Consultation on the second Research Excellence Framework

“This document sets out the proposals of the four UK higher education funding bodies for the second Research Excellence Framework (REF) for the assessment of research in UK higher education institutions. The proposals seek to build on the first REF conducted in 2014, and to incorporate the principles identified in Lord Stern’s Independent Review of the REF….”

For open access, see especially paragraphs 55, 68, 69, 116, 117, and all of Annex C (on OA monographs).

How Change Happens and Open Access | From Poverty to Power

“OUP took some risks with this book, notably agreeing to go Open Access from day one. That is a huge leap from the traditional publishing model of publishing only the hardback for a year, then deciding when to go into paperback. Some people, particularly cash-strapped students used to reading on screen, are likely to take the OA route, but OUP hoped the buzz around open access would generate some sales, or people would start reading the pdf, and then see enough to buy a copy.

So what happened? Turns out that Open Access doesn’t harm book sales and if anything, promotes them. So far, OUP has sold 3,500 hardbacks and Oxfam has distributed a further 1,500 of a paperback edition at events, to staff etc..

Obviously, there’s no clear counterfactual as all books are different, but OUP are pretty convinced that OA has generated more of a buzz than a simple hardback ever could. It’s certainly better than I’ve had with any of my previous books.

The Open Access numbers are also really interesting (at least to me): 5,700 downloads of the full pdf, mainly from the Oxfam site; over 2,000 book views on Oxford Scholarship Online; and 115,000 page views on Google Books, with the average visitor reading 10 pages. Somewhere in between comes the £2 kindle version – just a couple of hundred so far.

So big tick on Open Access, and props to OUP for being willing to take the risk. Glad it’s paid off so far….”

Open Course Library – Home

“The Open Course Library (OCL) is a collection of shareable course materials, including syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments designed by teams of college faculty, instructional designers, librarians, and other experts. Some of our materials (also called open educational resources, or OER) are paired with low cost textbooks ($30 or less). Many of the courses can be taught at no cost to students. Unless otherwise noted, all materials are shared under a Creative Commons (CC BY) license.OCL courses and materials have undergone testing for accessibility and have been designed using the industry-standard Quality Matters (QM) rubric for assessing the quality of online courses….”

Open Textbook Network

“The Open Textbook Network (OTN) promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks.

We believe in the power of open education to transform higher education. Open textbooks not only contribute to student academic success, but also offer faculty the chance to reclaim their courses based on their expertise….”

Dramatic Growth of Open Access December 31, 2016

“Arguably the best indicator of the global collaborative growth of open access, whether through archives or publications, is the ongoing impressive growth of what we can access through the Bielefeld Academic Search Engine, which surpassed two major milestones in 2016: over 100 million documents (about 60% open access) and 5,000 content providers. The growth rates (22% for documents, 27% for content providers) are particularly impressive given the high pre-existing content rate. This is amazing success not just for BASE, but for all of us. If you’ve published a thesis through an institutional repository that allows for metadata harvesting, or published an article in a journal that contributes article-level data for metadata harvesting, your contribution is reflected here. This is a meta-level indicator of our global success. …I’ve added a new metric for medical open access, a keyword search of PubMed for “cancer” for articles with no date limit, last 5 years, last 2 years, and last year, further limited to free fulltext to determine the percentage of items for which fulltext is available. This ranges from 26% overall (no date limit), to 40 – 44% for items published in the last 2 – 5 years, to 32% for articles published in the last year….”

Alternative Publishing Models For Cost-Conscious Professors

“There are two things we can learn from this outpouring of low-cost course materials. The first is that there are many roads to Rome. There are commercial casebooks at fairer prices, there are subsidized free casebooks, and there are unsubsidized free casebooks. There are PDF downloads, ebooks, print-on-demand hard copies, Word files, interactive maps, wiki-style websites, and more. The second lesson is that the time is now. We have all the tools we need, and some of them are working very well indeed. There are no major financial or institutional obstacles to switching over to affordable course materials now. Professors, find them and use them in your courses. If they don’t exist, help to create them. Students, ask your professors to consider casebook costs. Administrators, find out how much your faculty’s assigned books cost, help them identify cheaper alternatives, and help support your faculty when they want to contribute to bringing these costs down by creating their own….”

Choosing a Criminal Procedure Casebook: On Lesser Evils and Free Books by Ben Trachtenberg :: SSRN

Abstract:  Among the more important decisions a law teacher makes when preparing a new course is what materials to assign. Criminal procedure teachers are spoiled for choice, with legal publishers offering several options written by teams of renowned scholars. This Article considers how a teacher might choose from the myriad options available and suggests two potentially overlooked criteria: weight and price.

The Article then explores the possibility of providing criminal procedure casebooks to law students for much less money than is currently charged, taking advantage of the public domain status of Supreme Court opinions, which form the backbone of most criminal procedure syllabi. The Article suggests that law schools could encourage faculty to produce casebooks that would be made available to our students for the cost of printing, with electronic versions available gratis (that is, “free” as in “free beer”).

Publishing in Open Access increases usage and has no effect on book sales

“Open Access publishing has no negative effect on book sales, and increases online usage and discovery considerably.

This is one of the conclusions of OAPEN-NL, a project exploring Open Access monograph publishing in the Netherlands. OAPEN-NL’s final report, published yesterday, gives recommendations for research funders, libraries, publishers and authors….”