Academic publishing must go digital to survive
Connotea Imports 2012-03-08
"Undoubtedly, open access is one of the best tools used to ensure the broad dissemination of scholarship. [Sydney University Press's] top-downloaded book, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie? by Simon Chapman has had more than 10,000 downloads since its release in 2010. In 2011, there were over four million total downloads of ANU ePress titles. As recent debates in The Australian demonstrate, the proponents of traditional, print-based models of scholarly publishing are losing touch with the modern system of scholarly communication. Researchers want the products of their research activity to appear promptly, in a digital format and with a creative commons licence so that they can share them with colleagues and students without infringing copyright law. It’s not only the publishing industry, but also government bodies who are slow to recognise changing paradigms. As Colin Steele has recently written, [Australian] government policy towards open access remains fragmented and inconsistent....The conflict between commercially driven national university press network proposed and the digital, open access model developed by not-for-profit university presses is part of a wider debate about the future of scholarly publishing and the ownership of research output. Should it remain in the hands of commercial publishers? Or should it be in the hands of open access advocates? Should government funding go towards supporting traditional university presses and their profits, or towards supporting the dissemination of Australian scholarship? How should we encourage further research and expansion of knowledge? The [OA] model proposed by e-presses is surely the more efficient and successful way to publish and disseminate the research output of Australian scholars. It is the future of scholarly publishing...."