Imagine a tribe of authors who write serious and useful work, and who follow a centuries-old custom of giving it away without charge. I don’t mean a group of rich authors who don’t need money. I mean a group of authors defined by their topics, genres, purposes, incentives, and institutional circumstances, not by their wealth. In fact, very few are wealthy. For now, it doesn’t matter who these authors are, how rare they are, what they write, or why they follow this peculiar custom. It’s enough to know that their employers pay them salaries, freeing them to give away their work, that they write for impact rather than money, and that they score career points when they make the kind of impact they hoped to make. Suppose that selling their work would actually harm their interests by shrinking their audience, reducing their impact, and distorting their professional goals by steering them toward popular topics and away from the specialized questions on which they are experts.
If authors like that exist, at least they should take advantage of the access revolution. The dream of global free access can be a reality for them, even if most other authors hope to earn royalties and feel obliged to sit out this particular revolution.
These lucky authors are scholars, and the works they customarily write and publish without payment are peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals. Open access is the name of the revolutionary kind of access these authors, unencumbered by a motive of financial gain, are free to provide to their readers.
Open access (OA) literature is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
Open Access, il libro di Peter Suber, è finalmente online, gratis. Fossi in voi lo leggerei.
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