In our latest blog, we explore the many benefits of open access books, as outlined by some of our published authors.
Written by David Lamb, Associate Marketing Manager, Outreach and Open Research
It’s clear that open access books have revolutionised the way academics share their research; from the sciences to the humanities, this publishing option has grown in popularity year on year, owing to its wider reach and ease of accessibility. As an early career researcher it’s important to choose the right format for your research outputs. You may not have considered it yet but publishing your work as an open access book could unlock the next stage of your career.
When Professor Nancy Gleason published Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with Palgrave Macmillan in 2018, the book garnered more than 130,000 chapter downloads in less than a year, and is showing no signs of slowing down with 272,000 downloads to date. In an interview with Palgrave Macmillan on the one-year anniversary of the book’s publication, Prof. Gleason stated that “the reach is much more than I could have hoped for had the book not been open access. It has led to many exciting speaking engagements, conference invitations, and learning opportunities.” Prof. Gleason has since published a second open access book with Springer Nature.
Similarly, when Dr. Chika Ezeanya-Esiobu published her first book Indigenous Knowledge and Education in Africa with SpringerOpen in 2019, the book received over 6,000 chapter downloads in its first four months – and it has now reached over 42,000. Dr. Ezeanya-Esiobu said in an interview: “I have also received several requests to present the contents of the book across various universities and other platforms all over the world.”
At Springer Nature, each of our open access books and chapters are freely accessible on our platform SpringerLink, which received 127 million unique visitors, making 285 million visits, in 2016 alone. In addition, our open access books are also listed in the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and available from the OAPEN Library, Google Books, Apple Books, Amazon and funders’ own platforms. Where appropriate, our OA books are also indexed in Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed’s NCBI Bookshelf, as well as more than 200 more abstracting and indexing services.
This reach, coupled with the open access model which is free at the point of access, means those who might not typically be able to access academic monographs are. Dr. Sven Teske, author of Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals said in an interview: “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 [it].”
For Professor Dave Reay, author of Climate-Smart Food, accessibility was particularly important, as he wanted farmers and academics alike to be able to access his research. Prof. Reay said: “Being open access means anyone can read it, from a high school student researching an essay, through popular science readers and specialist academics, through to farmers, growers and fisherfolk themselves.”
Not only does this model drastically reduce global and economic barriers to access, but it also means that your book is more likely to be downloaded and cited, which can have a powerful knock-on effect for your prospects as an early career researcher.
According to research conducted by Springer Nature, open access books receive on average 50% more citations, 7x more downloads, and 10x as many online mentions as their non-OA counterparts. Consequently, our open access books have a combined total of over 100 million chapter downloads since we started tracking them in 2013. With this level of exposure, it’s easy to see why many early career researchers are considering making their next book open access. According to research carried out by Springer Nature 66% of all junior researchers believe all future scholarly monographs should be made openly accessible.
We publish many different book types, including: monographs, contributed volumes, proceedings, protocols, handbooks, major reference works, textbooks and short-form books (SpringerBriefs and Palgrave Pivots). We also offer you the option to publish individual chapters open access within otherwise non-open access contributed volumes, protocols, handbooks and proceedings.
Additionally, Springer Nature has a dedicated funding support service to help you discover and secure funding to cover the book processing charge (BPC)* associated with publishing an open access book. This service is free to use and could help you locate a source of funding, offer personalised support in writing your application, and advise on funder and institutional policy.
If you want to find out more about the publishing process for open access books or if you are ready to submit a proposal, please watch our short videos to learn more about the next steps.
*The BPC covers all the costs of commissioning, copyediting and proofreading, production, dissemination and promotion of our authors’ work, including online hosting and indexing.
About the author
David Lamb is the Associate Marketing Manager in the Outreach and Open Research group at Springer Nature. In this role he advocates for the advancement of open access books and journals. He is a frequent contributor to the Springer Nature Research Data Community.