapter 2 of Being a scholar in the digital era is free to download here (pdf), or from the Policy Press website during October. Subsequent chapters will be available over the coming months.


Polly Thistlethwaite

Jessie Daniels’ second book Cyber Racism came out in 2009, published by an academic press that sold books mostly to academic libraries in paper and ebook formats that were entirely closed, locked behind paywalls. Interested readers had to either buy a copy or be affiliated with university libraries to get it.

Then, Jessie discovered the whole world of ‘torrents’. This is the practice that students call ‘ripping’ but what publishers call ‘illegal downloads’. She notified her publisher about the unauthorized downloads, but the publisher, to her surprise, didn’t intervene. She scoured the websites to find contacts herself and emailed site owners to take down unauthorized copies of her book. One person in the UK had posted the book on his blog. Jessie contacted the administrator of the blog network to point to this violation of their terms of service and asked that the copy be taken down. It was. Time passed…
Continue reading ‘Why do you want to be published? Open Access and making a difference’

It’s Open Access Week!

Policy Press has been offering authors the chance to make their articles Open Access for a number of years now. Our journals are all hybrid, which means authors can pay to have their articles made free under a CCBY licence of their choosing, but they don’t have to. Most of our authors choose not to (that probably says something about funding into social science research…), but we are seeing increases year on year.

You can see all our Open Access articles at

padlock-146537_1280The Open Access movement has shifted considerably in the last ten years, with governmental mandates coming into force around the world supporting the notion that publicly funded research should be free to read. Most if not all publishers now offer Open Access in some form, whether its hybrid (like us), or making journals completely Open Access. Most of the wholly Open Access journals are within the scientific, technical and medical (STM) disciplines, as this tends to be where the majority of funding resides. There remains lots of controversy about almost every aspect of Open Access, with strong arguments on all sides.

Policy Press offers two Open Access options, either Gold or Green. Gold is the one you pay for, and makes the version of record free at point of use. Green is where the article remains behind a paywall, but the author can post a version on a subject or institutional repository after a short embargo period. Green is free, and all our authors can take advantage of this option. You can find more information on our Open Access policies at

We’re also delighted to announce we’re now able to publish monographs on an Open Access basis. Costs are determined on a case by case basis, so if you’re interested in finding out more please email our Assistant Director Julia Mortimer (

To find out more about our journals, check out our website here and why not look at the individual journal pages to find out more about our institutional free trials…

Author blog: A year in the life of an academic writer

Helen Kara

Helen Kara, author, independent researcher and academic writer

For the next year Policy Press author and independent researcher Helen Kara is going to be providing us with a regular blog on the trials, tribulations and triumphs of that most mysterious of art forms, academic writing.

Helen has tons of ideas of things she’d like to write about but is also really keen to make this blog something that is not only interesting but also useful to all of you – academic writers, academic readers and people hovering somewhere between the two – so please feel free to chip in with your thoughts in the comments section!

About me

Hello and welcome to a year of weekly posts from me about my experience of academic writing.

Over the next year I plan to cover a range of subjects, such as: how to deal with publishers, open access, cranking out the word count, honing and polishing, the different approaches I use for long and short pieces, article abstracts, book proposals, and so on. If there’s anything you’d like me to address, please let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to oblige.

However the first thing you need to know about me is that I’m not an academic. I’ve been an independent researcher since 1999, working mainly in social care and health, for statutory and third sector organisations and partnerships. I have always been fascinated by research methods; for me, it is often more interesting to learn about how something was discovered than to hear about what was discovered.

Mongolian puddings

I was awarded my PhD in 2006, and it had a strong methodological component. I knew in my final year that I wanted to write a book about research methods. But they’re a bit like cookbooks: there’s no point writing another one unless you’ve got a new angle, like Mongolian puddings or food for divorce celebrations. Or if you’re a celebrity. Which I’m not. And I didn’t have an angle, either; mainly because I was so busy with commissioned research work that I didn’t have time to think.

All that changed in 2010, soon after the coalition government came to power. My work dried up, I had plenty of time to think, and after a while I came up with the idea for my last book: Research and evaluation for busy practitioners: a time-saving guide. I brought the idea to Policy Press, because I liked their collaborative approach and non-profit status, and they were enthusiastic. The book was published in October 2012, with a wonderful launch at the British Library, and is selling well around the world.

I also began working on articles for academic journals, three of which were published in 2013 and a fourth this year. This was partly because I’d taken a voluntary position as an Associate Research Fellow at the Third Sector Research Centre, University of Birmingham (TSRC), in May 2012. I needed access to academic literature which I could only reach through affiliation with a university, and I wanted help with getting published in journals. TSRC offered mentoring in exchange for writing work, and this was a good bargain from my point of view.

“I can’t write all the time, I also have to earn a living.”

Last year I began work on my next book: Creative Research Methods for the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. This is scheduled for publication next April, and I’m currently working on the second draft, following very helpful input from two anonymous typescript reviewers. I need to finish this draft in October, and then I’ll be back to writing academic journal articles.

There are several articles I want to work on, but as an independent researcher, I don’t get salaried time in which to write. This means I can’t write all the time because I also have to earn my living. (And yes, I do know that lots of salaried academics that can’t write all the time and write on their own time too. But still, they have a regular salary, and no need to work on their business as they would if they were self-employed, so it’s not the same. But I wouldn’t swap!)

You can probably tell by now that I love to write. Which is why I’m also writing these posts! And although I’m not an academic, I do enjoy the many challenges and satisfactions of academic writing. I hope to convey some of this enjoyment, and show how I overcome the challenges and find the satisfactions, in the coming weeks and months.

Next week I’ll be sharing some of the other blogs on academic writing that I like to read, and explaining why I think there’s room for this one too. See you then!

Related links:

My PhD

My first book – Research and evaluation for busy practitioners: a time-saving guide

(Or a quick ‘Byte’ Writing for Research lets you dip into specific areas quickly)

Third Sector Research Centre


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