This is Part One of a two-part series on Open Access Readership Data. For Part Two, click here.
Open Access (OA) literature is freely available online to be read by anyone, anytime, and anywhere. It is a publishing model that offers an alternative for the traditional method of publishing scholarly output behind a paywall, where articles and books are inaccessible to everyone except a select few with a library subscription or the money to pay for exorbitant individual fees. Broadly speaking, there are two routes to achieving an Open Access publication: the first is Green OA (the author publishes behind a paywall and self-archives a digital copy in a free online repository); and the second is Gold OA (the author publishes an article or book immediately in OA, making it directly available to the public without any costs charged for reading). Whereas academic journals that offer Gold OA options have become widespread in the last decade, the transition to Open Access for academic books is lagging behind, despite the fact that monographs are still the leading publishing format in the Humanities and Social Sciences. In order to boost the publication of OA books, KU Leuven Libraries reserved a substantial part of the KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access, established in 2018, to help finance OA books published by Leuven University Press (LUP).