Comparison of an Open Access University Press with Traditional Presses

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* Article: Rory McGreal and Nian-Shing Chen, AUPress: A Comparison of an Open Access University Press with Traditional Presses. Educational Technology & Society, 14 (3), 231–239.


URL = http://ifets.info/journals/14_3/19.pdf


Abstract

"This study is a comparison of AUPress with three other traditional (non-open access) Canadian university presses. The analysis is based on the rankings that are correlated with book sales on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca. Statistical methods include the sampling of the sales ranking of randomly selected books from each press. The results of one-way ANOVA analyses show that there is no significant difference in the ranking of printed books sold by AUPress in comparison with traditional university presses. However, AUPress, can demonstrate a significantly larger readership for its books as evidenced by the number of downloads of the open electronic versions."


Summary

"Results suggest that there is no significant difference in the Amazon rankings. This suggests that releasing academic books on open access does not lessen printed book sales online in comparison with traditional university presses using Amazon.com and Amazon.ca rankings. On the other hand, AUPress, because it is open access and publicly available at no cost, can boast of having a significantly larger readership for its books. The traditional university presses, because of their cost, print-only format, and other proprietary limitations are not readily available and therefore not accessible to many potential readers."

Commentary

George Siemens:

"In 2006 I published a book – Knowing Knowledge – (.pdf version for download here). I’ve never really tracked how many copies it has sold – a few thousand at best. I stopped tracking pdf downloads about two years ago as it was approaching 1 million (far, far less have actually read it, I’m sure). It has been translated into various languages (Spanish, Chinese, and a few others that I forget at the moment). All of this to say: open publishing is far more effective for disseminating ideas than traditional publishing. A recent publication from Rory McGreal and Nian-Shing Chen, A Comparison of an Open Access University Press with Traditional Presses (.pdf), resonates with my experience from an academic perspective: Quite simply: if you’re publishing, think beyond the financial impact of a book. Consider peripheral factors such as extending the reach of your work and non-monetary reward factors such as connecting with colleagues in emerging economies, speaking invitations, collaboration opportunities, etc. " (http://www.elearnspace.org/blog/2011/09/08/a-comparison-of-an-open-access-university-press-with-traditional-presses/)