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Steele Lawman
Is there any point in continuing to print traditionally-published books in library science? Can't we just do 'em all as Open Access PDFs?
And what about out of print stuff like Patrick Wilson's Two Kinds of Power? UC Press needs to get off their stars and put that in the PD! Or at least reprint it. But it simply needs to be out there. So many more seminal texts .., - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer from iPod
Stupid Apple auotcorrect! That stars ought be arses. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer from iPod
So all library science authors are expected to give away our work? - Walt Crawford
I'm not sure I agree with all, Walt. But I'd sure love to see the out of print "dead white guys" freely available. I'd give UC Press some $$ for it & I say they have an ethical responsibilty to make it available but they sit on it. POD is doable, as you know. - Mar₭ Liŋdŋer from iPod
Walt, yes. Or, rather, release books on pay-what-you-want etc. - Steele Lawman
And Mark, I totally agree. I still need to talk to someone at ALA about drawing a line before which everything is public domain. I'm thinking 2000, but even 1980 would be great. - Steele Lawman
TD Wilson and Marcia Bates have put a ton of their stuff on the web. I'd like to see more from FW Lancaster and as Mark says P Wilson. - Christina Pikas
Unfortunately, I may serve as the poster child for "pay what you want." Total paid-what-you-want for Cites & Insights to date: $240. Most writers who do really worthwhile library science books might expect to get more than $240 for them. I suppose if the premise is that only tenured library school professors should be writing books in the field, then maybe this is workable. - Walt Crawford
But, y'know, MARC for Library Use sure wouldn't have been written under those conditions. Neither would most of my other books. This is hard work; insisting that it be given away is, I think, a pretty tough call. - Walt Crawford
I'm not insisting people do work they don't want to do. I'm saying maybe we've hit the point where it doesn't make sense to publish traditionally any more and that there isn't a place for a person to support him or herself with writing library science stuff. - Steele Lawman
Fact: With the exception of MFLU and Future Libraries, none of my books have earned out much more than minimum wage for the time spent doing them. Further fact: Most librarianship writers don't do it strictly for the money. But still further likely fact: Take away *all* the money, and only the most fun stuff will get written. - Walt Crawford
Excellent! That would be a wonderful result. - Steele Lawman
That's not so far a cry from saying that people shouldnt be able to support themselves with writing at all, whcih I'm opposed to. A good editor is a fabulous thing to have (not to mention copyeditors), and most folks on the self-publish bandwagon forget that...and it often shows. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater, I think, though the traditional model will change drastically. And "only the most fun stuff" doesnt at all equal "the most useful stuff." - ωαřмaiden ❤Bassetmom❤
Well, I'm having too much fun being a pain in the ass about this to be perfectly rational. But really, I think we say in other contexts that Open Access doesn't mean "no editing" or "no peer review," right? So why jump to that conclusion here? And why is book-writing so different from journal article writing? - Steele Lawman
Those editor-types like to eat too ;) - Hedgehog
I could see people being willing to pay part of their ALA (or state library assn or whatever) dues to support Open Access Library Publishing. Though most of the BIG OA people, PLOS, BioOne, etc, get a lot of federal funding, right? But it wouldn't have to be big.... - Marianne
They eat because they get paid by their libraries, not by all the people flocking to the bookstore. - Steele Lawman
This sounds like an SLA initiative to me, actually.... *eyes the ladies in the terrorist shirts speculatively* - Marianne
Well, the new [academic] division of SLA has a new OA journal... Let me find the URL for the sucker. - Joe
The Sci-Tech News is OA, it has a peer reviewed section, - Joe
The journal is at, no issues yet. - Joe
I don't see SLA proper turning their magazine into an OA publication, but I think a lot of the divisions and chapters are leaning that way. - Joe
What warmaiden says: MFLU was really NOT fun to research and write, but it was needed. It's good to be told that independent scholars/researchers/writers should STFU and go away, 'cuz it's all got to be free. Sure makes my day. (My ALA Editions short book on OA will not, in fact, be OA...and I believe it will reach a LOT more people than my OA stuff on OA has.) - Walt Crawford
And I don't think anyone's made a living writing LS books ever, or at least not that I know of. It's whether you can get some compensation. And, frankly, whether people (and libraries) value stuff they get for free as much as stuff they pay for (one of the unanswered & frequently unasked questions about OA). - Walt Crawford
OK, I'd better sign off and go do something else. Right now I'm a lot more upset about this thread than I am about the elections, and that's just crazy. - Walt Crawford
