Open Access Week

Why publish Open Access? Humanities researchers share their stories

In Spring 2023 we launched Boydell & Brewer Open Access, to make it easy for readers to browse all our freely available content. The site has continued to grow, adding more books and chapters in history, African studies and music. There are lots of reasons why humanities researchers might publish Open Access (OA). We asked the authors and editors of our most-read OA titles to share their stories.

“By making our volume Open Access, we aim to reach readers across national and institutional boundaries. That means, our book, which focuses on a peripheral language area in Europe, may itself encourage literary citizenship – that is literary agency and the “local and border-crossing, social and empowering aspect of literature” in its broadest sense (p. 1−2). The option to circulate Scandinavian book historical research in this way is made possible by funding from the Research Council of Norway, which encourages OA for all its publications.” – Ruth Hemstad, co-editor, Literary Citizenship in Scandinavia in the Long Eighteenth Century

“Open Access publishing offers an accessible and equitable model, aligned with the principles of feminist scholarship. Regardless of institutional affiliation or financial privilege, readers are able to consult open access publications for free. While publishing open access currently depends on the availability of funding sources, choosing to make your work freely available benefits those without access to such resources. My book was published open access thanks to the generosity of the Swiss National Science Foundation and received the same high quality treatment as all Boydell & Brewer’s books. As a bonus, it is available in print form as a paperback, another affordable option for anyone who prefers a hard copy.” – Hannah Piercy, author, Resistance to Love in Medieval English Romance

“My work on it was funded by a European Research Council (ERC) grant. The ERC requires all publications to be Open Access and subsidised the cost. Publishing OA with an established publisher such as Boydell offers the best of both worlds: on the one hand you get the rigorous editorial oversight and strong marketing team of a publishing house supporting your work; on the other, the work is freely available to readers as soon as it is published, searchable on the internet, and readable at a few clicks of a button.” – Jane Whittle, co-editor, Labour Laws in Preindustrial Europe 

“I wanted my book to be open access so that my friends, interlocutors, and other inhabitants of Nairobi’s high-rise settlements could read and discuss it. Academic books often remain inaccessible to a wider audience due to their high cost and are thus rarely read by those who can best criticize, comment on, and add to anthropologists’ ethnographic analyses. The open access format allows my book to be accessed through digital devices everywhere and by everyone. This will hopefully catalyze fruitful debates about the current and future state of gender relations in Kenya as well as about the living conditions in the overcrowded and hypercapitalist high-rise settlements of Nairobi.” Mario Schmidt, author Migrants and Masculinity in High-Rise Nairobi 

[Coming February 2024]

“I wrote my book within the European Research Council-funded AveTransRisk project, led by Prof. Maria Fusaro, which studied the development of maritime legal institutions in early modern Eurasia. Thanks to this funding, we were able to publish my book Open Access so that it can be accessed across the world at no cost. So much fascinating research is hidden behind paywalls or sold as books with high price tags, so it is a privilege as an early career researcher that my research is so easy for readers to access, both as a free PDF and as an affordable paperback.” – Lewis Wade, author, Privilege, Economy and State in Old Regime France 

Read, download and share these and other OA titles from Boydell & Brewer Open Access.  

All our Open Access books are also available in paperback from and other print book retailers.

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