Open access book publishing has been growing in recent years. The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) lists 2,099 open access books published in 2018, an increase of 38% from 20171. Funders are also starting to engage with open access for books: a small number of European funders now mandate open access for books and provide financial support for open access book publication. COAlition S has also indicated that they support transitioning monographs to open access, and will provide guidance by the end of 2021.
At Springer Nature we are committed to expanding the open access availability of scholarly publications. This means not just journal articles, but also books. We were one of the first major publishers to launch an open access option for monographs, back in 2012. We now publish open access books and chapters under our SpringerOpen and Palgrave Macmillan imprints, across a wide range of subjects in science, technology, and medicine (STM), and the humanities and social sciences (HSS), and recently published our 750th open access book.
Given the increasing attention being paid to open access for books, it is crucial that we understand book authors’ attitudes to ensure that any future initiatives are mindful of authors’ specific needs and priorities for their books. An increased understanding of book authors’ attitudes to open access is also vital if we are to effect the cultural and policy changes that will be necessary in order to increase take-up of open access for long-form publications.
While previous surveys have explored academics’ attitudes to open access in the context of journals, there has never been a survey dedicated to understanding the views of book authors on open access. In February and March 2019, Springer Nature therefore conducted a survey of book authors worldwide. Our aim was to offer a truly global view of book authors’ attitudes to open access, across all subjects.
So, what did we find?
The findings reflect the views of open access and non-open access book authors alike: from the 2,542 participants, 407 authors had previously published at least one open access book, 2,037 authors had not published an open access book, and 98 authors did not know whether they had published an open access book previously.
What are the implications?
We look forward to sharing and discussing our findings, and working with the community to increase take-up of open access for scholarly books.
1. Data from https://www.doabooks.org/. Retrieved May 15, 2019.