International open access week was celebrated worldwide last week, October 19-25th. The themes of the OA week are diversity, equity and inclusion, which all are central aims of OA in research. These issues have emerged as increasingly important during the COVID-19 epidemic, as quick and equal access to research-based knowledge is critical. The epidemic has affected academic libraries globally, as they have been forced to close their doors and instead focus on making digital resources available for their researchers and students. According to a survey conducted among researchers at the Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology at Åbo Akademi in spring 2020, almost 70 % of the respondents (N=59) slightly agreed, agreed or strongly agreed on the statement that the COVID-19 epidemic has increased the importance of OA (p. 82).
The most frequently downloaded article in our journal Approaching Religion in 2019 was “Islamic Feminism: transnational and national reflections” (2014) by Mulki Al-Sharmani. The article is available at https://journal.fi/ar/article/view/67552
The most frequently downloaded article in our Scripta in 2019 was “Spiritual and religious aspects of torture and scalping among the Indian cultures in Eastern North America, from ancient to colonial times” (2011) by Juha Hiltunen. The article is available at https://journal.fi/scripta/article/view/67402
For many researchers in the humanities and social sciences, monographs are still central. The number of open access books is constantly growing. Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), is the most extensive discovery service for open access books which includes many titles in the study of religion. Some useful resources:
- OAPEN is an online library and publication forum for open access books, mainly in the area of humanities and social sciences.
- OpenEdition hosts open access books and journals in humanities and social sciences.
- Open Book Publishers provides open access books in a variety of fields, especially in humanities and social sciences.
- Open Humanities Press publishes books and journals in humanities.
Also check individual publishers’ web sites for information about open access monographs. Many commercial publishers provide full open access to some contents!
Is a journal or book publisher new to you, and you wonder whether it is reliable to publish your research in it? Use the Think, Check, Submit website for guidance before submitting! The check list includes several OA issues: article or book processing charges, OA policy and licensing: https://thinkchecksubmit.org