by Lucy Barnes and Rupert Gatti
On 16 May 2019, Knowledge Unlatched announced the beta launch of a new hosting platform for Open Access books, the Open Research Library (ORL). Our books are a prominent part of this nascent project, both on the website and in the marketing associated with the launch, and this, together with Knowledge Unlatched’s claim that they are ‘working with publishers and libraries worldwide’, might give the impression that we are actively participating in and endorsing the platform. However this is not the case: we were not informed or consulted about this project at any stage; we were not told that our books would feature on this platform; and we do not support ORL. In fact we have grave concerns about its approach and business model, and those of Knowledge Unlatched (KU), which we will set out here.
Knowledge Unlatched has recently announced the launch of a new platform for Open Access (OA) books – KU Open Funding (KUOF) – designed to:
- Facilitate payments from libraries/universities to Open Access publishers
- Provide a list of, and information on, OA publishers receiving institutional funding that researchers can use to identify and select their publisher
Firstly, it is worth noting that this service is designed to address issues of importance for sustainable OA book publishing. If business models for Open Access book publishing involve any form of funding transfer from an institution (university/grant body etc.) to the publisher (and there are many different forms this may take), then there are potentially significant transaction costs for each institution (and publisher) in setting up and administering these payments (if there are U universities and P publishers – then there are U x P financial flows to set up and maintain). These costs can be significantly reduced if all the transactions flow through a central hub – or platform – allowing each university or press to maintain just a single connection with the platform, rather than lots of individual connections. This reduces the number of connections for each university or press to just one, and across the whole system the number of required connections falls from U x P to U + P. In a world with lots of universities and lots of publishers, the potential savings are significant. Many such collective payment services already exist within the library community – although none focused entirely on OA books (e.g. JISC Collections in the UK provides a similar, but non-exclusive service for UK libraries wishing to pay subscription and other fees to publishers – including library membership fees to OBP). Continue reading
The immaturity of open access monograph publishing compared with that of its siblings of journal and article publishing is well known. This is in spite of the evidence that “open access monograph publishing could indeed offer researchers new opportunities” (Collins et al., 2015), broaden, and deepen the impact of such scholarship. Continue reading
Due to the advent of the World Wide Web, there has been a paradigm shift in educational systems, in terms of its aspirations and its systems and sources. Classrooms are changing; in virtual classes, courses are conducted through Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), lectures are presented in online/audio-video form. Technology is offering us better-designed, higher quality products to access comprehensive pedagogy. Continue reading
Virginia Inés Simón https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0046
¿Por qué Acceso Abierto Accesible? Bueno, en principio… ¿Y por qué no?
Para el año 2017 habrán hecho ya 15 años desde la iniciativa de Budapest para el Acceso Abierto. En adelante se han gestionado diversas iniciativas, como la Declaración de Bethesda sobre publicación de acceso abierto en el año 2003, la Declaración de Berlín sobre acceso abierto y hasta la propia adhesión de IFLA a la declaración de Berlin, en el año 2011. Durante los más de diez años desde aquel 2002, se ha trabajado arduamente a nivel mundial en pos del acceso abierto como vía de gestión del conocimiento y derecho de acceso a la información para todos, en un mundo editorial y capitalmente restrictivos.
En este camino, hasta el momento se habla de liberar la ciencia y garantizar el acceso a la información para todos, pero no se define todos. Continue reading
Virginia Inés Simón https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0045
Why Accessible Open Access? Well, in principle … And why not?
By the year 2017 it will have been 15 years since the Budapest initiative for Open Access. Various initiatives have since been taken, such as the Bethesda Declaration on Open Access in 2003, the Berlin Declaration on Open Access and even IFLA’s adherence to the declaration Of Berlin, in 2011.
Since 2002, the world has worked hard for open access as a way of managing knowledge and the right of access to information for all, in an editorial world that is capably restrictive.
So far, we have discussed free access to information for all; but “all” has not been defined. Continue reading
I want to like e-books, I really do. I like the idea that I can access my book anywhere I am, from any device I happen to be using at the time. I own a Kindle and for books that are available on the Kindle, this is the case: I can use my phone, my tablet or my Kindle and the reading experience is pretty much the same. The problem is that academic books haven’t really caught up. There are too many different platforms and too many different access models. As a former e-resources librarian I had to grapple with this on many occasions. For our students this is a barrier, they don’t understand why they can’t download the e-book to their device and access it when they want or why if someone else is in a particular e-book they have to wait and I can kind of see where they are coming from. Continue reading
Chris Landry https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0041
Electronic monographs are not as straightforward as journals. As a librarian assisting students in their research, ebooks don’t come up as frequently and when they do it usually involves resolving issues that come with difficult user interfaces. Disparate platforms and constricting digital rights management (DRM) result in poor usability of scholarly ebooks. Nearly all journal articles come to us in neat and tidy pdf form but monographs have pdf, epub, and wide range of proprietary formats. This lack of standardization can complicate ebooks and it is for this reason that I feel open access is the ideal publishing model for scholarly ebooks. It solves both challenges. Continue reading
Yvonne Nobis https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0173.0040
Many librarians in the UK (and as a profession, librarians have a long standing tradition of Open Access advocacy) find it galling that the term ‘ Open Access’ is increasingly met with either a stifled yawn or a rant about the inequities of article processing charges, publisher profits and the bureaucratic hoops that academic staff are expected to jump through to meet funder mandates. This response is also true of some librarians. Continue reading
“I thought open access was about academic journals – why are you talking about books?” This is a common refrain that I hear when begin talking about the importance of open access books, one that I myself made not long ago, and I suspect this remains the case for many other librarians as well. This open access week, while my colleagues continue to market and educate our researchers, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on how we – the OA educators, or alternatively, “those librarians asking more of us!” – are learning about open access. Continue reading