Category Archives: Publishing

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Libraries Test a Model for Setting Monographs Free

Librarians love to get free books into the hands of scholars and students who need them. Publishers love it when their books find readers—but they also need to cover the costs of turning an idea into a finished monograph. Now a nonprofit group called Knowledge Unlatched is trying out a new open-access model designed to make both librarians and publishers happy.

Here’s how the “unlatching” works: Participating libraries pick a list of scholarly books they want to make open access. They pool money…

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QuickWire: E-Textbook Provider CourseSmart Is Bought by Ingram

A big fish in the education-media world has been swallowed by an even bigger fish.

CourseSmart, a major provider of electronic textbook content, has been acquired by the Ingram Content Group, a media company that supplies books and music to thousands of retailers across the world. CourseSmart was created in 2007 by the “big five” textbook companies as an online marketplace for their digital content.

The Ingram group also distributes educational content, through Vital Source Technologies, a subsi…

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QuickWire: Anthropology Journal Moves to Open-Access Model

The journal Cultural Anthropology has just published its first free, open-access issue, which it says will help in “returning publishing to the commons, where academic life begins.”

“The editors hope this move will expand the audience of the journal to curious readers—academic or not—who would not normally have access to the latest research in anthropology,” the journal said in a news release. The release also said that the Society for Cultural Anthropology, which publishes the journal, hopes th…

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Textbook Publishers Settle Suit Against Boundless, Digital Start-Up Company

Three big textbook publishers and Boundless, a digital-textbook start-up company, have reached a confidential settlement of a lawsuit that the three publishers filed last year, when they accused Boundless of distributing “‘replacement textbooks’ that are created from, based upon, and overwhelmingly similar to” textbooks from the companies—Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, and Macmillan Higher Education.

The publishers’ suit alleged that Boundless had boasted that “they copy the precise select…

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QuickWire: Elsevier Joins University College London in Big-Data Project

The publishing giant Elsevier and University College London said on Wednesday morning that they were joining to create a Big Data Institute “to explore innovative ways to apply new technologies and analytics to scholarly content and data.”

The new institute will have access to Elsevier’s vast trove of scholarly research and public data, which the British newspaper The Independent estimates at some 200 terabytes’ worth. Elsevier said the new partnership would also benefit from the publisher’s pur…

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Posting Your Latest Article? You Might Have to Take It Down

Guy Leonard received an unpleasant surprise in his inbox early this morning: a notice from Academia.edu saying it had taken down a copy of an article of his that he’d posted on the research-sharing platform. The reason? A takedown request from Elsevier, which publishes the journal in which the paper had appeared.

Mr. Leonard, a research fellow in the University of Exeter’s College of Life and Environmental Sciences, tweeted his dismay and posted a link to a screengrab of the notice.

“Unfortunate…

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Wellcome Trust, Palgrave Macmillan Publish Their First Open-Access Monograph

'Fungal Disease' book jacketLast May the Wellcome Trust, a leading British sponsor of biomedical research, expanded its support for open access to include monographs as well as journal articles. In partnership with the trust, Palgrave Macmillan has just put out its first open-access monograph—a notable step, albeit not a cheap one, toward expanding open-access monograph-publishing options for researchers.

The monograph is a history-of-medicine study, Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States, 1850-2000, by Aya Homei …

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2 Senators Offer Bill Promoting Open-Access Textbooks

A bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Thursday would encourage the creation of free online textbooks by offering grants for pilot projects that produce high-quality open-access textbooks, especially for courses with large enrollments. Grant money would also be available to help faculty members find and review such textbooks, as well as to conduct research on how well open-access textbooks meet students’ and faculty members’ needs.

The bill, called the Affordable College Textbook Act, was intro…

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For Disruption, MOOCs Beat Open-Access Journals, Scholar Says

MOOCs are more disruptive to higher education than open-access megajournals are, in part because of structural protections in the scholarly-publishing world and because some policy makers are pushing massive open online courses as a means to increase productivity, a professor argues in a new article on open-access alternatives in higher education.

The privatization of the delivery of educational services via MOOC platforms and other models is seen by some politicians as a solution to “the percei…

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QuickWire: Einstein Papers Go Digital

Albert Einstein’s mind might soon be a little easier to navigate.

The Collected Papers of Albert Einstein will be made available in digital form by the digital-publishing-platform company Tizra, according to a news release. The digitization of The Collected Papers, published by Princeton University Press, will contain searchable text, in German and in English translation, for the thousands of pages of Einstein’s work throughout his lifetime. The papers include lectures, research notebooks, inter…