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Publishing Your Academic Book as Open Access

Publishing your academic book as Open Access sounds like a daunting task, right? Well, don’t worry. In this guide we’re going to walk you through what academic Open Access book publishing is as well as the key elements involved in publishing your academic book as Open Access. 

What is Open Access book publishing? 

Open Access is an online movement that seeks to make research freely and immediately available to the reader.  

Open Access book publishing follows a similar principle to Open Access in scholarly journals but is applied to books. The two formats are very different, however.

Open Access journals have been around for more than two decades, but Open Access books are not quite as established yet. This is arguably because of the more complex and extensive nature of Open Access book publishing compared to journal publishing. Open Access book publishing involves making academic books freely available to the public without the traditional barriers of access, such as purchase costs or restrictive licensing agreements. 

This model aims to increase the accessibility and visibility of academic books, allowing a broader audience to benefit from this research. 

Why you should publish your academic book as Open Access 

Publishing your academic book as Open Access comes with several potential benefits, both for authors and the broader academic community. Although we have a more extensive breakdown of the reasons why you should publish your book as Open Access, here are some reasons why you might consider publishing your book as Open Access. 

High visibility  

Open Access books benefit from maximum visibility and broad dissemination. Anyone with an internet connection can read your book. No paywall means readers are not inhibited from accessing your research and insights.  

Here at MDPI Books, we submit our academic Open Access books to international indexing databases and archives such as DOAB and OAPEN. This ensures the accessibility and longevity of your research.   

Additionally, we provide worldwide distribution and targeted marketing for our books. Each publication comes with its unique identification number (ISBN) and Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) assigned at the book and chapter level, with metadata delivered to Crossref.  

Quality control and rapid publication 

We can safely dispel the myth that Open Access publishing results in a loss of quality. Open Access publishers use the same quality controls as non-Open Access publishers. All editorial processes (like pre-check, peer review, and revision) to production processes (layout and editing) are considered (a little more on these processes later).  

MDPI Books prioritises fast publication of your academic Open Access book. Depending on various factors, submission to publication for Monographs and Edited Books usually takes between 6–12 months. Traditional publishing takes on average 18 months, highlighting the faster production process for Open Access books.  

Importantly, our approach to fast publication is not in contradiction to our commitment to publish high-quality Open Access books. We pride ourselves on being able to prioritise both speed and quality equally during our book production process. 

Authors retain copyright 

When you publish your academic book as Open Access, you retain the copyright to your work. This is made possible by your Open Access book being published under a Creative Commons License. A Creative Commons License is a copyright law that gives the public a standardised way to use and reproduce your work. 

How to publish your academic book as Open Access 

Using our step-by-step guide, we’ll show you just how easy it is to publish your academic book as Open Access with MDPI Books.  

      1. Submit a proposal 

If you’re ready to make your academic Open Access book a reality, submit a proposal to MDPI Books today! Don’t forget to include details of your book, such as number of pages, figures and references, contents, authorship model, the intended readership, and what the book adds to the existing literature.  

After you submit your proposal a Commissioning Editor will review it and suggest if it needs further developing. Be aware that accepted proposals need to have secured funding to cover the book processing fees, which we shall now explain.  

      2. Book and chapter processing fees 

Book and chapter processing fees perhaps cause the most confusion when it comes to Open Access publishing. Although Open Access books are made freely available online, this model relies on funding to cover publication costs, including editorial and production work, due to limited income-generating book sales. 

Funding typically comes from the author’s university department or library, professional institution, industry sponsorship, charitable support, or a national research grant. At MDPI Books, Monograph authors are sent a non-binding price quote before the final agreement is drawn up and signed. Edited Book chapters are subject to a standard fee.  

If you are unsure or worried about how to find funding for your academic Open Access book, we’re here to help. We offer waivers and discounts in cases where authors do not have access to funding. 

     3. Manuscript writing, preparation and submission 

With your proposal approved, funding secured, and agreement signed, you can now focus on bringing your manuscript to life.  

The writing process is the most laborious process you’ll have to undertake on the road to publication, but it is also here where you can demonstrate your originality and expertise. Remember to consider how your manuscript may add to the existing literature and function to advance pre-existing knowledge. 

To have your academic Open Access book considered, manuscripts must be submitted in grammatically correct English for publication. Please see our guidelines for authors. If you require professional editing, MDPI offers an English editing service.  

Whether taking the form of a chapter in an Edited Book or a full Monograph, your manuscript must use the relevant template files provided. For convenience, MDPI Books provides you with all the template files in one place. 

Once ready, you can submit your manuscript! Authors can track progress and receive guidance from our Assistant Editors at each stage.  

     4. Editorial Process: Review 


After submission, manuscripts are checked for plagiarism, data falsification, reuse permissions for figures, inappropriate authorship credit, etc. You may need to revise at this stage. For edited books, an Academic Editor checks each chapter before peer review. 


Our Open Access books are reviewed by experts in the field to assess quality and scholarly relevance. Review processes may vary by academic field. We value transparency; if a traditional external peer review is not performed, it will be clearly stated on the book webpage and in the book.  


You will be asked to correct issues identified in pre-check and to address and respond to reviewers’ and Editors’ comments. The number of review and feedback rounds may vary depending on the reviewer’s recommendations.  

Publication Decision 

An Academic Editor or Consultant performs a final assessment based on the reviews and comments, your response, and the overall quality of your manuscript. For Monographs, the decision is down to the MDPI Books Editorial Office.  

     5. Editorial Process: Production 


Once a manuscript has been officially accepted for publication (after pre-check, review, and revision), the invoice is issued. The invoice is generally paid by the author, an institution or funder.  

Formatting, Language Editing and Graphic Design 

Our Editorial Office handles production, such as formatting, language editing and typesetting. Optional figure editing is also carried out at this stage.  

Our language editing is carried out by professional English editing staff and includes spelling, grammar and punctuation; rewording of ambiguous or overly complex phrases; correct usage of common technical terms; editing of Word or LaTeX files; and conformation to the MDPI House Style.  


You will be asked to review and respond to comments, review changes made in formatting and language editing, and make final modifications to your manuscript.  


You may add an index to your book, which will be sent to a professional indexer after final proofreading.  


And – done! Your book becomes available to download in one click and at no cost. When published, your academic Open Access book will be made accessible via one-click download. In addition, the manuscript may be reused and quoted provided that the original published version is cited. These conditions allow for maximum use and exposure of your work whilst ensuring that you receive proper credit. 

All our Open Access academic books also benefit from our comprehensive marketing services. We help authors to promote their work effectively with campaigns that include blogs, interviews, video abstracts and recorded book launches. Print copies can also be purchased via our Online Library and established channel partners. 

You can now rest easy knowing that your academic book is out there in the world making a real impact thanks to the benefits of Open Access. 


Now you know how to publish your academic book as Open Access, what are you waiting for? Submit your book proposal with MDPI Books today. 


Sam Rye
Post authorSam Rye