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Open Access: Open Books & Monographs

Open Access Books and Monographs

We’re very familiar with open access journals and articles, but more recently we’ve seen a growing interest in, and move towards making books open access too. The arguments, and indeed benefits are similar to those for publicly funded scholarly papers. Scholarly monographs can have limited print runs, resulting in expensive individual copies that only academic libraries can afford. Removing the cost barrier (by producing an electronic copy) and the access barrier (by making that electronic copy freely available via the Internet) increases access, readership, and ultimately citation to the monograph.

Why Publish an Open Access Book

Why publish an open access book?

There are many benefits to publishing an open access book including:

  • OA books are immediately available to a global and diverse audience unlike ‘print only’ where print runs and sales are getting smaller. 
  • They are easily discoverable (via google and other discovery tools) and free to read and download by students, scholars, the general public, policy makers and public bodies. 
  • If more people can access an OA book, it will be more widely read and cited. A recent study by Springer Nature and COARD concluded that OA books:
    • Are downloaded, read and used more often than non-OA books
    • Receive 10 times more downloads than non-OA books on average
    • Are cited 2.4 times more than non-OA books on average
  • Comply with funder requirements for example:
    • Plan S consists of one aim and 10 principles, primarily...

      “With effect from 2021, all scholarly publications on the results from research funded by public or private grants provided by national, regional and international research councils and funding bodies, must be published in Open Access Journals, on Open Access Platforms, or made immediately available through Open Access Repositories without embargo.” 


OA Book Publishers
Many traditional commercial publishers (e.g. Springer) and university presses (Manchester University Press) offer an open access option to authors. Authors are required to pay a Book Processing Charge (BPC). This price can vary between publishes but can be approximately €6,000 – €12,00. Business models vary and are evolving. UCL Press for example was the UK’s first fully open access university press and there is a growing list of OA presses (so called ‘new university presses’) including DCU Press. To view a list of OA book publishers, go to the Directory of Open Access Books. 


Print on Demand
Recognising the importance of the physical, hardcopy monograph, it is important to note that in the case of fully OA book publishers, that a print on demand sale option is always available.


DCU Authors – DCU Press
Ireland’s first open access university press was established in DCU. To submit a book proposal to DCU Press click here. Book processing charges are waived for DCU authors.