In our second post for International Open Access week, Kate Petherbridge talks about White Rose University Press.


White Rose University Press (WRUP) is an open access publisher and we are supported jointly by the libraries of the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York. These libraries work collaboratively on a range of projects of which WRUP is one of the newest. The press was established in 2016 and a major driver in its creation was to support the Open Access agenda and offer an alternative to the more traditional commercial publishing model.

Why Open Access?

Our primary purpose is to make high quality scholarship freely available to anyone with an internet connection so research can be accessed by as wide an audience as possible. Increasing the potential audience increases the potential impact of the scholarship.

There is more to Open Access than simply making content available free at the point of use, however. Another key feature of Open Access content is that it can be shared and built on. All WRUP content is published under Creative Commons Licences, which allow authors to retain copyright and so ownership of their research output. However, these licences let others copy, share, and reuse content under the terms of the particular licence applied. In this way, Open Access really does open up scholarship, bringing opportunities to take existing research further and into new directions.

It is also important to us to make sure we only commission publications of high academic quality. The WRUP Editorial Board is made up of experienced academics from across the universities of Leeds, Sheffield and York, and all the proposals they consider undergo a rigorous peer review process. The view that Open Access content is of lower quality simply because it is free to access online is hopefully behind us. In working to share academic output as widely as possible, it is important we ensure this output is of high quality and so can be used with confidence by academics and others e.g. practitioners and policy makers.

The “Gold” model

There has been much discussion about different Open Access models, usually summarised as:

Green:- an author can deposit an approved version of a manuscript submitted elsewhere for commercial publication in an institutional or subject repository. The commercially published version is available to access from the publisher, usually for a fee. The deposited manuscript is usually embargoed for a period dictated by the publisher, and then made freely available once this embargo expires.

Gold:- an author can publish their work through an Open Access publisher. This makes the formally published content freely available from the point of publication, with no embargo. To cover the publication costs, Gold Open Access publishers usually charge Article or Book Processing Charges (APCs/BPCs).

WRUP is a Gold Open Access publisher. We are also a not-for-profit organisation, so our APCs and BPCs simply cover the cost of production. The authors and editors we are currently working with have sourced funding from their academic institutions, from academic societies, from public bodies and through research grants. While Gold Open Access is sometimes referred to as an “author pays” model, in reality this is rarely the case.

WRUP publications

WRUP currently has three live journals, with another recently commissioned. Currently live are the Journal of the European Second Language Association (JESLA), the Journal of African Cultural Heritage Studies (JACHS), and the Undergraduate Journal of Politics and International Relations (UJPIR). Joining them soon will be the British and Irish Orthoptic Journal. All our journals have their own independent editorial structures and processes to ensure academic rigour. It is exciting for WRUP to work across this range of disciplines.

We also publish Open Access monographs, with the first wave of these set for publication in early 2018. Again, the subject areas covered are diverse. They include an important two-volume work on the significant Mesolithic site at Star Carr in Yorkshire, an English translation of the war diaries of a young academic trapped in Paris during the German Occupation, and a bilingual edition of selected poetry and prose of Tristan Corbière- some of which will appear in English for the first time. Further monographs are expected to follow later in the year.

From acorns…

White Rose University Press is still in its infancy, and is one of a new wave of University and Academic-led presses founded to challenge the traditional publishing model. Jisc’s recent report Changing publishing ecologies: A landscape study of new university presses and academic-led publishing discusses this. While not all these new presses are fully Open Access, many are or publish Open Access titles. This shows growing engagement with different publishing models, and that there is need for a variety of approaches. As for White Rose University Press, we have made rapid progressing the short time we’ve been operating and expect this to continue, adding our increasing contribution to the Open Access content available globally. We are very keen to receive proposals for academic publications and we are always happy to answer any questions on Open Access publishing.

White Rose University Press