Open Access: What You Need to Know Now

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ALA Editions
8 12"
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A, I


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  • Description
  • Table of Contents
  • About the Author
  • Reviews

Academic libraries routinely struggle to afford access to expensive journals, and patrons may not be able to obtain every scholarly paper they need. Is Open Access (OA) the answer? In this ALA Editions Special Report, Crawford helps readers understand what OA is (and isn't), as he concisely

  • Analyzes the factors that have brought us to the current state of breakdown, including the skyrocketing costs of science, technology, engineering, and medicine (STEM) journals; consolidation of publishers and diminishing price competition; and shrinking library budgets
  • Summarizes the benefits and drawbacks of different OA models, such as "Green," "Gold," Gratis," "Libre," and various hybrid forms
  • Discusses ways to retain peer-review, and methods for managing OA in the library, including making OA scholarly publishing available to the general public

Addressing the subject from the library perspective while taking a realistic view of corporate interests, Crawford presents a coherent review of what Open Access is today and what it may become.


1 Who Cares?
2 Understanding the Basics
3 Issues for Open Access
4 Open Access Controversies
5 Taking Action
6 Exploring Open Access


Walt Crawford

Walt Crawford is an internationally recognized writer and speaker on libraries, technology, policy and media. Author of numerous books, articles, and columns, Crawford is also the creator, writer and publisher of Cites & Insights: Crawford at Large, an ejournal on the intersections of libraries, policy, technology and media published monthly since 2001. He maintains a blog on these and other issues, Walt at Random. He received the LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Outstanding Communication for Continuing Education in Library and Information Science in 1995, the ALCTS/Blackwell Scholarship Award in 1997, and the Gale Group Online Excellence in Information Authorship Award in 1998.

"An insightful, concise overview of the open access movement by one of librarianship's best authors. Highly recommended."
—Charles Bailey, Publisher, Digital Scholarship

"Walt calmly and lucidly lays out the complexities and perplexities of the open-access movement in this evenhanded guide. Recommended for all librarians interested in serials, scholarly communication, or the future of research and research libraries."
—Dorothea Salo, Research Services Librarian, University of Wisconsin

"Walt Crawford has done something difficult and useful. He's written a short, accurate, independent introduction to open access. I recommend it to researchers and libraries everywhere, and hope it corrects misunderstandings that have held back this good idea for years."
—Peter Suber, Faculty Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University and Senior Researcher, Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC)

"A valuable and highly readable OA primer. This volume is recommended for all academic and special librarians, and for public librarians with an interested in the subject matter. "
--Oklahoma Librarian

"The author answers many questions and gives much detail about the workings of OA in six chapters that deal with the basics of OA, issues and controversies surrounding OA, and steps for fostering OA initiatives. This book is a valuable tool for anyone who wants or needs to learn more about OA."
--Reference & User Services Quarterly

"A useful digest and consolidation, lucid and readable ... It is succinct and accessible throughout."
--Learned Publishing

"A first-rate introduction to OA. It should be required reading for all librarians so that they become familiar with the OA movement and can provide to anyone—not just scholars—widespread and unrestricted access to OA scholarly literature. With his insightful summary of this widening and complex field, Crawford offers a resource that will help readers gain a better understanding of what OA is and provide details regarding the issues and controversies surrounding the OA movement."
--Internet Reference Services Quarterly