The OA effect: How does open access affect the usage of scholarly books?

Christina Emery, Mithu Lucraft, Agata Morka, Ros Pyne, Springer Nature, Nov 07, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"Increased visibility and wide dissemination of research are the most common motivations behind both publishing and funding OA books," according to this report, and "both authors and funders also cite ethical motivations, stressing the fact that publicly-funded research should be available to everyone and calling for equal access to knowledge." The research in this Springer Nature report bears that out. "On average, there are just under 30,000 chapter downloads per OA book within the first year of publication, which is 7 times more than for the average non-OA book." So, yes, open publication means more access than closed. But we shouldn't be lulled into thinking it's a numbers thing. I don't count the downloads of my books (I can tell you how many were downloaded so far this month, and that's about it). I do check to make sure that people can access my books without constraint. It's the quality of access, not the quantity, that counts.


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