Daily Archives: March 3, 2007

OA Made Simple . . . and Not So Simple

Want a quick way to explain open access to your faculty and students? This article from Auntie Beeb can help. It’s short and to the point.

A tad more complex (and required reading for academic librarians) is the statement on open access from the Association of American University Presses. The idea of taking pricey for-profit publishers out of the loop that produces new knowledge (through often publicly-funded research) and makes it publicly available (through often publicly-funded library collections) is easier to grasp than when open access risks dismantling a disinterested and public effort to select, edit, design, market, and promote the fruits of scholarship – which is what university presses do. They add value, but they’re forced more and more to turn to the commercial publishing sector for business models.

Here’s a simple fact: university presses are not like Random House. Like libraries, they are not profit centers. They are cost centers. And they need support, because university presses are a necessary part of bringing scholarly work to the public, for the public. Faculty depend on them. Libraries need them. And so does the public.

So here’s our homework for today:

Any decision to switch from a market to a gift economy requires very careful thought and planning. The AAUP and its member presses welcome the opportunity to collaborate with university administrators, librarians, and faculty in designing new publishing models, mindful that it is important to protect what is most valuable about the existing system, which has served the scholarly community and the general public so well for over a century, while undertaking reforms to make the system work better for everyone in the future.

This is a group assignment. Each member of the group must contribute equally. It’s worth 100% of the grade.