Many authors considering their publishing options for their scholarly monograph or edited volume might consider publishing open access. UCL Press, established in 2015, is the UK’s first fully open access university press and it offers open access monograph publishing to authors and editors at UCL. Many other publishers also offer an open access option, with most charging a BPC (Book Processing Charge, the equivalent of the APC in journal publishing) – this is usually paid by the funder or the author’s institution. UCL Press doesn’t charge UCL authors and editors.
But what are the benefits? This blog aims to set out the key reasons why publishing a book open access has many advantages.
Download statistics gathered by UCL Press and other open access publishers show high usage statistics for OA books, compared with typical print sales for specialist scholarly monographs. This means open access books are reaching many more readers than would otherwise be the case. UCL Press titles have been downloaded over 3.5 million times. The most downloaded book, How the World Changed Social Media by Professor Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology) has been viewed over 440,000 times. But even specialist interest titles are downloaded thousands of times. Download statistics for all UCL Press open access monographs can be viewed on UCL Press’s website.
2: Global readership
OA books are accessed all around the world, often in places where print copies are inaccessible. UCL Press titles have been downloaded in 244 countries and territories around the world. Global readership patterns have also been reported on in a recent white paper produced by Springer Nature and COARD.
3: Increased citations
The same study found that OA books on average achieve ten times more downloads and 2.4 times more citations than non-OA books.
4: Publicity advantages
There are many more avenues for promoting free books, as they are seen as a clear benefit to their communities. List-servs and social media are great resources for OA book promotion. Authors often report that they are much more comfortable promoting their OA books on social media, as there is no cost associated with them.