New Voices Open Access Awards

Arc Humanities Press and Open Access

Arc Humanities Press invites libraries to join us in building a sustainable, research-led Open Access monograph program for the future. The pandemic has demonstrated the pressing need for more academic research to be delivered through Open Access infrastructure. Its global accessibility benefits readers and authors alike, but many models for OA books are prohibitive for authors in the Humanities, especially for those who are Early Career Researchers, despite the fact that vibrant new ideas generated by ERCs feed the scholarly advances of the future.

Arc Humanities Press publishes innovative scholarly research across premodern interdisciplinary studies. Its unique focus is on:

  • the late antique, medieval, and early modern periods from a global perspective
  • “edgy” and inclusive research—both in terms of topics and practitioners
  • research that crosses disciplinary boundaries, including digital humanities
  • research that fosters better public engagement in, and understanding of the past and links with the contemporary world, including work from practitioners in the museum and cultural heritage sector.

Libraries interested in participating should contact Rob Edwards.


Future Perfect New Voices Awards Program

Arc’s existing OA book program is set to double in size between 2020 and 2022, but we know the conventional Book Processing Charge-based model only meets the needs of certain categories of academic. The Future Perfect New Voices Awards Program is therefore designed to establish a sustainable crowd-funded OA model targeted at Early Career Researchers, independent, or contingent scholars, and those without access to OA funding—in other words, providing funding where it can make the greatest difference, and counter systemic inequities.

We’ve tailored the Awards Program to suit the limited budgets of small research libraries, public libraries, museums, and archives who are looking to commit a modest, well-targeted ongoing spend to OA monographs in specific areas of the Humanities. We also welcome the support of larger institutions.

The Awards Program seeks to link researchers, libraries, and independent publishing in the common pursuit of research excellence by embedding this in a bespoke, mutually supportive relationship.


Key Objectives

  1. target Open Access monograph funding at subject-specific research excellence in ground-breaking fields
  2. deliver OA funding where it’s most needed—supporting the work of Early Career Researchers, independent, or contingent scholars, and those from institutions (e.g., in the Global South) that are not well funded
  3. provide a scheme that suits the budgets of the widest possible range of research libraries, public libraries, museums, and archives looking to commit a modest, well-targeted ongoing-spend to OA monographs—as well as larger institutions.

How Future Perfect New Voices Works

  1. Suitable book proposals are pre-selected by the press’s editorial board and entered for the New Voices Awards once book manuscripts have successfully passed the peer-review process or materials have been fully evaluated by a panel of experts in the field.
  2. Program participants will have the opportunity to vote on which books will receive the Awards. Arc undertakes to ensure that no books receive awards without having fully explored alternative sources of funding.
  3. Each New Voices Award provides $9,000 to cover the costs of publishing one new OA monograph—immediate “gold” open access alongside hardback and affordable paperback options. All other costs, including all overhead costs, are borne by the press.
  4. The fee per participating institution is set at $550 per annum.
  5. The New Voices Award fund will be supplemented by a $1,000 allocation per year from each Future Perfect Networks Award Scheme that Arc establishes.
  6. Any balance of funds that is insufficient to fund a whole Award is held over to the following year to contribute to the first full Award of that year.
  7. The aim is to make between four and eight New Voices Awards in the first year, depending on the level of subscribers, and to extend the Program in subsequent years as we expand the subscriber-base.
  8. On publication each title granted an Award will be made immediately available Open Access on Project MUSE and OAPEN and listed in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB).
  9. The subscriber agreement for participating institutions runs for three calendar years. The “Award Year” is the calendar year starting in January. The call for subscribers runs from the preceding August. The first call opens 1 August 2021 and ends 31 July 2022 and the first rounds of voting to prioritize allocation of Awards will take place in December 2021 and July 2022.
  10. Alternatively participating institutions can buy a three-year commitment as an outright purchase for $1500.
  11. Those libraries with JISC membership can use Jisc’s online ordering service (“Licence Subscriptions Manager”) to subscribe to this program; here they will be quoted prices in sterling (£).

Participating Institutions’ Benefits

  • Voting on who will be the beneficiaries of the Awards. This gives librarians a curating role in the development of the press’s list.
  • Annual report on the progress of New Voices, detailing books published and how participating institutions’ funds have been spent.
  • Subscription to Arc’s email newsletter.
  • MARC records (from Project MUSE and OAPEN Library) for all New Voices.
  • Usage statistics (provided by Project MUSE and OAPEN Library), for all New Voices.
  • Access to, and long-term preservation of all New Voices e-books and associated metadata (provided by Project MUSE and OAPEN Library through Portico).
  • Acknowledgment of Participating Institutions on the New Voices webpage on Arc’s website.
  • Hotlink from Institutional OA webpages to Arc’s New Voices webpage, which will include dedicated notes for ECRs on how to submit a proposal and have it considered for the New Voices.

Making OA Accessible for All

Open Access (OA) refers to peer-reviewed research that is free to read. Its global accessibility benefits readers and authors alike. Open access for books makes publicly-funded research widely available to all.

While equitable for readers, many models for OA books are prohibitive for authors in the humanities. In our model, the press and library and institutional funders join to create a cost-effective front-list of OA monographs, with the same high-quality print editions also available for purchase in multiple formats.

A Partnership Approach

Arc Humanities Press and our publishing partners at Amsterdam University Press are both committed to converting as much as possible of their front-list of monographs to OA.

We welcome member institutions as partners. Arc itself is committed to reducing its monograph production costs to a quarter that of comparable North American university presses.

Maintaining full peer review, high editing and production standards, but at reduced costs allows Arc and AUP and their partners to publish far more Open Access books than elsewhere.

Join our Future Perfect New Voices Awards Program. Your participation will bring top-quality historical research in an inclusive way to a global audience.