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The academic book is one of the classic types of scientific literature. Although present in all areas of knowledge, its relevance in research communication is highlighted with more emphasis in the areas of social sciences, literature, and arts. In the other fields, communication is almost exclusively dominated by journal articles or conference and congress proceedings. This fact is evidenced by the thematic composition of the collections of books indexed and published by the SciELO Books program, by international bibliographic indexes and by the distribution of citations from SciELO journal articles.
Besides commercial publishing houses, the vast majority of universities and research and development institutes and a minority of scientific societies and professional associations in the SciELO Network countries operate publishers that, in addition to textbooks and popular science books, publish works that communicate research results. At the same time, the national systems of scientific output evaluation rely on books assessment systems or methodologies complementing those of journals. On a smaller scale than journals’, the publication of scholarly books is also an integral part of research infrastructures.
The online publication of academic books and their indexing radically increase their visibility in relation to the paper version, which contributes to increase their use and impact by citations. One of the positive consequences of online publishing and indexing is to enable the insertion and interoperability of academic books into the flow of scientific communication. Particularly, the SciELO Program has as one of its functions to maximize the interoperability between researches, which requires, besides the journals, the online availability of books meeting international standards.
The scope of this working group is to analyze the relevance of the academic book in research communication, the current state and trends of online publication and indexing of academic books in the SciELO Network countries and the challenges for adopting standards that maximize their visibility, use and impact.