Two Siamese Kittens on a Bookshelf. n.d. Collection location: UPenn Ms. Coll. 30:  Volume 436, Item 119.

In the world of scholarly content and open access, trust matters. Librarians, educators, and students want to know that books are peer-reviewed by reputable publishers, free to users, and published under open access licenses like Creative Commons. Likewise, authors and publishers want their books to be recognized as high-quality and trustworthy.

The challenge

Trust isn’t so easy. Predatory publishing is a real, valid concern. Today, even legitimate publishing faces skepticism. In a 2019 Springer Nature survey of more than 2,500 academic book authors, 46% of non-open access book authors cited perceptions of quality (i.e., that open access books are perceived to be of lesser quality than non-open access books) as a barrier to publishing their scholarship open access. In other words, they don’t want to publish their work open access if readers won’t have faith in their scholarship’s rigor. Fast forward to 2024 and these same quality questions are now amplified by concerns about generative AI.

A solution

The Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB) Trusted Platform Network is a global initiative that brings together platforms like JSTOR that are committed to maintaining high standards in open access (OA) book publishing. The Trusted Platform Network creates a seamless process by checking and verifying that books meet the DOAB criteria and automatically listing them in DOAB, thereby enhancing their discoverability. 

JSTOR has registered more than 10,300 OA books that meet the DOAB criteria. Additional books will be added, including Path to Open titles as they transition to OA. Overall, the DOAB has records for nearly 80,000 open access books. Other organizations that have joined the Trusted Platform Network include: 

Making progress

Recently, the consulting group Delta Think did research on open access books and noted the number of OA books in the DOAB grew 17% between 2021 and 2022. More than 500 publishers have books in the DOAB. Our own data also reflects rapid growth in OA books. JSTOR has seen the number of OA books on its platform increase 50% over the last three years.  

But obstacles to publishing open access scholarly books remain. We are working to overcome many of them through community-based initiatives like Path to Open. No one organization can overcome barriers to OA publishing alone, which is why we’re excited to be working on these challenges collectively. Joining the DOAB Trusted Platform Network is just one way JSTOR is engaged in the effort. We are committed to developing solutions with others who care deeply about creating a sustainable open access ecosystem where scholarship can thrive.