The University of Essex strives to make content available digitally via our online reading lists. As part of the Library’s ongoing work to ensure all students can access their essential readings, we want to partner with academics. This partnership starts from publishing, and continues through to the curation of reading lists.
Making resources available online has a positive impact on the student experience for various reasons, including benefitting students based off-campus, and meeting different accessibility needs. E-books represent a significant portion of our online resources, yet there are often difficulties involved with providing access to these resources. We therefore want to work with you to ensure e-books written by our Essex researchers are as readily available as possible.
Agreements that authors sign when publishing e-books affect the ability of their students to read their work. This is because libraries can only purchase e-books which are licenced for universities. In addition to this, some other things to consider are:
Being aware of the above points when signing author agreements for publishing e-books can help to stop these terms restricting student and researcher access to your work.
When negotiating your contract with a publisher, we recommend that you ask your publisher about their e-book policies. The “questions to ask publishers” below will help with this. If you’re not happy with their responses, you can ask that they insert the “contract clauses” suggested below into your contract.
If you’re still not satisfied with their policies and the terms of the contract haven’t been changed, you may want to consider a different publisher. Alternatively, you could also publish your book under an open access model, allowing everyone access. The OA Books Toolkit is a great resource to help you with this. You can also get in contact with us in the Library for advice on publishing.
You can speak to our Research Support team or your Academic Liaison Librarian via our contact us page if you’re in any doubt about any of the answers you receive to these questions (or about the questions themselves).
If you are unclear about, or are unhappy with, the publisher’s responses, ask them to insert the following clauses into your contract: https://academicebookinvestigation.org/
A group of academic librarians, researchers, lecturers and students from across the UK have recently compiled an open letter asking the government to investigate the academic publishing industry over its e-book pricing and licensing practices. You can read and sign the open letter and find out more about the Campaign to Investigate the Academic E-book Market on their website. You can also follow the conversation on Twitter using #ebooksos.
Visit the Library's blog for more information about how we are supporting this campaign at Essex. Leave a comment on the post to take part in the conversation.