OAPEN-NL Final Report

Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 11.13.37Last Tuesday, during Open Access Week, the final report of the OAPEN-NL project was presented at the seminar ‘Open Access for academic books in the Netherlands’.

As one of the co-authors of the report I focused on the qualitative aspects of the OAPEN-NL research, looking at user needs and expectations concerning OA monographs. You can find the slides of the talk I gave during the seminar underneath. But I would most of all like to draw your attention to the excellent work done by my colleagues Eelco Ferwerda and Ronald Snijder. Eelco Ferwerda provided a state-of-the-art introduction to the research results by analysing recent developments, experiments and publishing models for Open Access monographs (chapter 5 in the report). Ronald Snijder focused on the quantitative aspects of the research and explored the costs of monographs, as well as their usage, sales, and citation counts within the confines of the OAPEN-NL project. His presentation slides (also added underneath) give a good overview of his research, which you can find in the report as part of chapter 6 (OAPEN-NL: Research Outcomes).

I have also added the executive summary and recommendations, as well as the press release, underneath.

You can download the report here.

Photo by Annemiek van der Kuil - OAPEN seminar panel

Photo by Annemiek van der Kuil — OAPEN seminar panel

Resultaten OAPEN-NL Kwalitatief Gebruikers onderzoek from JannekeAdema
OAPEN-NL – Costs of monographs from Ronald Snijder
OAPEN-NL – Sales and scholarly impact from Ronald Snijder
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Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.45.24
Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.45.35
Screen Shot 2013-10-24 at 10.45.44

Publishing in Open Access increases usage and has no effect on book sales

Utrecht 23 Oct. 2013 – Open Access publishing has no negative effect on book sales, and increases online usage and discovery considerably. This is one of the conclusions of OAPEN-NL, a project exploring Open Access monograph publishing in the Netherlands. OAPEN-NL’s final report, published yesterday, gives recommendations for research funders, libraries, publishers and authors.


OAPEN-NL builds on the European OAPEN-project which was set up to gain experience with Open Access publishing of academic books. OAPEN-NL was supported by NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, and the Ministry of OCW via the National PRIMA-subsidy program. The project was conducted by OAPEN Foundation, in collaboration with NWO, SURF and nine academic publishers.

Sales, use and impact of Open Access books

In total 50 academic books were published in Open Access with subsidy from NWO. For every Open Access title, the publishers provided a similar title that was published in the conventional way for comparison. Research showed that publishing in Open Access had no effect whatever on the sale of books. The publisher’s fear that book sales would decline if publications would be available in Open Access, was unfounded. However, online usage of books in Open Access increased considerably as did online discovery of these books. Although online usage increased, this did not (yet) lead to an increase of citations in the research time frame.

The final report contains a large amount of recommendations to improve Open Access for monographs, aimed at all stakeholders in academic book publishing. OAPEN-NL’s research report was presented during OAPEN’s final seminar ‘Open Access for academic books in the Netherlands’.

Costs of Open Access books

OAPEN-NL also gathered data of all 50 books to get an insight in the costs related to publishing academic books. Based on this research, publishing a monograph in the Netherlands costs an average of € 12,000. Roughly half of these costs are for the Open Access edition. Remaining costs regard printing and disseminating the paper version. These results are important for the funding of Open Access monographs in the Netherlands.

Open Access publishing model

It has become increasingly difficult for researchers in the humanities and social sciences to publish monographs. Libraries worldwide struggle with diminishing budgets for acquiring monographs, which has led to a steady decline of book sales.  In the Open Access publishing model publishers receive a refund for making an Open Access version freely available online. In addition the book can still be sold in other editions. In the OAPEN-NL project NWO paid for the costs of the Open Access edition. By paying for Open Access publication charges research funders can improve the dissemination of research results.

More information

You can download the report

OAPEN-NL A project exploring Open Access monograph publishing in the Netherlands’

from the websites of OAPEN and SURF.

OAPEN-NL project documentation is available at All books can be found in OAPEN Library

For more information, please contact Eelco Ferwerda, director of the OAPEN Foundation


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