Open Access in Asian and Asian Diaspora Studies

In recognition of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and paying tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched IU Bloomington’s research and scholarship, in this blog post we cover a number of resources available to scholars and academic departments interested in exploring Open Access in Asian Studies. 

We also recognize the additional burden placed on Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander members of our community at this time because of the rise in xenophobic bias and violence during the coronavirus pandemic. We stand with the AAPI community in condemning anti-Asian hate crimes. The Asian Culture Center at IU Bloomington provides a list of resources to fight racism in Covid-19 times. Additional avenues to educate ourselves and take action can also be found in this list of resources created by the Flexport Heritage of Asians/Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders Employee Resource Group.

Open Access in Asian Studies

While we have been using the term ‘Open Access’ as if it were a singular, consistent concept,  we acknowledge that open access resources and practices are not uniform across all academic disciplines. Generally, however, making a scholarly work open access means making that work freely available on the internet subject to such rights to reuse the work as determined by the author, usually making it subject to as few copyright restrictions as possible by way of a Creative Commons open license. Open Access is a model of scholarly publishing meant to remove restrictive paywalls, increase the impact and reach of scholarly works, and make works available to institutions and people who can’t pay the high subscription costs of traditional publishers. 

IU Press and IU Libraries

IU Press, the official academic publisher of Indiana University, publishes books and academic journals with a focus on humanities disciplines. Open Indiana: Asian Studies, a subcollection of 22 open access books relevant to East Asian studies, is available through IU Press. Through the Open Book Program, funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities Open Book Program, IU Press was able to establish Open Indiana, a collection of over 160 open access titles, including the Open Indiana: Asian Studies subcollection. The current NEH Open Book Program deadline is July 15, 2021. 

Indiana University also participates in Towards an Open Monograph Ecosystem or TOME, a multi-association initiative designed to help create a more sustainable model of open monograph publishing. You can find more information on how to get your work funded and published through TOME at Indiana University.

The IUScholarWorks – East Asian Languages and Cultures Collection is another resource for researchers. Managed by the IU Libraries Scholarly Communications Department, IUScholarWorks provides a platform to host open access scholarships. The Department’s website Open Scholarship at IU provides services, tools, and explanations of practices in open scholarship.

LibGuides are content management systems used by libraries to organize and present course and research resources. Indiana University Libraries provide various LibGuides in East Asian Studies, Tibetan Studies, South Asian Studies, and Southeast Asian Studies to serve the needs of students and researchers.

University of Michigan Press – OA Publishing in Asian Studies

On February 26, 2021, the University of Michigan Press hosted a virtual event on Open Access Publishing in Asian Studies, highlighting the Michigan Asian Studies Open Access Books Collection. During the virtual event researchers shared various open access resources in Asian Studies:

Miscellaneous Resources

Making it Count”: The Case for Digital Scholarship in Asian Studies is a blog post by the Association for Asian Studies (AAS). The post details ways in which Asian Studies departments can respond to the changes brought forth by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic through the strategic use of digital mediums and digital scholarship.

The Geiss-Hsu Foundation is a not-for-profit that sponsors research about the Ming Dynasty. They invite researchers to submit proposals for new or already published books. Successful proposals can receive funding to help make their published book open access.

The University of Michigan MBA/MA in Asian Studies: Retrospection and Reflections by Linda Lim is an oral history text discussing the history of the university’s dual MBA/MA in Asian Studies Program.

Studying the creation, exchange and use of pottery, Mahan and Baekje: The Complex Origins of Korean Kingdoms by Rory Walsh, uses ceramics to examine the political economies of Mahan and the Baekje Kingdom in Korea during 3rd to 5th century BC. 

As a companion to their eponymous joint virtual event, the Asian American Feminist Collective and Black Women Radicals provide a “Sisters and Siblings in the Struggle: COVID-19 + Black and Asian-American Feminist Solidarities” reading list which includes some open access sources. Among these are- 

ScholarLed and Lever Press are two useful options for publishing books open access. ScholarLed is a collective of ‘scholar-led’ open-access publishers that aim to create small-scale collaborative processes for academic publishing. Lever Press accepts proposals for works and series of works relevant to the publisher’s themes and interests. Lever Press also prides itself on being a ‘Platinum OA’ publisher, where the cost of publishing is not borne by the scholar, but rather by the institutions that sponsor Lever Press.    

The Directory of Open Access Journals is an independent online database containing over 15,000 reputable open access journals. While the directory isn’t exhaustive, it is a great resource for finding relevant and credible scholarly journals in Asian Studies. An equivalent directory is the Directory of Open Access Books, a database containing over 40,000 peer-reviewed open access Books. 


In conclusion, there are numerous resources available for Asian and Asian Diaspora scholars looking to make their work open access. Indiana University provides services and resources through IU Press and the library system, meanwhile outside organizations such as foundations, open-access publishers, and external institutions have options for funding, publishing services, departmental guidelines, and more.

Together, we are all a part of a developing ecosystem assisting researchers through the publishing process. Through open access methods and resources, we can help make research in Asian studies more accessible to a larger audience.