Open-access books are downloaded, cited, and mentioned more than non-OA books*

Open-access books are downloaded, cited, and mentioned more than non-OA books*

* This UTS ePRESS blog post republishes the text of a CC BY licensed blog post by Carrie Calder who is Business Development and Policy Director, Open Research at Springer Nature. The original blog post of the same title appeared first in the LSE Impact Blog at: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/2017/11/22/open-access-books-are-downloaded-cited-and-mentioned-more-than-non-oa-books/

Open-access journal articles have been found, to some extent, to be downloaded and cited more than non-OA articles. But could the same be true for books? Carrie Calder reports on recent research into how open access affects the usage of scholarly books, including the findings that OA books are, on average, downloaded seven times more, cited 50% more, and mentioned online ten times more. A number of accompanying interviews reveal that authors are choosing open access routes to publish their books not only because of wider dissemination and easier access but also for ethical reasons.

Carrie Calder writes:

From crowdfunding to book publishing charges (BPCs), funders, institutions, and publishers continue to experiment with different open access models for books. Limited funding in disciplines which traditionally use monographs as a form of scholarly communication means that while open access in journal publishing has been around since 2000, it’s only in the last five years that we’ve seen real progress in introducing open access for books. Likewise, open-access journals in the humanities and social sciences have seen limited progress in comparison to their STEM counterparts.

So are there any real benefits for authors and funders who take the leap to publish via open access models? Increased downloads and, to some extent, citations have been shown for open-access journal articles – could the same be true for monographs?

Springer Nature has published more than 400 open access books on SpringerLink, from monographs to shorter or mid-form research such as Palgrave Pivot and SpringerBriefs. This provides us with a solid and growing dataset from which to investigate this issue, the so-called “OA effect”.

Our report, “The OA effect: how does open access affect the usage of scholarly books?”, published last week, shows that open-access books are:

  • Downloaded seven times more – on average, there are just under 30,000 chapter downloads per OA book within the first year of publication, which is seven 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 ten times more online mentions than non-OA books, over a three-year period.

Of course, this also varies by discipline. For the humanities, social sciences and law, OA books are downloaded on average 6.7 times more than non-OA books. OA books in these disciplines receive fewer downloads than the average across all subject areas for OA books, but the same applies to non-OA books in these disciplines.

A sample of 216 Springer Nature OA books and 17,124 non-OA books was included in the download analysis (using SpringerLink data); and 184 OA books and 14,357 non-OA books in the citations and mentions analysis (using data from Bookmetrix). The report also contains qualitative analysis from authors and funders. We have released aggregated data for all analyses which is available in pdf and Excel formats from the report landing page (we are unable to release the full data for title-by-title analysis as the non-OA title data is commercially sensitive).

It’s worth noting that although the report finds a positive correlation between OA books and higher downloads, it acknowledges that causation cannot conclusively be proved. Open access is a relatively new business model for books, and while we have a good dataset, at this stage there is insufficient data to give a complete overview of an OA book’s life. We acknowledge that there are limitations to our initial study and these are discussed further in the report.

So why do authors choose to publish via open access? It seems that some authors are convinced of the OA effect, but many cite ethical concerns just as highly. Our authors cited “wider dissemination” as one of the most common reasons for choosing an OA model, along with “easy access to research” and “ethical motivations”.

Helen Louise Ackers, Chair in Global Social Justice at the University of Salford is one of the authors who is motivated by ethical reasons: “I work with issues that have to do with inequality, so for me publishing a book that wasn’t OA on the impact of international development would be quite unethical, because I know that people in Uganda would not be able to read the book. For me it was an absolutely critical component to the ethics of publishing”.

Likewise, a philosophy professor from Germany who wanted to remain anonymous told us: “my motivation was political; if it is publicly-funded research (which it is in my case) then I think the public has a right to access these results without any boundaries, not having to pay twice”.

Other motivations listed include subject matter (particularly for authors publishing research on international development in low-income countries); the possibility of purchasing a cheaper print edition of the book; expectations of increased citations and downloads; and a perception that OA publication would mean a faster publishing time.

But, while authors and funders expected OA books to have more visibility, and to reach a wider audience, they did not feel sufficiently informed about the actual impact of their work and felt they lacked tools to measure it (few had heard of Bookmetrix, for example).

For us as publishers, we see the rise of open research, across books and data as well as journal articles, as important to advancing discovery. But as books have a much longer lifespan than scientific articles, and because citations build up over time, it is not possible to say what the definitive trends are, such as when the overall citation and usage peaks occur during an OA book’s entire lifespan, until further research and analysis has been carried out. We encourage others to build upon the foundation of this report, especially by continuing to assess metrics and authors’ and funders’ perceptions of OA over a longer period.

