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Open access
Suber P., The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2012. 230 pp. Type: Book (978-0-262517-63-8)
Date Reviewed: Oct 29 2013

Appropriately, this book on open access (OA) is itself becoming OA 12 months after the publication date. With almost 250 pages and the approximate dimensions of a DVD case, the book is small enough to carry on a trip. Anyone in the computing, publishing, archiving, and library worlds will find it informative, interesting, and nontechnical.

In ten chapters, the reader is guided through OA topics: “What Is Open Access,” “Motivation,” “Varieties,” “Policies,” “Scope,” “Copyright,” “Economics,” “Casualties,” “Future,” and “Self-Help.” The chapter on self-help discusses how to make your OA gold or green. The book concludes with a glossary, notes, additional resources, and a comprehensive index.

Gold OA is provided by journals, green OA is delivered by repositories, toll access requires a payment, gratis OA removes price barriers, and libre OA removes permission barriers. The author includes large-print black background pages with ideas of special interest, such as the problem of access to science journals in the developing world. The black pages are easily visible on the edges, so readers can very quickly skip from black page to black page.

The following ideas caught my eye. A common error is to stop at gratis when libre is possible. Fee charges are often misunderstood and mislabeled. OA for machines allows rapid searches of literature that might be humanly impossible. Particle physics has OA archiving approaching 100 percent. Graduate students should provide green OA to their theses and dissertations.

Suber believes that misunderstanding is the biggest barrier to OA, something he hopes to remedy in this book. He does not move into subcategories such as open data, open education, and so on. This is a compact presentation of the interesting and important topic of OA.

More reviews about this item: Amazon, Goodreads

Reviewer:  Brad Reid Review #: CR141687 (1401-0049)
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