One of elements of open access is that, without any barriers to access, it has the potential to widen readership – to make what was once only accessible to those that could afford it – open to all. The UK monograph market sells on average about 200 – 300 per title, mainly to libraries, and there is a concern that the economics of the book market are restricting access to knowledge, especially in the humanities and social sciences. It is therefore extremely pleasing to see (check out the picture and link below) that the titles that we have made open access as part of the OAPEN-UK project are being downloaded worldwide. Whilst this is not concrete evidence that open access increases access (as we don’t have equivalent stats from before the titles we made OA to do the same mapping), it is none the less a positive story and one that we wanted to start the New Year with.
Click on the link to see the number of downloads by country: Downloads of the OAPEN-UK titles