Open Access (OA) is entering steadily into the Humanities and Social Sciences, and is now considered as an alternative to the traditional way of publishing monographs and scientific books. It is also worth noting that the submission of manuscripts of monographs to OA publishers is no different to that of ‘normal’, ‘traditional’ publishing house.
Choosing the right OA publisher
With the ever increasing number of OA publishers it is important to choose the right one. It does not make it any easier that the OA model, while fairly popular when it comes to journals, is still in its experimental stage when it comes to books.
While looking for your needle in the haystack of OA publishers, make your first step by going to the Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) and browse by publisher to find information on Peer review procedures or License policies. These are two important things that all OA oriented authors should keep in mind and that should be mentioned by the publishers taking part in DOAB.
Although the DOAB lists about 3370 OA books from about 125 publishers around the world, it is not complete.
Peer review and promotion
The first thing to ask a potential publisher would be: do you do peer review? If the answer oscillates somewhere between no, sometimes, and if we have to, then it is strongly recommended to run as fast as you can, as this is one of “the ugly”. Peer review process should be standard, even more so in OA publications, and all good OA publishers play by this rule.
One of the reasons you chose to publish in OA is probably the fact that this way your text has a chance to reach a wider audience. As much as this is true, your book, just because it is sitting as a PDF file on your publisher’s website, will not automatically attract a mind-blowingly large readership. It needs help from your publisher’s marketing department. So you should also pay attention to the forms of promotion offered by the publisher. Promoting books is significantly different from the promotion of scientific articles.