Reading Diary: Open Access by Peter Suber

John Dupuis | Confessions of a Science Librarian | September 26, 2012

First, lets get the important stuff out of the way. Peter Suber’s book Open Access is an important book. You should read it, you should buy (or recommend) a copy for your library. You should buy a hundred boxes and give a copy to every faculty member at your institution.

And not just because it’s a blazingly wonderful book — although it mostly is — but because it’s a book that sets the stage for an intelligent, rational, fact-based discussion on the future of scholarly publishing. It does so in language familiar and accessible to faculty and administrators, particularly those beyond the sciences who might be unfamiliar with and skeptical the idea of open access. It makes OA seem reasonable and progressive, it makes it’s advocates seem calm and forward-thinking. It makes the wholesale transformation of scholarly publishing into something more open seem almost inevitable.

Based in part of various of his other writings about OA, Suber very systematically covers all the main aspects of the topic, from a definition all the way through motivations, varieties of OA, policies, scope, how OA and copyright interact, economics, casualties and what the future may hold for OA. Some of the topics that Suber covers that I found particularly important include how OA affects scholarly books, the importance of OA beyond just for human uses into areas such as text mining...