Positive evaluations of open access monograph platform Kriterium

Kriterium is a platform for high-quality peer-reviewed academic books. All publications undergo rigorous peer-review to obtain the Kriterium seal of approval which also assures that the publications are available open access. The platform was launched as a pilot project in 2015 in order to support the monograph in a time of changing publication patterns. Coming to the end of the three-year-long pilot, the project has been evaluated by two scholars: Isak Hammar, Lund and Stockholm University, and Helena Francke of Borås University. They have delivered two separate reports which are positive as regards its continuation and point to a continued need of a national platform for the review, publication, and dissemination of scholarly monographs in Sweden.


Foto: James Sutton, Unsplash

Kriterium is a collaborative venture between the universities of Gothenburg, Lund, and Uppsala. The Swedish Research Council, Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, the National Library of Sweden and the publishers Nordic Academic Press and Makadam are involved in the project, as are the ACTA series and publication series of the universities.

Isak Hammar concludes in Kriterium: Experiences from the Pilot Phase that the idea to create an infrastructure for the peer-review of scholarly monographs has received much praise, and that the introduction of Kriterium in the Swedish publishing sector is considered as a necessary addition.

A major part of its success, according to Hammar, can be attributed to the current merit and reward system and in particular the system using publications points. Current publication channels are perceived as expensive and their merit based on factors residing outside of the individual publications themselves. Hammar’s evaluation puts forward recommendations for how Kriterium might be further developed.

Part of the Kriterium quality stamp of approval is that a monograph is made openly available through OAPEN and searchable in DOAB. In order to fulfill these criteria, the individual publisher needs to charge a BPC, or book publication charge. Helena Francke suggests in Kriterium Evaluation: Pilot Project, that the individual author should apply for subsidisation of the Kriterium fee from publication funds at universities and funding bodies, which would cover the publication cost:

In practice, the Kriterium fee entails a guarantee that the book is made openly accessible and peer-reviewed, and also at an extra cost that is somewhere around half of the average APC for an article.

Despite the fact that only a few universities have joined the project, it will be open as a publication channel for academic books from all higher education institutions. Kriterium is primarily intended for research and researchers with a Swedish connection and will focus particularly on upholding the tradition of academic books published in Sweden. The goal is to extend collaboration to include other higher education institutions and to establish a long-term consortium.

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Read the Kriterium evaluations in Swedish

Blog post by Maja Pelling, Coordinator, Kriterium, maja.pelling [at] ub.gu.se