Open Access Future in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Since our founding, SAGE has been committed to both supporting and advocating the intrinsic value of social science research to both policy and the community, a founding ethos that still remains true today. As the Open Access (OA) debate continues to develop, how OA will affect researchers and their communities remains a hotly contested topic. One area of ongoing discussion is whether a ‘one size fits all’ approach to the design and implementation of OA is desirable, or whether differences between research environments need to be taken into account. Do research and publishing practices in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) – not to mention funding levels – mean that they should be treated differently to the Scientific, Technical and Medical (STM) fields?

Last week we were delighted to host, together with the LSE Public Policy Group, the British Academy, the Academy of Social Science, and media partner, The Times Higher Education, a one day conference focusing on the challenges and potentials of open access in HSS. The event brought together contributions from all sides of the OA debate, with panellists from academia, funding bodies, publishers, universities, libraries and learned societies – all of whom were united by the goal of encouraging and shaping HSS-relevant engagement by addressing these key topics:

  • Why is OA important for HSS?
  • Which form(s) of open access is appropriate for HSS?
  • OA and the potential for positive change in HSS research communication
  • Transitions mechanisms toward OA


The event was also attended by David Sweeney of HEFCE who provided the afternoon address and thoughts on the HEFCE OA consultation process that ends on October 30th. Each of the panels and presentations provided a platform for some very lively discussions, with fresh and challenging perspectives coming in particular from early career researchers, open access publishers and those working outside academia.

As the publisher of the social sciences we are committed to being a part of this debate and ensuring that we are best placed to support our scholarly partners and communities as the OA debate continues to develop.

If you missed the event you can:

Watch the full conference  and panel debates


View the speaker presentations



View the twitter conversations here, here and here
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SAGE Publishing, the parent of Social Science Space, is a leading international publisher of journals, books, and electronic media for academic, educational, and professional markets. An independent company, SAGE has principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Melbourne and Washington DC.

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