The role and future of the monograph in arts and humanities research

Peter Williams (Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) and School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS), University College London, London, UK)
Iain Stevenson (Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) and School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS), University College London, London, UK)
David Nicholas (Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) and School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS), University College London, London, UK)
Anthony Watkinson (Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) and School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS), University College London, London, UK)
Ian Rowlands (Centre for Information Behaviour and the Evaluation of Research (CIBER) and School of Library, Archive and Information Studies (SLAIS), University College London, London, UK)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Publication date: 16 January 2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to report on a project undertaken at University College London (UCL) examining the role and value of the academic monograph – considering continuing decline in sales and usage – and its possible survival in the digital age.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach was adopted, in which 17 arts and humanities academics were interviewed in‐depth on their experiences and views.

Findings

The monograph continues to be of great value in the arts and humanities field, and is seen as essential for career progression. Much concern was expressed about the decline in quality of this and other forms of writing, with pressures of the university Research Assessment Exercise foremost in contributing to this decline. Reservations were expressed about moving towards digital versions of the monograph, although print‐on‐demand was considered to be a viable option to enable the continuing publication of specialist works.

Originality/value

This is the first in‐depth study of the role, value and future of the monograph from the viewpoint of the scholar, and so gives a unique insight into the scholarly communication behaviour of arts and humanities researchers.

Keywords

Citation

Williams, P., Stevenson, I., Nicholas, D., Watkinson, A. and Rowlands, I. (2009), "The role and future of the monograph in arts and humanities research", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 61 No. 1, pp. 67-82. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012530910932294

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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