In 2012, Springer Nature became one of the first open access book publishers, and its portfolio of OA titles has since seen more than 30 million chapter-downloads by readers from over 150 countries. Springer’s notable open access book list includes works from Gerard ‘t Hooft, winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize in Physics, and Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web.
Earlier this year, Springer Nature asked scholarly authors to share their views on the quality and impact of OA books. A white paper on “The future of open access books” details the survey findings.
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“We were really keen to hear the views of book authors in particular on open access, and we wanted to make sure that we were getting out to the widest possible range of authors,” explains white paper co-author Ros Pyne, Director, Open Access Books, for Springer Nature in London.
“We didn’t just want to hear from Springer Nature authors. We wanted to hear from anybody around the world who might have published a scholarly book. So we enlisted the support of many others in the community. That includes other publishers as well as community organizations like OAPEN. They helped to get the word out to their authors and their communities, and that’s what helped create such a great response. It really was a community effort,” she tells me.
“I personally believe that all scholarly research deserves to be open access or deserves to have the option to be open access. That includes scholarly books. Otherwise, some segments like the humanities and social sciences might be shut out from this great, new innovation in publishing.”
“There’s starting to be more interest from authors, but it’s still a relatively small proportion of most publishers’ portfolios,” Pyne says. “We wanted to understand how we could increase engagement, what authors’ concerns might be, and in general how we can make progress open access for books. That’s what we’re trying to do through the survey.”
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