Open Access (the book)
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- Suggested short URL for this page = http://bit.ly/oa-book
About the book
- Peter Suber, Open Access, MIT Press, June 2012.
- The paperback and several digital editions are now available.
- Among other places, the book is available from MIT Press, Amazon (paperback and Kindle editions), Barnes and Noble (paperback and Nook editions), Google Play (mobile ePub, PDF, Adobe eBook, and other formats), iTunes (formatted for iOS devices), and the sources listed here and here.
- MIT Press is already providing OA to the Table of Contents, Series Forward, Preface, and Chapter 1 ("What Is Open Access?"). The URLs for these OA sections changed in October 2012.
- Wm. Joseph Thomas, Review of Peter Suber, Open Access, Against the Grain, November 2012, p. 40. "Suber makes the point eloquently that all key players involved in vetting research — authors, editors, and peer reviewers — can consent to OA without losing revenue. Not only that, Suber makes the case that distributing research freely is a public gift with both direct and indirect benefits to all....If the readers of Suber's book will take action on providing access to knowledge as a 'public good,' we can indeed complete the 'peaceful revolution' that Suber envisions."
- T.M. Owen, Open Access by Peter Suber, Choice, February 2013, vol. 50, No. 06, p. 216. "Drawing extensively on his previous online writings, world-renowned open access (OA) expert Suber...presents a well-written, concise explanation of OA. The book appeals to those with all levels of OA knowledge, from novice to expert, but it is especially beneficial for those unfamiliar with the subject....In ten well-organized chapters, the author defines OA, examines the motivation behind OA, presents options for institutional and funders' policies, confronts copyright issues, explains the economics of OA, and predicts what the future might hold. The extensive notes and references that accompany each chapter enhance the value of this important resource. Open Access should be required reading for everyone involved in the publishing cycle — from authors to publishers, including librarians and general readers. Everyone who reads this volume will gain a better understanding and appreciation of OA....Summing Up: Essential...."
- Giridhar Madras, Open Access by Peter Suber, Current Science, February 10, 2013. "This book by Peter Suber builds on his excellent work and articles on open access (OA)....This book is clear in its recommendation....On 16 August 2012, Georgia State University distributed copies of Suber’s book to new faculty and administrators on campus....It is high time that Indian institutions follow the [George State] example."
- Padmanabhan Balaram, Open Access: Tearing Down Barriers, Current Science, February 25, 2013. "Open Access by Peter Suber...is an excellent and easily readable primer on the movement to make the results of scholarly work freely available. The author's preface is engaging, urging readers to plunge on: 'I want busy people to read this book. OA benefits literally everyone, for the same reason that research benefits literally everyone.' Suber is clear 'that the largest obstacle to OA is misunderstanding....' His remedy for misunderstanding ‘is a clear statement of the basics for busy people’. I believe the book will serve this purpose admirably....This is a book that must be read by those busy scientists who publish a lot, read a lot and have had little time to grasp the nuances of the open access movement. It must also be read (and read carefully) by strident advocates, who have little time to allay the fears of those unfamiliar with the issue."
- Brenda Chawner, Open Access, Online Information Review, Vol. 37, No. 1 (2013) pp. 150 - 151. "Suber has been writing about OA concepts and developments since 2001, making him one of the movement's most important champions. Now, in Open Access Suber provides a succinct, readable and well-reasoned discussion of OA concepts and practices....[T]his book is an excellent guide for anyone interested in learning more about open access publishing."
Updates and supplements
- I'll keep adding updates and supplements as I find time.
- Note that MIT Press already provides OA to the Preface.
Chapter 1: What is Open Access?
- Note that MIT Press already provides OA to Chapter 1.
- At p. 5, I say, "Even...authors [who don't sell their work and want to share it as widely as possible]...tend to transfer their copyrights to intermediaries —publishers— who want to sell their work. As a result, users may be hampered in their research by barriers erected to serve intermediaries rather than authors." Add this note.
- At p. 7, I introduce the Budapest Open Access Initiative and its definition of OA. Add this note.
- At p. 21, I say, "OA would benefit from the right kinds of copyright reforms...." Add these notes.
- For some reform recommendations that would re-balance copyright law, or correct some of its excesses, but without aiming to optimize copyright law for OA, see:
- Giancarlo F. Frosio et al., COMMUNIA policy recommendations, COMMUNIA, March 31, 2011.
Chapter 2: Motivation
- At p. 30, endnote 5 (note text at p. 182). Here I'm documenting the assertion that "cumulative price increases...forced the Harvard Library to undertake 'serious cancellation efforts' for budgetary reasons." In the current note, I cite two sources. Here are seven, including the original two, in chronological order.
- At pp. 30-32, I say, "Several sub-Saharan African university libraries subscribed to zero [subscription-based scholarly journals in 2008], offering their patrons access to no conventional journals except those donated by publishers." Add this note.
- At p. 37, I say, "Publishers argue that they add value to the submitted manuscripts, which is true. But other players in the game, such as authors, editors, and referees, add far more value than publishers." Add these notes.
