By Christina Emery, Marketing Manager, Open Access Books
To celebrate Academic Book Week 2020 (#AcademicBookWeek) *, whose theme focuses on academic books and the environment, read our series of author interviews and find out how open access has helped them achieve their goals.
Dr. Sven Teske is lead editor of the open access book Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals (SpringerOpen, 2019) which is available for free download. His book has reached over 116,000 chapter downloads within the first year.
We wanted to provide comprehensive global and regional practical pathways of how to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goals; what needs to be done technically and politically to implement those. We hoped the book would provide a new and inspiring perspective for the energy and climate policy debate in various countries and on the global level. On a personal level, I am conscious of the environmental damage my generation has done to the planet. My motivation was to assist the next generation to mitigate and to learn from our mistakes, so it is with great pride that the book carries a dedication to my son Travis.
We conducted this research in an effort to help mitigate climate change and we knew that reaching as large an audience as possible was important to meet that goal. My experience over the past years is that a paywall represents a significant hurdle to reaching a wide audience, so that’s why we chose open access.
We have been working on our energy decarbonization pathways and climate analysis with a large interdisciplinary team in Australia, the USA and Europe over more than a year which was funded to a large extent by the One Earth Project of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Once we decided in favour of the open access model, the Foundation expanded the grant accordingly.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation contacted me several years ago due to my previous body of work around energy scenarios and global climate mitigation strategies. We wanted to create a technical, practical pathway as to how the Paris Climate Agreement goals could be achieved. The Foundation has always supported open access, with a focus on high quality information. We really enjoyed working with OneEarth as they value scientific research and understand the importance of communicating those results widely.
By removing as many barriers to access as possible, it will increase the readership and reach of the book. It means not only can people access the book, but also share it far and wide through their networks and social media. To have a good concept is one thing. To get the information to people is something very different.
We have experienced an overwhelming wave of positive feedback from our readers. Many students and government officials from developing countries contacted us. Open access has certainly helped to broaden the audience and to reach out to people who would not necessarily buy a thick technical book.
I have been a scientist and engineer for more than 25 years, and for all of that time I have referred to numerous high-quality technical Springer published books. So given Springer’s reputation and reach, it was an easy choice. In this era of fake news and multiple online sources, it is now more important than ever to provide quality information from established reliable sources.
I have presented the findings of the book at global conferences in the USA, Costa Rica and Argentina as well as in various European countries, Korea and Australia. We used the traditional mainstream and social media outlets as well as webinars and podcasts which are becoming increasingly popular – also in the scientific community. Last but not least, we had the star power of Leonardo DiCaprio who kindly wrote the Foreword of the book. It was not one measure which brought success; it was the sum of all of them. It’s been a lot of work over a longer period of time from a dedicated team.
As a scientist I know it can be difficult sometimes to share your research outside of the usual academic readership, for fear of misinterpretation and/or criticism, but I would encourage more academics to publish open access. It increases both the scientific reach of the work and also your own academic impact factor. On a practical note, choose a subject which has high relevance for your target audience and think about a memorable title. Our book was about achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals. And that’s why we called it exactly that.
Yes, certainly. I am already playing with a few ideas.
About Dr Sven Teske
Take a look at our curated collection of environment-related open access books selected by our editors.
If you would like to make your research available as an open access book, Springer Nature offers options across disciplines for a variety of book types.
*Academic Book Week is a celebration of the diversity, variety and influence of academic books throughout history run by the Booksellers Association, returning for a fifth year from 9-13 March 2020. The theme for 2020 focuses on the environment, a topic which strongly aligns with Springer Nature's commitment to supporting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We aim to share the discoveries that address the world’s challenges of sustainable development, which is more easily achievable through publishing open research.