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As Libraries Struggle with Budget Limitations, Publishing Books in Open Access Can Offer Long-Term Solutions

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Chinese Heritage Centre, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, November 22, 2014 | © Courtesy of Mark 爱生活/Flickr.

Through university and publisher partnerships, it becomes increasingly possible to create infrastructures for the publication and dissemination of scientific knowledge in the form of books, while alleviating the short-term effects of spending cuts and providing long-term solutions for licensing and subscription costs.

A Blog Article by Pablo Markin.


On October 23, representatives of scientific publishers and organizations, such as Taylor & Francis and ORCID, have made presentations on the manner in which Open Access can increase the visibility of scientific research at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, as part of the worldwide Open Access Week. At this event, De Gruyter’s Emily Poznanski have focused on Open Access books and their impact on knowledge dissemination.

In particular, as scholarly publishers integrate Open Access into their models, universities that decide to make a transition to Open Access for monograph publishing can expect to rely not only on author-pays models, such as Gold Open Access, but also on freemium, crowdfunding, cross-subsidy and library consortia-funded options. In addition, large-scale institutions or developing-country authors can expect to receive significant discounts, such as in the framework of institutional partnership agreements or regionally targeted waivers.

This is one of the reasons for which the sector of Open Access book publishing has been experiencing explosive growth in recent years, such as at De Gruyter. Another reason for this development is the licensing terms of Open Access books that allow for unrestricted, cost-free access, sharing and re-use, such as in the framework of the Creative Commons BY 4.0 license, across multiple formats. According to SringerLink data, its Open Access book titles are yearly accessed by around 127 million readers from Europe (34%), Asia-Pacific (27%), North America (25%) and the rest of the world.

While the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) is the primary online resource for searching for Open Access books, the latter are also usually indexed by widely used and well-established platforms for accessing scientific content, such as Web of Science, Google Books or Scopus. According to a white paper by Springer Nature, publishing books in Open Access can be expected to increase by 50% their citation performance, by 10 times their online visibility and by 7 times their download numbers.

As academic institutions seek for solutions to their short-term budgeting pressures, such as a financial shortfall of 600,000 USD that will restrict the ability of the University of Iowa Libraries, United States, to pay for electronic journal and book subscriptions in the budget year 2019-2020, transitioning to Open Access can serve as a basis for holding library expenses in check in the long term.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Chinese Heritage Centre, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, November 22, 2014 | © Courtesy of Mark 爱生活/Flickr.

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