Check out this extraordinary Twitter thread by @michael_nielsen telling the story of his open monograph, “Neural Networks and Deep Learning.” Publishing his book online, free for all, got Nielsen millions of views, hundreds of thousands of reader-hours, and readership all over the world, including in places where a closed monograph would never have been accessible. He acknowledges benefiting from writing in a “hot” area, but even so, estimates that OA gave him a ~100X advantage in impact over closed publishing of the same content. He also saw pretty healthy citation rates, meaning the book is “legible” in the academic prestige economy on sites like Google Scholar.
We at the UVA Library are interested in exploring open publishing with UVA authors. Check out Aperio, our open publishing imprint, and keep an eye on the Library in coming months and years, as we hope to invest more and more in supporting new models of sharing the academic knowledge.