Society submits response to REF2029 Open Access Consultation

12 June 2024

The Royal Historical Society has today submitted a response to the Research Excellence Framework 2029 open access consultation.

The consultation, launched in March 2024, proposes the extension of open access requirements for eligible publications for REF2029. The proposals relate both to journal articles and, now, what REF terms ‘longform’ publications, principally monographs, edited collections, book chapters and scholarly editions. These formats are a very significant part of History, and Humanities publishing, and comprised 55% of publication submissions for History for the previous REF (2021).

  • The Royal Historical Society’s statement on the consultation is available here. This Society’s response draws on answers provided by RHS members to a Survey (conducted in May 2024) on attitudes to open access and the REF more widely.
  • Further information on the REF2029 OA proposals is available here; these were the subject of a Society blog post published in March.

In its response to the consultation, the Society expresses concern about the scale and pace of the proposals, especially with regard to mandatory OA publication of books for which the necessary infrastructure, resources and financial support are absent.

The Society believes REF’s OA proposals for book publishing go too far, too fast. We are concerned that mandating these proposals will alienate humanities academics, and their support networks, and risks delegitimising REF as a measure and reward of research excellence in the opinion of those it seeks to assess.

We therefore recommend that REF’s OA proposals for books are not mandated for the next research exercise; rather the next cycle is used to explore sustainable future models that increase access to high-quality research.

The closing date for responses to the REF OA proposals is Monday 17 June 2024.

IMAGE HEADER: Credit: Natalie_ iStock