Book: Open – the philosophy and practices that are revolutionizing education and science

Citation: Jhangiani, R.S., & Biswas-Diener, R., eds. (2017). Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science. London: Ubiquity Press.

This collection of essays on open education, open science, and open access, charts the ways the three movements overlap and the impacts they have had—or can have—on education, science, and scholarship.

The collection is split into three sections: Introductory essays describing the history, philosophy, and potential impact of “Open” movements; an “Open Practices” section which contains practical advice and best practices; and a series of case studies.

The editors of the book describe it as “expert commentary on the history, current trends, and future of open education and science (6), and the contents do not disappoint. The range of topics covered in the various chapters, and their focus on practicalities rather than theory, make this a useful text for anyone with an interest in OA or its related “Open” disciplines.

Of particular interest is an essay by F. Dastur, “How to Open an Academic Department” (163-178), which sets forth three guidelines in helping to overcome resistance to change around Open Access and Open Education in your own academic department. Other case studies and “Open Practices” essays will also be relevant and useful to anyone looking to establish a movement toward more open education at their own institution.

Book: Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Communication – Implementation

Citation: Smith, K.L., & Dickson, K.A. (2017). Open Access and the Future of Scholarly Communication: Implementation. Creating the 21st-Century Academic Library. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

This book of collected essays considers OA from a very specific viewpoint: Academic libraries that want or need to implement OA initiatives at their institution.

Although that’s a relatively narrow focus, a number of very different aspects of OA are considered, among them: copyright and authors’ rights, OA pay-to-publish models, electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs), open data and metadata, and OA publishing of undergraduate research.

A number of the included essays fall into the case study structure fairly typical of academic library research, with insights that–while fine–may be difficult to replicate at other institutions or in other situations. A few are also fairly basic reviews that will be helpful to librarians new to scholarly communication, but not so useful elsewhere.

On the other hand, there are a number of pieces like Zeller and Stenberg’s “Faculty Require Online Distribution of Student Work: Enter the Librarian”, which take a more broadly practical approach to the topic. Zeller and Steinberg’s article, for example, includes a series of appendices librarians can use as checklists when making undergraduate work available under an OA license.

Despite some of its essays being average in execution, the book as a whole is a useful read for the practically-minded librarian with an interest in scholarly communication.

Book: Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access

Citation: Bailey, C. Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access: A Bibliography. (2010). Retrieved from

Bailey’s Transforming Scholarly Publishing through Open Access was published as a web-based bibliographic monograph in 2010. The work includes a very brief overview defining Open Access, and then presents citations split into a number of broad categories:

  1. General Works
  2. Copyright Arrangements for Self Archiving and Use
  3. Open Access Journals
  4. E-prints
  5. Disciplinary Archives
  6. Institutional Repositories
  7. Open Archives Initiative and OAI-PMH
  8. Library Issues
  9. Conventional Publisher Perspectives
  10. Open Access Legislation, Government Reviews, Funding Agency Mandates, and Policies
  11. Open Access in Countries with Emerging and Developing Economies
  12. Open Access Books

Most of these are split into further sub-categories.

Despite the bibliography’s publication date making some categories dated and some of the URLs to the items it references no longer working, it remains an excellent general resource for anyone looking to find research and other materials on Open Access from the 2000s.

Bailey’s other works on Open Access topics can be found on his website

Book: The Access Principle by John Willinsky

Citation: Willinsky, J. (2006). The Access Principle. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Retrieved from

This 2006 book on the OA movement aims to “inform and inspire a larger debate over the political and moral economy of knowledge that will constitute the future of research” (p. xvi). Each of its thirteen chapters—with one-word titles that make their focus clear—present a combination of historical overview, current state of scholarly publishing, and arguments for OA.

Although the playing field has moved somewhat in the 10 years since the book’s publication, the vast majority of Willinsky’s descriptions are still on point, and his arguments are as cogent as they were in 2006.

The chapter on the economical challenges of scholarly and OA publishing, for example, holds Elsevier’s ScienceDirect platform up as an exemplar of providing increased access to research. After the establishment in 2012 of the “Cost of Knowledge” campaign boycotting Elsevier journals over the company’s business practices, which researchers say restrict circulation and damage scholarly publishing, these remarks are clearly no longer an accurate representation of scholarly consensus.

