Published March 24, 2022 | Version v2
Dataset Open

Big in Japan, Zimbabwe or Brazil – global reach and national preferences for open access books


When we consider the main differences in publication practices between the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) and Science Technology and Mathematics (STM) there are two aspects that almost always get mentioned: the prominence of books and the role of local languages. Not surprisingly, the work of HSS researchers written in in other languages than English is more often linked to more regional concerns or a more regional community. Simply put, an author using Dutch will have a different audience in mind than an author writing in English.

The OAPEN Library contains thousands of open access monographs in dozens of languages and sees global usage. While books in English are in the majority – over 60% of the collection – this still leaves a large collection of publications in other languages. If a global audience can freely choose from this collection, will there be a preference for global subjects or will more regional concerns take preference? This explorative research will look at the most popular books from 100 countries and try to determine the level of regional interest.

We will examine the preference of global readers in a systematic manner. Based on the ten most downloaded books from 100 countries during a 12 month period , the focus on regional topics will be measured in two ways: the amount of books written in non-English languages, and the amount of English language books that mention the country.



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