Tiago Villanueva: The dawn of open access books
Connotea Imports 2012-07-31
"Just a few weeks ago, I received an invitation to write a book chapter for an upcoming book about Primary Health Care. It is an open access book. I had never heard of open access books before, but after clarifying things with the publisher, I realised the concept is similar to open access journals. The author(s) cover the publication costs, and the book is made electronically available to everyone for free. In this case, the paper hard copy can also be made available upon request, but not for free. So, even if the classic textbook faces much tougher competitions these days from other publication types, open access books may put textbooks in the spotlight again, with medical students being one of the main target audiences. From what I learned from the open access publisher, an open access book can be launched within a turn around time of around eight months, which may allay the usual criticisms that the content of books is already out of date by the time it is published. Moreover, I remember straining my parents’ finances when I was a medical student, since each year of medical school meant having to invest thousands of Euros in books. Open access books could potentially make a huge difference in medical education, as they could in theory significantly lower the cost of training doctors. So, will open access books become the next big player in the publishing game? Only time will tell, but it’s surely something to watch out for...."