Skip to Main Content
Library Guides

Researcher Support Library Services: OA books

Find out about OA book publication models, the benefits of publishing an OA book, and some of the different resources available to researchers.

OA books, funder policies and REF

OA book policies: UKRI and REF 2029

The REF Open Access policy applies only to scholarly articles and full-length conference papers in proceedings with an ISSN.  A new OA policy for REF 2029 will be consulted on during 2024 to take effect in 2025 or 2026.  All HEIs are expected to continue adhering to the current Open Access policy to be eligible for submission to REF 2029 until further notice.

Research England and the other funding bodies behind REF will be consulting on whether the open access policy should expand to incorporate other output types e.g. monographs and book chapters for the next REF.

UKRI's Open Access policy applies to monographs and book chapters published from 1 January 2024.

Helpful resources for researchers

Locating Open Access books

More open access books can be found on the publishers’ websites listed below. 

How does OA book publishing work?

There are many different business models and revenue sources for Open Access books, including: 

This model of OA book publishing is similar to journal APC (article processing charge). A fee is charged which covers the costs of production. This is called a BPC (book processing charge). This may be paid by the author, or by the author’s funder or employer.

Example: SpringerOpen Books charges OA publication fees determined by the total pages of a work.


This model of OA book publishing involves the publisher providing both a full-text OA edition and a priced edition of the book. The OA version might be in a lower-quality format than any priced digital editions, such as a HTML or XML format.

Example: Open Book Publishers publish priced hardback, paperback and ebook editions, but also provide free online editions of their titles in PDF, HTML and XML formats.


This model of OA book publishing involves an institution (which could be, for example, a university, research centre, library, non-profit organisation, foundation, or a government agency) subsidising all or part of the OA book publication costs.

Example (foundation subsidies): Wellcome Trust supports "funds available for the payment of publisher’s open access monograph processing charges".

Example (consortial subsidies): Knowledge Unlatched is a global library consortium enabling open access books. The model depends on many libraries from around the world sharing the cost of Open Access publishing in return for books being made freely available.


This model of OA book publishing offers additional priced content or services on top of freely available OA content. This could include full-text search, navigation tools, connections to additional resources, detachable formats.

Example: Open Edition is a portal for OA electronic resources, with the option to subscribe to additional services and receive access to detachable formats (PDF, ePub).


This model of OA book publishing works in a similar way to journal embargoes. Free access to the book is delayed for a set period of time, during which a priced version is available.

Example: Leiden University Press (LUP) provide the option to make manuscripts immediately available, and the final book Open Access after a set period of time.

Many more OA book publishing models, as well as additional examples, can be found in the Open Access Directory (OAD).

Open Access book publishers

A selection of book publishers who publish all or a significant portion of their titles in an Open Access format.

You can find a more extensive list of book publishers with Open Access titles here in the DOAB.

OA Books Toolkit

 OA Books Toolkit 

The OA Books Toolkit aims to help book authors to better understand open access book publishing and to increase trust in open access books. You will be able to find relevant articles on open access book publishing following the research lifecycle, by browsing frequently asked questions or by searching with keywords.