For many subject areas – notably the humanities and social sciences – publishing research in the form of an edited book chapter is still highly valued. Nonetheless, there have been articles debating the issues with this form of publication (such as the blog post “How to bury your academic writing” by Dorothy Bishop, with a response from Terry Clague). One way to boost readership for a book chapter can be inclusion in a repository such as Swansea University’s Cronfa.
Researchers funded by the Wellcome Trust must now make book chapters open access (discussed in this blog post) and other funders may follow suit. Book chapters are not one of the output types covered by the imminent (1 April 2016) REF requirement to be made open access. However, HEFCE do mention extra credit for making all research open access where possible. Some publishers do offer the option to pay to make a book chapter immediately open access but this relies on the researcher being able to find the money. This may well not be needed if the alternative self-archiving route is possible.
There is no easy way to check publisher policies for self-archiving book chapters (compared with the Sherpa Romeo database for journals) but increasingly we are finding publishers allow self-archiving, albeit with an embargo period. Information is sometimes found on publisher websites (e.g. Brill) or you may need to contact the publisher and ask them directly. The University of Cambridge’s website has a summary of policies from a few publishers and there is a spreadsheet which maintained by UK librarians which covers additional publishers.
At the time of writing there are just over 1000 book chapters by Swansea University researchers on Cronfa but only 37 available for readers to download. It would be great to see that count increase as more researchers embrace the benefits of making their book chapters open access!
Contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to explore your open access options.