Hanken School of Economics granted substantial EU funding to facilitate free access to scientific books
“Free access often results in a huge increase of readers and even citations”, says associate professor Mikael Laakso.
The funding is part of the Horizon Europe CSA project, Palomera (Policy Alignment of Open access Monographs in the European Research Area). In addition to European universities, various umbrella organisations for libraries, research funders and publishers are involved in the two-year project.
“We will get an overall picture of the challenges and possibilities of publishing open science in book form. Individual scientific articles have been so highly prioritised when it comes to free access that longer formats, such as books, have fallen a bit behind”, says Laakso.
The purpose of the project is to create a joint, open knowledge database so that relevant actors have access to analyses and best practices of arrangements in various countries.
The question of free access to scientific books is not without problems, as the publishers earn money by having them behind a paywall. The authors would also lose out on royalties.
“The question is how to convince authors that it is more valuable to have books that can be read by everybody around the world than to receive any royalties. Another important issue is how prepared countries are to support this process, both in terms of science policy and financially. Right now, we do not have any good widely adopted financing models.”
Open book publishing could, among other things, result in smoother and better studies as access to free course literature would increase.
“The students could avoid paying several hundred euros for books, and lecturers could pick out relevant chapters from several books for a course”, Laakso notes.
In addition, Laakso thinks that the benefits of free access could apply to popular business literature which is also published by researchers at Hanken.
“Through openness you will reach a much wider circle of readers, and that is very good marketing to both the researchers and Hanken.”
Text: Jessica Gustafsson