All the same, Willinsky’s argument at the end of the chapter—that new publishing models must be pursued to counter rising journal prices and restrictive licensing—is just as relevant as it was in 2006, if not even more so.

Perhaps the most interesting parts of Willinsky’s book are the appendices. The first of these, “Ten Flavors of Open Access,” presents ten types of OA with different economic models and examples. These “flavors” include university subsidization of research on author home pages, author fees, partial OA, OA of bibliographic material for indexing purposes, and others. Additional appendices present details on the economics of scholarly associations, journal publishers, and setting up an OA cooperative, as well as statistical information on indexing and OA journals as of 2006.

Web site: Web Accessibility for Online Course Content / Web Accessibility Handbook

Web Accessibility for Online Course Content is a web site and accompanying PDF handbook put together by Karen Sorensen for faculty members at Portland Community College.

The site is aimed at teaching faculty who use online resources as part of their instruction how to ensure they are accessible to those with disabilities. It is structured as a series of instructional pages targeted at specific accessibility-related tasks:

In addition to these tutorials, the site includes some studies done on accessibility in specific disciplines and a page discussing automated accessibility checkers.

The accompanying Web Accessibility Handbook is a short document which replicates each of the web site links on its own page, for easy printing and offline access.

Although it’s worth noting that those of us who are not PCC faculty will probably be unable to take advantage of the “Get Help with Your Content” section, the rest of the site (and the handbook) are great resources for instructors and others who want to ensure that their content is accessible but aren’t sure how to get started.

Book: Developing Open Access Journals

Citation: Solomon, D. (2008). Developing Open Access journals: A practical guide. Oxford, UK: Chandos Publishing.

Solomon’s Developing Open Access journals: A practical guide is just what it says on the cover: a book of practical advice and information for those interested in starting a journal. Despite its age, the vast majority of the book’s contents do not refer to specific technologies or systems, meaning that the bulk of it remains relevant eight years after its publication.

The book is split into three parts: an introduction detailing the history of scholarly journals; instructions on starting an OA journal; and instructions on maintaining an OA journal.

Although the title refers specifically to Open Access (OA) journals, almost all of the information it presents is generalized enough to be equally useful for non-OA journals—although those publishing in a for-profit environment will presumably have additional resources when it comes to things like hosting and income. Indeed, the book is essentially a primer on what a scholarly journal is and usually contains, and much of what it discusses might even be of interest to new scholars who are about to submit their research and anyone else who (for whatever reason) wants to know more about scholarly publishing in general.

Chapters 4, 6, and 7, which deal with finding web hosting, finding funding, and disseminating journal content, are probably the most useful from an OA-specific standpoint. Also of interest is the check-list Solomon includes on launching a journal in chapter 8, and

The final chapter of the book mentions an online annotated bibliography at Unfortunately, the site appears to have gone offline sometime in early March of 2016, and currently shows only a French announcement that there are “no articles for the moment.” Earlier versions of the site have been archived by the WayBack machine; the latest version of the bibliography I was able to access there was the version from February 2011, which contained 20-30 links to common online resources but nothing exhaustive. Readers interested in finding an annotated list of OA resources would probably be better off browsing the Open Access Directory at Simmons University, which is larger and still actively maintained.

Book: Knowledge Unbound

Citation: Suber, P. (2016). Knowledge Unbound. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Knowledge Unbound contains a number of essays on Open Access by OA expert and advocate Peter Suber, whose 2012 book Open Access provides an excellent introduction to the topic for beginners.

All the essays in Knowledge Unbound were published between 2002 and 2011, so there isn’t actually anything new here, but this book still serves as an excellent resource for those who are exploring OA for the first time, and the book’s organization—which moves from the basics (“What is Open Access?”) through to specific topics like the OA policies of funding agencies and details on how to actually deliver OA content—makes it useful for readers who already have some knowledge but need to brush up on certain aspects of the movement.

One particularly nice thing about this (and Suber’s earlier book) is that MIT Press has also released Open Access versions of both. You can download Knowledge Unbound as an ePUB, Mobi, or PDF, as well as read it for free online, at the MIT Press website.