37 Open Access Books from the Fields of Law, the Social Sciences and the Humanities Funded

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Open access (OA) has long been an integral part of the TIB’s consortial business – although the focus has been on journals and conference proceedings so far. The institutional financing and publication of OA books, coordinated by the TIB, is still in the early stages. With projects such as SCOAP³ for Books, we are gaining initial experience in the communal financing of freely available textbooks and reference books.

In 2022, the joint project ”State-wide licensing and open access transformation of e-books” was launched as part of the umbrella initiative Hochschule.digital Niedersachsen (digital university Lower Saxony). One focal point were innovative licence models that include an open access component. As a consortium, we were able to develop a concept with Nomos Publishing that combines the two aspects of ”access rights” and ”publication services”. This meant that members of the Lower Saxony consortium had access to the entire e-book portfolio of Nomos and its partners during 2023. In addition, representatives from institutions in Lower Saxony were able to select books from the frontlist for open access publication on a monthly basis.

Thanks to the agreement between Nomos and TIB, and with the help of the project funds, a total of 15 monographs, 20 edited collections and 1 textbook (= 36 titles in total) will be openly accessible immediately upon first publication. These titles are published under a CC-BY licence and can be read and downloaded free of charge via the Nomos eLibrary (around two thirds of the titles have been published so far). In addition, one further title will be made freely available after an embargo period of 12 months. A complete list of titles can be requested via tib-konsortien@tib.eu.

A brief introduction: three legal publications

However, we would like to take this opportunity to briefly introduce three titles from the field of law:

  • The eighth edition of the standard textbook Zivilprozessrecht (Civil Procedure Law) by Prof Dr Jens Adolphsen was published in 2023 as an open access book. Civil Procedure Law is a compulsory subject for all students preparing for the first state examination. It is the first widely used standard short textbook to be published as an open access publication. This means that students can access the contents of the textbook digitally from any location at any time and free of charge.[1]
  • Dr Michael Koenen’s dissertation Auswertung von Blockchain-Inhalten zu Strafverfolgungszwecken (Evaluation of Blockchain Content for Law Enforcement Purposes) (2023) addresses an extremely topical issue in the field of blockchain and makes the research results immediately available digitally to all researchers, students and practitioners through open access publication.
  • Die Transparenz öffentlich-rechtlicher Rundfunkanstalten (The Transparency of Public-Service Broadcasters) (2023), Dr Friedrich Schmitt’s dissertation, examines public-law transparency obligations of broadcasters financed by broadcasting contributions, an important socio-political topic.

This project has not only achieved the goal of expanding the range of academic literature available in digital format at universities in Lower Saxony, but also benefits many other institutions and users thanks to its open access component. This cooperation between consortium and publisher has shown us that the development of new licence models for financing publication services in the book sector can be driven forward.

[1] Further law textbooks that have been published as open access publications can be found here.

ist Referentin für Lizenzen und bei der TIB für die Verhandlung von Konsortialangeboten zuständig.

... ist Fachreferentin für Rechtswissenschaften, stellvertretende Justiziarin und Datenschutzbeauftragte der TIB