This report presents the first major comparative analysis of usage data for OA and non-OA scholarly books, and provides an informed view of how a book benefits from OA publication. It also highlights the challenges involved in measuring the impact of OA on scholarly books and suggests that there is much to do across the whole scholarly communications network in supporting authors and their funders.
Part 1 of the report presents the findings of the quantitative analysis. The average performance of OA books, as measured by usage, citations and online mentions, was compared to the average performance of non-OA titles.
Part 2 presents feedback from authors and funders who were interviewed about their experiences and perceptions of OA book publishing with Springer Nature. Interviews focused on: the impact of OA on books; OA book metrics that are of most relevance to authors and funders; and authors’ and funders’ expectations and experiences of, as well as motivations for, OA book publishing.
The report shows there is a tangible benefit to publishing academic books using immediate, or ‘gold’, open access (OA) models. The research found that such books are:
Downloadedseven times more: 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.
Cited 50% more: Citations are on average 50% higher for OA books than for non-OA books, over a four-year period.
Mentioned online ten times more: OA books receive an average of 10 times more online mentions than non-OA books, over a three-year period.