I'm not sure why an open access advocate would get upset about someone suggesting that perhaps open access is a better model than traditional publishing when it comes to publishing small print-run professional books. It's not like I have the power to pull the plug on commercial LIS publishing. It's not like I can prevent anyone from publishing using any model that they care to. All the best stuff I have written has been for free. I think Walt is a great writer about library stuff and everything of his I have read has been free. I don't value the published stuff as much as I value the free stuff. I want to consume more free stuff and I want to create more free stuff. - Steele Lawman
If the point of commercial publishing is "so people can make money," that doesn't seem very interesting or valid. If it is "because then important stuff will go unpublished" that makes more sense, but I'm not all that convinced it is true. (What it would take to convince me, I'm not sure.) - Steele Lawman
The commercial publishers also have the advantage of being able to get people to actually look at what they publish, whereas i dont know the success of OA yet on pushing their content - many of the fine OA journals Ive read have come more by word of mouth than because theyre indexed anywhere useful when it comes to running lit reviews and such, - ωαřмaiden ❤Bassetmom❤
Good point. OA LIS monographs might need the visibility of ALA or the like behind them. - Steele Lawman
That kind of exposure would be great for this sort of model. - ωαřмaiden ❤Bassetmom❤
Maybe the LSW can show 'em how it's done. ;) - Steele Lawman
Hey Steve--I'm facing tenure track in 27 days....think we can get something up and going so I can get a peer reviewed article in? :-p - Hedgehog
I dunno about peer reviewed, but I heard something about some zine once.... - Marianne
I'll rubber-stamp anything Abigail. - Steele Lawman
I try to practice what I preach, but sometimes, I have to give in to pressure from other co-authors. For example, the chapters I wrote for the 2007 book we wrote are not OA. I have not seen a dime from the publication. It is ok with me that the money from the print book sales go to the copy editors, layout editors, printers, etc. They did a lot of work, too. - Joe
Gosh, if there was only an editor somewhere on this list who could help out... - John: Thread Killer
Gee, where could we find one... - Joe
We have that. Maybe I should check that out?... - Joe
Dorothea, that's exactly my point. My unconferences book would have been so much better as an OA publication, and if I couldn't have mustered the gumption to write it without a book contract, then maybe it didn't need to be written at all. (Walt thinks this is about me hating on him, but as usual it's about be hating on me.) - Steele Lawman
We need to sign agreements with publishers that let us keep the copyright so that they can sell an instance of the print book, and we can put the sucker up on a website, like Doctorow... - Joe
I think Joe's right. The *only* objection I have to all pdf's all the time is if it leaves small systems in the dust, unable to pitch in and help support OA, unable to find the print resources their more traditional patrons / staff want. Sure, they should get with the 21st century, I guess, if they have the bandwidth/infrastructure .. but there ARE great librarians doing great work in cow colleges and tiny publics that use those print sources and I'm glad they have them, and I don't *really* think they're all going to wake up OA-pdf evangelized one bright morning. (C'monnnn, print-on-demand that works seamlessly.) - Marianne
(Also not to underappreciate the people working in small backwards systems that are kicking ass at being cutting-edge, LAURA X... ahem.) - Marianne
This is interesting - I got so frustrated trying to get this manuscript published I just put it on Scribd (and more recently slideshare) this year. It may still get published, but I wasn't going to get royalties on the book anyway so the financial part was not the motivation. The funny thing is that the material would be much more usable in electronic form like a website or an ebook rather than in print. I don't think this publishing unit has e-options. - Elizabeth Brown
My tiny library system has basically zero budget for buying professional books, especially given how much they cost. Most of our staff training is done through free programs (usually of the webinar variety) offered by the state library, WebJunction, College of DuPage, and the like. I've done a webinar for free and a webinar for pay. I grant you that the prep is less than for that of a book, but I do think there are a lot of frontline library staff at underfunded libraries that you'll never reach through traditional publishing. (I should note that our state library does borrow a lot of library science titles that you can borrow, but that's not always so helpful for things you want to be able to refer to frequently.) - laura x
To put finish to this thread (I think): I was awake most of the night thinking about a suitable post about worthlessness and writing. And I'm not going to write the post. I think I've written it before and it inevitably comes off whiny, so the hell with it. Those who think writing & editorial effort are, in effect, worthless (in $ terms) will continue to think so; I'll continue to disagree. - Walt Crawford