The author would like to thank Ros Pyne, Mithu Lucraft, Agata Morka and Christina Emery for their authorship of the original report, “The OA effect: how does open access affect the usage of scholarly books?, available for download now.

This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Impact Blog, nor of the London School of Economics. Please review our comments policy if you have any concerns on posting a comment below.

About the author

Carrie Calder is Business Development and Policy Director, Open Research at Springer Nature.

For Carrie Calder’s original blog post, published by LSE Impact Blog, please go here.

UTS ePRESS

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Anatomy Quizbook – Web Version – is now available

MEDIA RELEASE

Date 01/11/2017
UTS ePress relaunches leading title with tekReader interactive platform

UTS ePRESS, a leader in open access scholarly publishing, has chosen tekReader, an Australian publishing innovation, as the web based eReader platform for republishing its successful Anatomy Quizbook.

The Anatomy Quizbook is an interactive learning text that helps students, tutors, and anyone interested in anatomy learn, test, and improve their knowledge of the human body. Readers are presented with carefully selected questions and diagrams addressing core learning in clinically-relevant anatomy. This selective rather than exhaustive approach will especially suit time-poor scholars. Regular self-testing will also ensure a robust and strategic understanding of the subject matter.
Originally published in PDF, UTS ePRESS have now relaunched the Anatomy QuizBook in tekReader an interactive publication format that combines the power of the web with the user experience of a contained publication that intuitively reflows to optimise reading on any device. You can now access the Anatomy Quizbook for free on tekReader @ https://utsepress.tekreader.com

 
Belinda Tiffen, Director of UTS ePRESS, said;
“The Anatomy Quizbook has been one of our most successful published texts to date. We wanted to make the Quizbook an engaging learning experience through interactive design elements, which we could not fully achieve in PDF. By republishing it in tekReader we can now offer our readers a web based publication with an immersive, interactive, reading experience that intuitively reflows for an optimal reading experience on any device, mobile or PC. This any-device capability is an important aspect of our mission as an open access publisher to make UTS ePRESS scholarly publications widely accessible. tekReader’s browser based eReader also means we’ll be able to use analytics to track audience behaviours which will better inform future product development”.

Don Stolee founder and CEO of eGloo Technologies and tekReader’s creator said;
“We’re delighted to be partnering with such a leading University and open access publisher. tekReader’s innovation is a perfect fit for UTS and the ePRESS as part of its aim to advance scholarly communication through new modes of technology. tekReader is not just an eReader or publishing system but, being API first, content and multimedia published through tekReader can be easily integrated and merged across different platforms including the University’s learning management system.”

About UTS ePRESS
UTS ePRESS is the digital, open access scholarly publishing arm of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Focusing on open access digital formats, UTS ePRESS publishes scholarly journals, books and conference proceedings and is the leading scholarly publisher of peer reviewed open access journals in Australasia. UTS ePRESS also publishes many high quality scholarly texts across a wide range of academic disciplines, with particular strengths in the humanities, arts and social sciences. http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/

About tekReader
tekReader is an HTML5 eReader that renders and displays data-rich documents. Users can access, view and interact with documents using modern web browsers found on desktop computers and mobile devices. Responsive and adaptive web design provides an optimal user experience as the UI, content and functionality responds and adapts to any screen size. A true interactive document format, tekReader can be installed independently or combined with tekAuthor and tekPublish to create an end-to-end publishing solution. www.tekReader.com

For further information contact
utsepress@uts.edu.au

tekReader Anatomy Quiz

UTS ePRESS announces partnership with Kudos

UTS ePRESS is excited and proud to announce its new partnership with award winning scholarly communication developer Kudos. Please see the Kudos video below for more information on their service:

 

With Kudos UTS ePRESS authors will be able to explain, enrich, share and measure the impact of their sharing with the Kudos dashboard for every one of their publications.

As Dr Belinda Tiffen, Director of Library resources at UTS, writes:

“As a growing open access publisher, a priority for UTS ePRESS is to extend the reach, impact and accessibility of the content we publish. Kudos shares our values of promoting high quality and ethical publishing and helps us broaden the support we can provide to UTS ePRESS authors, as well as giving us insight into the effectiveness of communications that UTS researchers undertake around works they publish elsewhere.”

For more information go to the UTS ePRESS site and go to “Contact”.

Reinventing UTS ePRESS

This set of CC BY slides shows the “Reinventing UTS ePRESS” presentation given by University of Technology Sydney (Library’s) Dr Belinda Tiffen and Scott Abbott at the Library Publishing Forum held in Portland, Oregon in March, 2015.

For accompanying speaker notes please contact UTS ePRESS at: utsepress@uts.edu.au