The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship

John Willinsky’s book, The Access Principle: The Case for Open Access to Research and Scholarship, will be released in December by MIT Press. The blurb indicates: "A commitment to scholarly work, writes Willinsky, carries with it a responsibility to circulate that work as widely as possible: this is the access principle."

Interesting. OA as a "responsibility," perhaps even a moral obligation. Often OA advocates discuss the benefits to authors of widespread digital exposure through OA, which boils down to enlighted self interest. And, of course, there is mandatory discussion of the need for access for the disenfranchised (not just the developing world, but anyone that can’t afford toll fees) in order to promote scholarship and other activities. (Let’s face it, who isn’t disenfranchised these days?) But, "responsibility," . . . hmmm, that heats up the dialog.

In any case, here’s a bit more: "Willinsky describes different types of access—the New England Journal of Medicine, for example, grants open access to issues six months after initial publication, and First Monday forgoes a print edition and makes its contents immediately accessible at no cost. He discusses the contradictions of copyright law, the reading of research, and the economic viability of open access. He also considers broader themes of public access to knowledge, human rights issues, lessons from publishing history, and ‘epistemological vanities.’"

By the way, Willinsky is a key figure in the Public Knowledge Project, which provides cool open source software such as Open Journal Systems and Open Conference Systems. (Thanks to Adrian Ho for the tip on this book.)

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