Open Access to academic books creates larger, more diverse and more equitable readerships

Drawing on findings from one of the largest surveys of its kind to date, Mithu Lucraft demonstrates how Open Access to academic books has resulted in significantly larger and more diverse readerships for these books. As governments globally and in the UK reassess their commitments to OA monographs, she argues the findings make a compelling case for resolving the longstanding funding issues surrounding opening access to academic books.


One of the core tenets of making all research openly available is that it enables more people to benefit from the work. That means they can find the work, they can use, reuse, and build upon it. In looking for such evidence for books, we set out to better understand the geographic distribution of usage for scholarly monographs published immediately open access (OA); can we see that OA books are read more than non-OA titles, and where does that readership come from? Does opening access to books extend their reach and impact to those readers who would not otherwise have had access to scholarly monographs?

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