OAPEN-CH pilot project: taking stock after the second call

In the context of the second call of the OAPEN-CH pilot project, the SNSF is funding the publication of 52 new books.

In February 2016, the SNSF launched the second and last call for the OAPEN-CH pilot project. The aim of the project is to enable the SNSF and academic publishers to collect experiences surrounding the publication process for monographs in open access mode, as well as data on the usage, sales and costs of e-books and printed books. The pilot project facilitates a joint learning process for the SNSF, the participating publishing houses and other actors involved in open access publication.

Looking back on the second call

In response to the second call for OAPEN-CH, eleven Swiss and German publishing houses took part in the project. The SNSF is funding the publication of 52 books in this second round. As in the first call, half of the books (26) will be published in open access mode and made available on the publisher's website as well as in the OAPEN library, Google Books and an institutional repositories. These OA books will later need to be made accessible on the e-Helvetica platform of the Swiss National Library. All 52 books from the second round of the pilot project will also be available in printed form.

The second call is comparable with the first in terms of participation, costs and publication types. But an improved language balance means that French no longer dominates as it did in the first round.

All in all, the SNSF has approved a total amount of CHF 1.5 million for the books published in the OAPEN-CH project.

First encouraging figures

The first figures obtained from the OAPEN library show that the 27 OA books of the first call were downloaded 5365 times between October 2015 and May 2016. The downloads were effected in 84 countries and across 5 continents. Each of the 27 OA books was downloaded more than once, the most popular one approximately 580 times. During the same period, the publishing houses sold 1570 copies of the 27 publications in printed and electronic form. It is still too early to say whether sales figures for the printed books have fallen as a result of electronic publication.

The future

At the next stage of the OAPEN-CH project, sales data from the first round will be analysed in order to better estimate the impact of open access on book sales. In addition, a second workshop will be held in November 2016 for publishing houses that participated in the pilot project. The workshop will focus on the cost structure of open access publications and will provide an opportunity to present the interim report, including an analysis of download and sales data. The final report on the OAPEN-CH pilot project is expected at the end of 2017.