Some academic publishers offer authors of monographs an “open access” option. For a fee, the publisher will make a version of the text available online, free to anyone.
I recently published an open access book with OUP, using grant money to pay for the substantial open access fee. This isn’t something OUP has done much in philosophy, and it’s certainly an experiment for me, so I want to make up my mind about whether it’s a good use of funds.
Given that the book would be on Oxford Scholarship Online (OSO) anyway, the biggest advantage is for people whose universities don’t subscribe to OSO, e.g. in resource-poor settings. There’s also an advantage to having a portable pdf that you can read when you’re offline.
The cost approximates to four open access journal articles, so getting an eight-chapter monograph sounds like a reasonable value. On the other hand the money could instead pay for a conference or a couple of workshops. And it’s a route that’s only open if the author can find some research funds to pay the fee—which of course is more expensive if taking advantage of the reputational and editorial benefits of a major publisher like OUP.
So there are arguments either way and I’m trying to see what people in the profession think.
Readers, what do you think about the value of choosing and paying for open access publishing? And if you have ideas for/experience with obtaining funds for the express purpose of paying open access fees, please share them. Thanks.