- At p. 40, I say, "Laid on top of this natural monopoly are several layers of artificial monopoly." Add these notes.
- At p. 40, I say, "[L]arge commercial publishers charge higher prices and raise their prices faster than small, nonprofit [TA] publishers. Yet, the scholarly consensus is that quality, impact, and prestige are generally higher at the nonprofit society journals." Endnote 15 (note text at pp. 184-185) documents the claims about quality, impact, and prestige. Here I want to elaborate in a slightly different direction.
- At pp. 40-41, I describe the sense in which librarians are more attuned to the journal pricing crisis than faculty. Add this note.
- At p. 46, I quote from Thomas Jefferson's beautiful 1813 letter to Isaac McPherson. In endnote 24 (p. 187), however, I only cite a print edition of the letter. Here's an online edition as well. Appropriately, the relevant parts of the letter are reprinted in Philip Kurland and Ralph Lerner (eds.), The Founder's Constitution, University of Chicago, 1987, as annotations to the copyright clause in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8.
Chapter 3: Varieties
- At p. 50, I say, "Also like conventional journals, most [OA journals] are honest and some are scams." Add these notes.
- At p. 50, endnote 2 (note text at p. 187). Here I'm documenting the assertion that "The number of high-quality, high-impact OA journals has only grown" since the Thomson Scientific study in 2004.
- At p. 50, I say, "Like conventional publishers, there are a few large OA publishers and a long tail of small ones...." Add these notes.
- At p. 52-53: For clarity, read the terminology box on p. 53 before starting Section 3.1 on p. 52.
- At pp. 54-55, I say, "One of the early victories of the OA movement was to get a majority of toll-access publishers and journals to give blanket permission for author-initiated green OA. But this victory remains one of the best-kept secrets of scholarly publishing, and widespread ignorance of it is the single most harmful consequence of green OA's invisibility." Add this note.
- At p. 55, I refer to the "invisibility" of green OA. Add these notes on the general invisibility of green OA compared to gold OA (in chronological order).
- At p. 55, I say, "If there are no prestigious OA journals in your field today, you could wait (things are changing fast), you could help out (by submitting your best work), or you could move on to green." Add this note.
- At p. 57, I say, "[S]cholars who regularly read research in a...disciplinary repository, such as arXiv for physics or PubMed Central for medicine, readily grasp the rationale for depositing their work in OA repositories...." Add this note.
- At p. 58, I refer to the fear that self-archiving is time-consuming. But there is evidence to answer these fears. Add these notes.
- At p. 65, I conclude my argument that we should pursue green and gold OA simultaneously. Add these notes.
- At p. 69, I recommend CC-BY licenses for OA research, and mention some other organizations and initiatives that do so as well. Add this note.
- At pp. 72-73, I point out that most OA journals fail to offer libre OA. Add these notes.
- At p. 73, I discuss the tactical mistakes of demanding "libre or nothing" when libre may be unattainable, and settling for gratis OA when libre is attainable. Add this note.
Chapter 4: Policies
- At p. 78, I start discussing OA policies at universities and funding agencies. Add this note.
- At p. 78, I say that about one-quarter of peer-reviewed journals are OA. Add these notes.
- At p. 79, I say that there are no gold OA mandates. But several have been proposed.
- At p. 81, endnote 7 (note text at pp. 194). At the end of this note, I cite Frankel and Nestor's 2010 legal analysis showing that Harvard-style rights-retention policies successfully avoid copyright problems.
- At p. 84, line 13. Correction. "...journal are..." should be "...journals are...."
- At p. 86, endnote 12 (note text at pp. 195-196).
- At p. 89, endnote 16 (note text at pp. 196-197). Here I'm documenting the claim that "Alma Swan's empirical studies of researcher attitudes show that an overwhelming majority of researchers would 'willingly' comply with a mandatory OA policy from their funder or employer." Add a note.
- At pp. 94-95, I argue that policy-makers should watch for the moment when they could strengthen green gratis OA policies into green libre policies. Add this note.
Chapter 5: Scope
- At p. 97, I say that OA "is not limited to publicly-funded research, where the argument is almost universally accepted, but includes privately funded and unfunded research." Add these notes.
- At p. 105, endnote 4 (note text at pp. 199-200). Here I'm citing research showing that "[w]hile...fears [that making a thesis or dissertation OA will reduce the odds that a journal will publish an article length version] are sometimes justified, the evidence suggests that in most cases they are not." Add these notes.
- At pp. 114-15, I say, "We need access to medical or physical research before we can use it to tackle a cure for malaria or devise a more efficient solar panel." If I were writing the book today, I'd add a section on unmet demand for access by research-based business, industry, and manufacturing. This material doesn't belong in Section 5.5.1, on access for lay readers, because those who need access in these businesses are not lay readers but research professionals. And most of the rest of the book focuses on research professionals in the academic world, not research professionals in the non-academic world. But for now, I'll use this passage at pp. 114-115 as the hook for adding updates and supplements on research-based business, industry, and manufacturing. Add these notes.
