How OA books are supporting the SDGs: An interview with Dr Hugo Campos

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Thu Dec 9 2021

Author: Guest contributor

Open access (OA) advances research on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals - as OA easily connects researchers and their work to policy makers, business leaders, and professionals who can put discoveries into practice. Open access books are easy to find and share, allowing for authors to increase the real-world impact of their work. We invite you to take a closer look and read interviews with OA book authors that illustrate how publishing their books OA has extended their impact and reach. In this interview Dr Hugo Campos discusses his experience of publishing an OA book and the impact this has made. 

Could you share a short introduction about your OA book? What were you hoping to achieve with your book?

I have published two OA books with Springer thus far. Both have been very successful. The Potato Crop: Its Agricultural, Nutritional and Social Contribution to Humankind provides an updated view about multiple agronomic, nutritional, genetic improvements and other aspects of the potato, the third main crop for humankind in terms of human consumption. It benefitted from over 50 experts contributing chapters, and it was coedited with Oscar Ortiz. It has been downloaded in excess of 230,000 times since mid-2019. 

“The Innovation Revolution in Agriculture” provides a modern perspective of innovation, and though its focus is on agriculture, its contents can be applied to any other area. Unlike other books on the topic, it includes detailed accounts and chapters on business models and open innovation, and it nicely blends the technological, business and behavioural aspects of successful innovation. This book has been downloaded in excess of 75,000 times in just 10 months, since its publication in January 2021. 

Why did you choose to make your book available on an open access basis?

The main drivers of my professional career are achieving impact, improving the wellbeing and quality of life of farmers, and enabling others to be successful. In my view, when publishing books in Technology & Science, you can only achieve these goals through OA. It is not only about wide dissemination, but also about reaching people, scientists and students who cannot afford books in developing countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

How was the open access fee (book processing charge) funded?

In the case of “The Potato Crop”, funding was provided by my employer, the International Potato Center (CIP), since the OA fees were seen as a strategic investment.  The funding for “The Innovation Revolution” was different – since much of my work is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), I approached them with the proposal, and as they saw its value they kindly decided to cover the OA fees for my book.

Tell us about the relationship with your funder – do they have a strong open access policy? How did you start working with them?

I am very fortunate, as both BMGF and CIP are very strong supporters of publishing through OA means.

Why did you choose to publish this book with Springer?

Springer is a world leader publishing house, so its was an easy decision for me to engage with Springer regarding my OA books. I already had a previous wonderful publishing experience with Springer, as I had in the past published printed books with Springer.

How were you hoping that open access would help with achieving your goals?

This is not only about OA. It is also about the prestige that Springer brings to the table. Building on these two topics, I was hoping that my books would become available to many people in many different geographies, and through that achieve my professional and personal goals.

What benefits or impact have you seen from publishing this book open access? Do you think publishing OA helped?

Frankly, despite my high hopes, I would have never been able to forecast the sheer size of the impact and benefits. For sure I would have been delighted having a few thousand downloads of my books, but reaching over 300,000 downloads was never in my wildest expectations!. I come from a small country, Chile, which has only expanded my awareness about the sheer impact that OA provides authors and writers with.

How did you and your co-authors/editors promote the book?

We actively use social media. I particularly share news about our books through LinkedIn, Twitter and other professional channels. Word of mouth helps a lot as well.

Do you have any advice to others considering publishing their next book or chapter open access? 

Absolutely. OA is not just the future; it has arrived already. The virtuous circle of science and technology is only closed through when the dissemination of outcomes and results and reaching out to people takes place. I would strongly encourage all young scientists, and particularly young female ones and scientists from minorities, to use OA publishing as standard. In this regard, the editorial support Springer provides is second to none, so the publishing experience becomes a truly seamless one.

Would you publish open access again?

I am doing it already! My new OA Springer book, where I am the coeditor along with wonderful colleagues such as Graham Thiele, Michael Friedman, Vivian Polar and Jeff Bentley, should get published by beginning of 2022. In addition, I am already working on the next book with Springer, along with fantastic coeditors Jemimah Njuki, Hale Ann Tufan and Vivian Polar, and such book should see the light of the day during the first quarter of 2023.

Learn more about open access books and how they are supporting the SDGs

dh Hugo Campos portrait © Springer Nature
About Dr. Hugo Campos

Dr. Hugo Campos was born in Chile and raised in Chile and Argentina. He has lived and worked in many countries and currently serves as Director of Research at the International Potato Center, after having worked in large, multinational companies leading large plant breeding and R&D efforts. He holds a BA in Agronomy from the Universidad Austral de Chile, a Ph.D. from the John Innes Centre (UK), and a MBA from the Universidad del Desarrollo, Chile. He also holds a Professional Certificate in Innovation & Entrepreneurship from Stanford University, USA. He is a 10K and half-marathons runner.



Author: Guest contributor

Guest Contributors include Springer Nature staff and authors, industry experts, society partners, and many others. If you are interested in being a Guest Contributor, please contact us via email: