Noting two recent items in digital publishing/open access

  1. Academic Presses Explore Open Access for Monographs by Seth Denbo of the AHA

The article notes that “evidence shows that providing free and unrestricted access to digital monographs increases their usage significantly,” which makes sense. I’m glad that the article notes that a move to pay-to-publish puts a burden on scholars who are not at well-funded institutions. I suppose this burden would be greater in the humanities then in the sciences, where research already requires institutional funding from the get-go.

2. Introducing Unpaywall from Impactstory

Just happened to run across this today. I haven’t tried it, but it’s an extension for Chrome and Firefox that links to articles behind paywalls. A cursory look at their FAQ suggests that they source their articles from open access databases and repositories to which the original authors themselves submitted the article – hence it is legal even as it dodges paywalls. It’s more a matter of connecting readers to sources that are already available, but not known.

As the creators write:

“We loathe paywalls. Now more than ever, humanity needs to access our collective knowledge, not hoard it. Lots of scholars feel the same; that’s why they upload their papers to free, legal servers online. We realized that the missing link is in getting these free resources to the people who want them, at the right time. By using a browser extension, we can do that, leveraging the toll-access distribution system to bring open access to the masses.”


Article from The Independent on Alexandra Elbakyan and Sci-Hub:

Aaron Swartz’s recommended reading list via Verso:

Article from New Republic on Aaron Swartz and JSTOR:

Swartz’s Guerilla Open Access Manifesto:

Lisbet Rausing’s “Towards A New Alexandria”:

Budapest Open Access Initiative:

Weekly roundup: December 13

  • The University of Lincoln Repository has made Martin Paul Eve’s 2014 book, Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge) available as a PDF: “If you work in a university, it is likely that you have heard the term “open access” in the past couple of years. You may also have heard either that it is the utopian answer to all the problems of research dissemination or perhaps that it marks the beginning of an apocalyptic new era of pay-to-say publishing. In this book, Dr. Martin Paul Eve sets out the histories, contexts and controversies for open access, specifically in the humanities. Broaching practical elements alongside economic histories, open licensing, monographs and funder policies, this book is a must-read for both those new to open access or scholarly communications and those with an already keen interest in the latest developments for the humanities.”