Open access books have several advantages over traditional models and publishing in print alone:
- Free reading and sharing of research findings
- Increased usage, dissemination and impact
- Improved access to publicly funded research for libraries, academics and the general public
- Enhanced visibility of research for funding bodies, universities and research institutions
- Robust reporting, analytic and engagement measures
- Improved preservation of research publications
- Greater access to research for academics and students in the developing world
These advantages work in the interests of the author, researcher, reader, funding bodies and institutions, and the general public.
What is open access?
Open access refers to the free access to and generally free reuse (usually with some restrictions) of published research. It represents a shift in attitudes about the dissemination and utility of research and the cost of access to readers and scholars. Many funding bodies, including the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), now require that research findings published as articles must be fully open access. Books do not yet fall under this requirement but a recent consultation on the Research Excellence Framework in the UK has indicated an intention ‘to move towards an open-access requirement for monographs in the exercise that follows the next REF (expected in the mid-2020s)' (Consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework p. 36, December 2016).
Open access publication gives individuals and libraries throughout the world access to content free of charge. This subverts the often prohibitive cost of individual purchases and subscriptions, potentially allowing far greater global access to research – particularly for researchers in related fields or with limited resources; content is likewise available to researchers without an affiliation to a university or academic library. Open access also offers greater flexibility of format and length, allowing publishers to explore shorter, longer form or non-standard publications. In short, open access allows books to reach a larger audience, in different ways, and at no cost to readers.
For general information about open access at the School of Advanced Study, see the Open Access Policy.