- At p. 117, endnote 17 (note text at p. 204). Here I'm citing research showing demand among lay readers for access to cutting-edge medical research. Add these notes.
- At pp. 120-123 (and in notes 22-25 at pp. 205-206), I argue that we should want OA for our machines as much as we want OA for ourselves. Add this note.
Chapter 6: Copyright
- At p. 128, I argue that the OA policy at the NIH does not violate copyright. Add this note.
- At p. 128, line 22. Correction. "One of practical..." should be "One of the practical...."
Chapter 7: Economics
- At p. 133, I say, "Many publishers who oppose OA concede that OA is better for research and researchers than toll access." Add this note.
- At p. 133, endnote 2 (note text at pp. 207-208). Here I cite studies showing that the economic benefits of OA exceed the costs. Add these notes.
- At p. 134, endnote 3 (note text at 208), I cite a study showing that green and gold OA both have high benefit-cost ratios, and that the infrastructure for green OA "has largely already been built." For evidence that green OA costs less than gold OA, and that green OA policies are more cost-effective than gold OA policies, see the following.
- At pp. 134-136 I discuss the "widely varying estimates in the literature on what it costs a university to run an institutional repository." Also see Chapter 7, endnote 4 (note call at p. 136, note text at pp. 208-209). Add this note.
- At p. 136, I introduce the distinction between fee-based and no-fee OA journals. Add this note.
- At p. 139, I say, "Moreover, even within the minority of fee-based OA journals, only 12 percent of those authors end paying the fees out of pocket. Almost 90% of the time, the fees at the fee-based journals are waived or paid by sponsors on behalf of authors." Here I call note 8 (note text at p. 209-210). In that note I cite Suenje Dallmeier-Tiessen et al., Highlights from the SOAP project survey. What Scientists Think about Open Access Publishing, arXiv, January 29, 2011, Table 4. But I should have included these details from Table 4. Publication fees were paid by the author's funder 59%, by the author's institution 24%, and by the author out of pocket 12%. Also add these new notes.
- At p. 143, line 11. Correction. "...alone is has..." should be "...alone has...."
- At p. 143, I say, "There are reasons to think that OA journals cost less to produce than toll-access journals of the same quality...." At pp. 143-144, I spell out some of those reasons, and in note 16 (note call at p. 144, note text at p. 213), I cite several studies in support of this proposition. Add these notes.
- At p. 145, I mention a few benefits that OA brings even to conventional publishers: "increased readership, citations, submissions, and quality." Add these notes.
Chapter 8: Casualties
- At p. 151, endnote 2 (note text at p. 215). Correction. For "Alma Swan's interview with the APS and IOP in which 'both societies said they could not identify any losses of subscriptions' due to OA archiving", please replace http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/11006/, which is no longer valid, with http://cogprints.org/4406/. And add this note:
- At p. 152, endnote 4 (note text at pp. 215-216). Here I'm documenting the assertion that, "At Congressional hearings in 2008 and 2010, legislators asked publishers directly whether green OA was triggering cancellations. In both cases publishers pointed to decreased downloads but not to increased cancellations." Add these notes.
- At p. 154, I start a section entitled, "Most [conventional] publishers voluntarily permit green OA." Add this note.
- At p. 155, I say that green OA mandates typically apply only to the final version of the author's peer-reviewed manuscript, not to the published version. I also say that "[l]ibraries wanting to provide access to copyedited published editions will still have an incentive to subscribe." Add this note.
- At p. 157, I start a subsection entitled, "Some studies bear on the question of whether increased OA archiving [green OA] will increase journal cancellations." Add these notes.
- Also see the supplement at p. 152 above.
- At pp. 160-161, I say, "If publishers acknowledge that gold OA can be sustainable, and even profitable, and merely wish to avoid making lower margins than they make today, then their objection takes on a very different color. They're not at risk of insolvency, just reduced profits, and they're not asserting a need for self-protection, just an entitlement to current levels of profit. There's no reason for public funding agencies acting in the public interest, or private funders acting for charitable purposes, to compromise their missions in order to satisfy this sense of publisher entitlement." Add this note:
- At p. 161, I say, "Even if green OA does eventually threaten toll-access journal subscriptions, green OA policies are still justified." Add these notes.
Chapter 9: Future
- At p. 165, I say, "Time itself has reduced the panic-induced misunderstandings of OA." Add this note.
- At p. 167, I say, "Even if we acknowledge the need for cultural change in the transition to OA —far more critical than technological change— it's easy to underestimate the cultural barriers and the time required to work through them." Add this note.
Chapter 10: Self-Help
- At p. 170, I say, "[A]bout 30 percent of OA journals charge author-side fees and about half the articles published in OA journals appear in those fee-based journals." Add these notes.
- Add new entry: Students, 73, 174. See also Theses and dissertations.
- Add new entry: Terry, Sharon, 204-205
- Toll-access (or conventional) journals and publishers.
- Add new sub-entry: Right to refuse to publish any work for any reason, 126-128
- Add new entry: Translation, 27, 74