Research Questions

The Project’s primary research questions were as follows:

A. How are changes in the nature of research, the research environment, and the research process affecting:

  • The purposes that different kinds of academic books are thought to fulfil
  • The ways researchers and publishers create academic books
  • The forms that academic books take in the world of New Media and Open Access
  • The spaces, physical and digital, in which academic books are found
  • The accessibility of academic books
  • The impact of academic books
  • The ways value judgements are made about academic books and the research they contain

What are the implications of these changes now and for the future?

B. How are the processes through which books are commissioned, approved or accepted, edited, produced, published, marketed, distributed, made accessible, and preserved changing, and what are the implications for the activities, roles and value propositions of:

  • Publishers
  • Aggregators
  • Booksellers
  • Libraries?

C. What roles do academic books of different kinds play in the advancement of knowledge both in the academic community and beyond?

  • How might that role change or be enhanced for the future?
  • What plans do publishers and libraries have to sustain and enhance the roles, nature and formats of academic books for the future, both in the UK and the rest of the world?

D. How do different stakeholders perceive the relationships and differences between print and digital books, how might those relationships change, and what are the implications for:

  • Academics
  • Publishers
  • Aggregators
  • Booksellers
  • Libraries?

E. What skills do researchers and other academic stakeholders need if they are fully to exploit the potential of new technologies and platforms?

F. What are the implications for academics, publishers, libraries and other stakeholders interested in academic books of the current state and possible changes in

  • Moral rights (attribution and credit)
  • Legal frameworks (including copyright and legal deposit)
  • Contract frameworks (including royalties, licence agreements, image rights and permissions, reproduction rights etc.)
  • Economic frameworks and business models (including Open Access)?

G. How do career pressures (appointment, promotion, tenure) affect the kinds of research that academics choose to engage in?

H. How do political pressures (the REF, the push towards Open Access, the increasing impact agenda, pursuit of research funding) affect what research academics choose to engage in?

I. How do academics across the rest of the world – especially in the global south and in developing countries – perceive the issues to be explored in questions A-F?


Note: Our primary research questions were refined as the Project developed. The above represents the most recent iteration of these questions (June 2015).