In September, Elea Giménez Toledo (CSIC) & Juan Felipe Córdoba Restrepo (ASEUC) presented the findings of the first research on the publication of open access books in Ibero-America, conducted over a two year period by numerous organisations.
Their survey covered most central and South American countries, from mexico to Argentina and Chile.
This is what they discovered:
- While the development of open access journals in Latin America has been remarkable, the same cannot be stated in the case of books.
- The development of open access books is strongly unbalanced and there are few university presses firmly supporting the model.
- Around 60% of the publishers participating in the study do publish in open access, although in different degrees and with different intensity.
- There is a lack of detailed knowledge of what OA involves as well as the opportunities and threats for the book publishing sector.
- Mistrust by the publishers towards the publication of their monographs or edited volumes in OA.
- Low coverage of Ibero-American university publishers by international directories such as DOAB, Open Edition Books or even Scielo Books due to the lack of strategy by publishers, the insufficient use of Creative Commons licenses and lack of information on their manuscript selection processes.
- Editors from university presses believe that subsidies by their universities or others will remain active and that sales will provide a source of income, but they are not confident on — or are not considering- more innovative funding models.
- BPCs do not seem particularly viable for Ibero-American countries in this moment. The editors place the payment of BPCs as the less effective path for the sustainability of the model and research funds are scarce and not enough for covering these charges.
- Collaboration among funding agencies, academic publishers and university libraries is required for addressing the big issue of funding of open access books.
- There is a lack of clear policies, publishers training and –importantly- authors training and there is a lack of collective action in order to make the publication of open access books in Spanish and Portuguese a powerful, visible and competitive reality.
- Although a majority of Spanish universities and a part of the Latin American ones have signed OA declarations , institutional policies or specific regulations are not sufficiently developed. A greater impulse is required for publishing open access books, foreseeing specific policies and resources. Designing a joint strategy of open access to knowledge in Ibero-American academic books is a necessary action for the strengthening of the academic book in Spanish and Portuguese.
The report also highlighted four “hopeful signs” for the future.
- Social commitment of publishers and institutions regarding OA
- Outstanding of some institutions in the publication of open access books (see the map)
- Development of Scielo Books
- Interest and commitment of publishers associations and CERLALC for boosting the academic book in Spanish and Portuguese (including open access publishing) and all the underlying issues: culture, values and relevant topics for the region