Librarians and scholars proposed the concept of Open Access in the 1990s: Intellectual material will be available for all to read and use or re-use, without cost. There are usually some limits to the open-access release as practiced by university presses such as disallowing commercial sharing and derivative works — and requiring author attribution (giving credit to the original authors).
This idea, in 2010, has gained a lot more traction in higher education. Open-source software has emerged from university environments. Whole-course contents have been made available in an open-source way to make higher education more accessible for the masses, starting with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Open Courseware project. Various grant funding agencies now require open licensing of all research results before grant funds are disseminated, due to citizen advocacy groups pushing for public access to the findings from federally funded research.
University presses are using electronic publications to extend their reach and reputations; they are also finding e-publications a strategy to sell more books. Some university presses have made a part of their holdings available for open access — with a focus on works that have already gone out-of-print (and sometimes, are already in the public domain). Continue reading “A fully open-access scholarly press”