by Rebecca Tomlinson
24th March 2022

At Bristol University Press we believe that research should have as wide a reach as possible and be put to use in making a difference in supporting social change and social justice. Our open access (OA) programme is part of our commitment to achieving this.

Research has shown that OA publications have a wider readership and more online mentions than non-OA books and journals, and we wholeheartedly support it as a means to amplify social science perspectives for social good.

As an editor, I believe that making your work as accessible as possible to as many people as possible should be at the forefront of your mind right from the beginning of any research project. If you want your research to reach new, global audiences then publishing in OA should be a major motivation. As well as reaching a much larger audience, by publishing OA you can also retain the copyright for your work meaning you can clearly state how you want it to be reused.

We talk all the time about research having real impact on the ground and changing people’s lives, but it’s often locked away behind a paywall or simply out of budget. What many people don’t know is that funding is available to make your journal article, book or chapters within your book OA.

A broad range of international funders and institutions provide routes to funding the publishing of your research either at the initial point of applying for the original research funding or at completion of your research project. For further information on suitable funding bodies, we recommend you check the list of funding bodies on the Directory of Open Access website.

Why publish OA?

  • OA makes your research more widely and easily visible to researchers, practitioners and policy makers giving it that visibility and impact on the ground that’s so important to both us and our authors.
  • A number of studies and reports have shown that OA journal articles and books are viewed more often than those available only to subscribers meaning that your work is really getting out to those that need and want it.
  • OA publication fosters greater dialogue across disciplinary and geographical boundaries meaning there is much more scope for global collaboration.

Publish Open Access with us

As a not-for-profit university press operating at the heart of the scholarly endeavour, we champion OA as a fairer and more equitable way of publishing research and reaching audiences globally. And we provide an ethical home for OA publications, offering fair fees representing our true publishing costs, and valuing dissemination over profitability. As a press with a 25-year history of supporting academic communities, we work to ensure a sustainable approach to OA that can help reshape the scholarly communications landscape for years to come.

OA is not only important for the funders but also to our mission for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and can help us as a publisher to respond to the Global Social Challenges facing society today.

With that in mind, we have recently launched our gold, OA, Global Social Challenges Journal, which aims to reimagine society in an era of climate change, pandemic, hunger and poverty, exploring questions of racial, ethnic and gender justice and other pressing global societal challenges. We also waive all Article Processing Charges (for all journals) for authors from countries in the Low Human Development category of the UN HDI. Our OA books and journals are currently accessed across over 155 countries monthly. Our books were among the most downloaded on OAPEN in 2021 with Ethnicity, Race and Inequality in the UK hitting 14,500+ downloads in its first 6 months, and COVID-19 in the Global South downloaded over 30,000 times to date.

As part of our commitment to providing research to low- and middle-income countries, we currently partner with Research4Life which provides institutions with online access to academic and professional peer-reviewed content. It aims to improve teaching, research and policy making in the social sciences and is just another way we’re trying to get your research out there.

Rather than just benefiting a select group of researchers, open access allows everyone to enjoy and benefit from your hard work and innovations. Practitioners, politicians, students, ECRs and policy makers from all over the world have a stake in social science research and by increasing visibility and access to this vital research we can improve its capacity to inform, educate and enlighten.

Creating a more equitable system of knowledge that is open to all, globally, is a big challenge but one that can be met by providing instant and unlimited access to the latest research.

So, for your next book project proposal, why not ask your own institution or research funder if the funding for OA is available – you won’t regret it!


Find out more about our OA publishing options via

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