Published 31 August 2022

This collection of case studies features a group of authors who explain in their own words how open access publication has benefited their work. The authors come from different disciplinary and geographical backgrounds and have published with a range of publishers; they explore different reasons why open access was a successful choice for them.

There are many good reasons to publish an open access book, but it is not yet the default publication route for most authors. Why, then, should you take the plunge and pursue open access for your work?

In this collection, a range of authors detail their own experiences publishing open access, and how it has resulted in a successful outcome for their book. Each author answered the same set of questions and each case study includes a description of the book and how it can be accessed. However, the meaning of ‘success’ was not defined, in order to give free reign to authors to comment on their own experiences of publishing open access, and to explore what ‘success’ in that context means to them.

The case studies brought together here reveal many different types of success that can be enabled by open access. These include: a greater number of readers than expected, leading to more citations and further invitations for collaboration; a more significant impact in practice among a non-academic or para-academic audience; swifter adoption for teaching; more widespread discussion about the book and its arguments than might otherwise have been expected; a rapid impact on a quickly-moving subject; fruitful leeway for experimentation in the form of the book; the ability to align the politics of the author’s arguments with the way those arguments are published; the increased availability of the book to particular groups or regions; heightened visibility afforded to a marginalised topic.

These different types of ‘success’ are perhaps surprising in their number and heterogeneity, going beyond the clear but characterless emphasis on ‘greater usage’ or ‘more equitable access’ to delve into what that means in practice, and the granular, meaningful change it can bring about.

We have suggested keywords below for each ‘success story’ in order to make the collection easier to browse as it grows. The full collection is gathered together by the OAPEN OA books toolkit. However, we have also included links to the stories at their respective publishers’ websites in the ‘Further reading’ section below.

We hope that these stories will inspire authors who haven’t yet published an open access book to do so, as well as showcasing some of the excellent open access books that are available to read. We also hope that this collection encourages publishers and their authors to submit further success stories. For help and guidance about how to do so, please contact Claire Redhead: claire.redhead@oaspa.org (OASPA).

Finally, we would like to thank the participating publishers and their authors for contributing to this collection of success stories.

Last edited on 31 August 2022, at 14:43 (+0000)