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Open Access books: Tony Crook's new book is published OA

This week is Open Access week, and the theme is set to look at the foundational work that is needed to underpin a transition to a world where research results are free and open by default. Recent moves by the open access publisher Knowledge Unlatched have shone a spot light on the need for better cooperation in achieving an open access default for books. Where KU has gone in the direction of commercial proprietary infrastructure, others such as Open Book Publishers have called for more open and transparent cooperation that isn't tied to proprietary commercially driven software. Open Book Publisher's reaction to Knowledge Unlatched is here.

"Academics need to know that there are benefits too, and that the expense of publishing OA is worth it in the long run"

While the debate about the nature of the infrastructure rumbles on, presently we must keep our minds focussed on the individual examples of open access books. Indeed the appetite for open access books is unlikely to be increased by the presence of seamless infrastructure alone. Academics need to know that there are benefits too, and that the expense of publishing OA is worth it in the long run. So, in this post we will look at two books. The first is Tony Crook's new edited collection recently published by De Gruyter. This is a great example of the way in which traditional publishers are also playing their part in the transition to open access, and the way in which open access licences allow for greater visibility and distribution. The second book we'll look at is one we've written about previously, but we'd like to highlight again as it shows the long term benefits of open access, even for older publications that are now out of print.

Pacific Climate Cultures: Living Climate Change in Oceania, edited by Tony Crook & Peter Rudiak-Gould

In 2012 the long established De Gruyter publishing house moved into the open access publishing field through the acquisition of Versita which at the time published 230 journals on an open access basis. The creation of De Gruyter Open resulted in a current portfolio of 435 journals and 100 books. DGO was launched in 2013 with an initial offer to authors of a publishing contract for monographs and edited volumes free of the usual costs and charges - and offering a fully peer-reviewed and supported editorial process and high quality reproduction of images and figures. Dr Tony Crook (Department of Social Anthropology & Centre for Pacific Studies) responded to this call which has seen the recent publication of Pacific Climate Cultures: Living Climate Change in Oceania  (2018) under the editorial guidance of Dr Izabella Penier, Managing Editor Culture. De Gruyter also sent us a message about this publication that they wanted to relay to the St Andrews academic community: "Working on this book has been a good experience, and I do hope we will be able to work together on other book projects. If any colleagues at St Andrews were interested in publishing with us in OA, we would be happy to provide them with assistance in finding funding as well as offer them considerable waivers, especially if we could work on a few projects."

Book outline: Low-lying Pacific island nations are experiencing the frontline of sea-level rises and climate change and are responding creatively and making-sense in their own vernacular terms. Pacific Climate Cultures aims to bring Oceanic philosophies to the frontline of social science theorization. It explores the home-grown ways that 'climate change' becomes absorbed into the combined effects of globalization and into a living nexus of relations amongst human and non-humans, spirits and elements. Contributors to this edited volume explore diverse examples of living climate change—from floods and cyclones, through song and navigation, to new forms of art, community initiatives and cultural appropriations—and demonstrate their international relevance in understanding climate change. A Prelude by His Highness Tui Atua Efi and Afterword by Anne Salmond frame an Introduction by Tony Crook & Peter Rudiak-Gould and nine chapters by contributors including John Connell, Elfriede Hermann & Wolfgang Kempf and Cecilie Rubow.

The book is now available to download for free from the publisher's website, and also the Repository - http://hdl.handle.net/10023/1620.

Module theory: an approach to linear algebra, by Thomas Blyth

We've written about Professor Thomas Blyth's book previously after we completed work to make it openly available on our repository. As a quick recap, Module theory: an approach to linear algebra was initially published in 1977, with a second edition published in 1990. A few years ago Oxford University Press decided to no longer publish the book, and all the publishing rights reverted back to the author. Professor Blyth would often receive requests for the book, so he took the decision to convert it to pdf and to make it openly and freely available online. That's where we came in. We offered to host the book on our repository, so it would benefit from the enhanced indexing and web presence. To that end, in this post we also wanted to highlight the excellent download statistics this book has received since it was uploaded in February of this year.


From looking at statistics gathered by IRUS-UK, Module Theory was downloaded over 700 times in the past six months from our repository. It is also in the top ten most downloaded items for the past six months, and is the only book in the top 20! In August Module Theory was the second most popular item in the repository, having been downloaded almost 200 times, with particular interest coming from India and the United States.

Professor Blyth's book really shows the value in making books openly and freely available online, and indeed it shows the enduring appetite for monographs in general as well.

Lost Books: Reconstructing the Print World of Pre-Industrial Europe, edited by Flavia Bruni and Andrew Pettegree

We would also like to highlight another book which is now available Open Access - Lost Books: Reconstructing the Print World of Pre-Industrial Europe, edited by Flavia Bruni and Andrew Pettegree from the School of History. The book is published by Brill under a creative commons CC BY-NC-ND licence and is available to download from the publisher's site.

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