Executive summary: Monographs still play an important role in scholarly communication, particularly in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The availability of publication outlets for research monographs is crucial to the careers of researchers and to research assessment opportunities for universities with departments in those disciplines. Humanities and Social Sciences have suffered from the serials crises, as library funds for the purchase of monographs came under pressure.
The Open Access model addresses the monograph crisis in two ways. By making a digital edition freely available through the Internet the access to and discoverability of the monograph are greatly improved. The Open Access model also provides the opportunity to find a new sustainable business model for monographs, based on the reduced production costs of the digital edition and building on emerging business models for Open Access journals. Open Access models for monographs differ from the models for Open Access journals, because the Open Access version of a monograph does not substitute printed books in the same way that e-journals are substituting printed journals. But although the business models may differ, there are no obstacles to achieve Open Access for books. There are clear benefits to the academic community and society at large and both publishers and funders are experimenting with a variety of models to enable Open Access to monographs.