Winners of the 2024 Open Access Book Award announced by ACLS

The winners of the first-ever Arcadia Open Access Publishing Awards and 2024 ACLS Open Access Book Prizes were revealed this week by the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS).

Simon P. Newman’s Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London (University of London Press, 2022) won first prize in the history category. The book is a “well-argued, and effectively presented” examination of “slavery’s deeply embedded history in Britain and the Atlantic world,” according to a statement from the judges.

As I Remember It: Teachings (ʕəms tɑŕɑw) from the Life of a Sliammon Elder by Elsie Paul with Davis McKenzie, Paige Raibmon, and Harmony Johnson (University of British Columbia Press/RavenSpace, 2019) won the prize in the “multimodal” category. “A massive intellectual contribution,” according to the judges, the book preserves “a lost language, culture, and folkways.”

The prizes, which are overseen by ACLS and funded by Arcadia, a nonprofit organisation that supports open access to knowledge and cultural heritage preservation, “recognize and reward the authors and publishers of exceptional, innovative, and open access humanities books published from 2017 to 2022.” The winning publishers will split a grant of $30,000 to assist “the immediate open competition,” while the winning authors will split a cash reward of $20,000.

The 2024 winners were commended by ACLS authorities, who reaffirmed their dedication to open access—a method of sharing information and scholarship in which publishing expenses are paid up front and the resultant works are freely accessible readers—in a statement.

According to ACLS President Joy Connolly, “their books freely provide communities worldwide with accurate research on topics that have been historically and often intentionally held at the margins of academic inquiry.” “We are excited to carry on our collaboration with Arcadia to foster an environment that supports the growth of humanistic publications among a wider readership.”

A prestigious team of judges chose each prize winner from a shortlist of five contenders. The Arcadia Open Access Publishing Awards and the 2025 ACLS Open Access Book Prizes will accept submissions.

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