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

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Questions about access to scholarship go back farther than recent debates over subscription prices, rights, and electronic archives suggest. The great libraries of the past — from the fabled collection at Alexandria to the early public libraries of nineteenth-century America — stood as arguments for increasing access. In The Access Principle, John Willinsky describes the latest chapter in this ongoing story — online open access publishing by scholarly journals — and makes a case for open access as a public good.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. In the digital age, that responsibility includes exploring new publishing technologies and economic models to improve access to scholarly work. Wide circulation adds value to published work; it is a significant aspect of its claim to be knowledge. The right to know and the right to be known are inextricably mixed. Open access, argues Willinsky, can benefit both a researcher-author working at the best-equipped lab at a leading research university and a teacher struggling to find resources in an impoverished high school.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." The debate over open access, writes Willinsky, raises crucial questions about the place of scholarly work in a larger world — and about the future of knowledge.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A well-researched and scholarly account of the issues surrounding the publication of research. The book is both balanced and fair in its discussion of the various models and responses to concerns about the accessibility of publicly funded research." Science

" The Access Principle is a brilliant book,meticulously researched and richly documented." Gene Glass and Sherman Dorn TC Record

Library Journal
Willinsky (literacy and technology, Univ. of British Columbia) offers an informed, well-rounded, and readable argument in favor of open access, perhaps the hot-button issue (sorry, Google) both for academic libraries and serials publishers in the digital age. His workmanlike effort defines the concept of open access in its many forms, from new Internet-based "author-pays" journals, such as those launched by the Public Library of Science, to government efforts and the advent of "self-archiving." Willinsky also does a commendable job of recapping the current serials crisis that has hamstrung library budgets. Where the author truly succeeds, however, is in illustrating the "access principle": the overarching thesis that access to knowledge benefits us all. Although he overreaches somewhat in positioning serials pricing as a human rights issue, his well-researched and soberly argued book convinces us that, despite a rocky transition and staunch resistance, the open access future may indeed be inevitable. Recommended for all academic libraries.-Andrew R. Albanese, Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

John Willinsky is Pacific Press Professor of Literacy and Technology at the University of British Columbia. He is the author of Empire of Words: The Reign of the OED and a developer of Open Journals Systems software.

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Table of Contents

1 Opening 1
2 Access 13
3 Copyright 39
4 Associations 55
5 Economics 69
6 Cooperative 81
7 Development 93
8 Public 111
9 Politics 127
10 Rights 143
11 Reading 155
12 Indexing 173
13 History 189
App. A Ten flavors of open access 211
App. B Scholarly association budgets 217
App. C Journal management economies 221
App. D An open access cooperative 227
App. E Indexing of the serial literature 233
App. F Metadata for journal publishing 241
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