Walt, when I responded "yes" to your question "So all library science authors are expected to give away our work?" I was overstating. To try and be a little more clear, I think that the profession as a whole would be better served if more of us who wanted to publish did it outside the traditional channels and went to OA/CC/print-on-demand/pay-what-you-want models. I don't think that the level of writing is higher in the traditionally-published work than what I have seen in blogs or in freely-available publications like Rochester's "Studying Students" report. I think what passes for "editing" in our literature can be laughable. - Steele Lawman
Is it THAT radical to say that I'd like to see Open Access become the dominant publishing model in library science? Is it THAT radical to say that I value the ability of thousands of librarians to get good professional information and writing for free over the ability of dozens of librarians to earn some walking around money? - Steele Lawman
But what if someone could do that and publish it OA/CC? - Steele Lawman
I'm obviously being hopelessly naive, but dammit, somebody's got to do it! ;) - Steele Lawman
I don't know of a damn thing preventing librarians from writing for free and posting the results as PD work, whether in PDF or other form. - Walt Crawford
There are important aspects of traditionally published books. Maybe we could start by listing them? Like, I value the editorial structure that helps novices/outsiders make sense of whether the thing they've found has any legitimacy in the field. What else? Maybe there are ways of taking what we value and inventing a better way that would serve all constituents. - lris
So, yes, with Kajisa's interjection, I do think it's radical to say, in effect, "You took a year? Tough. You should give that labor away: The needs of the many outweigh the desires of the few." It's radical when you, in essence, tell me I'm *wrong* to desire payment for some of my work. - Walt Crawford
What if we could apply for grants to pay for editing, layout, publication, etc., and a modest stipend so we could publish these books oa? so instead of author pays oa, you'd have grant agency pays oa... that's essentially what happens in other fields. - Christina Pikas
I like that idea, Christina. - lris
Christina: Well, that's for journal OA, and in fields where there are lots of grants. (And, I'm guessing, it pretty much locks out independents without institutional backing, although that's just a guess.) Extending OA beyond articles (and into underfunded fields) is rife with difficulties. - Walt Crawford
@Steve: I will. When I win the lottery. No, seriously, I think libraries should get together and launch an OA monograph press with proper funding of acquisition and editorial and production functions. Create the books, then set them free. Oh wait, that's not new: - barbara fister
If you paid me enough to retire now, I'd consider writing a library science book for pay. I can't imagine doing it for the amounts of money that I suspect one actually gets for such things. I guess the point of this is that I'm happy to write for free if I'm writing things I'm interested in and passionate about. I love libraries and librarianship, but I can't think of a book topic in that realm that would really excite me. I guess the thing is that I have a limited amount of time for writing (damn full-time job). I want to spend it on stuff I like. That mostly doesn't pay. I don't think this is a remotely helpful comment. - laura x
This is, by the way, scholarly monographs that I'm talking about, the kind that have libraries as their primary market. We're already spending the money; why not spend it up front and collaboratively? (I could also point out that most "commercial" books don't make money either. There was a new book title with an ISBN published in the US last year for roughly every 300 Americans. Dude, we have a lot of reading to catch up on.) - barbara fister
Barbara +++ - laura x
Ooh, OAPEN has Historia Norwegie. Relevant to my interests! <squirrels> - Deborah Fitchett
And yes, me too. Why don't libraries who benefit from open access journals and books take a little from their collections budget to support the organisations that are providing these? (Yes, yes, budgets. But seriously, even if a library could only spare $100 or $10... it's the principle of the thing.) - Deborah Fitchett
It would make mega-sense to me. - barbara fister
I love all these ideas and projects. Of course the Library Society of the World Experimental Monographic Series will be a bit more by the seat of the pants, though. - Steele Lawman
Deborah: That sounds nice in theory, but in practice, there is often no budget after you realize any "savings" from benefiting out of OA journals so on. Any small savings go somewhere else that is needed, or, like they do here, if the administration sees it, they suck it up (much like a Dyson, which, "never loses suction," kind of like our administration), and they never make it up or give back. So, those 100 bucks may not be there (and no, I am not joking. Here, we are pretty much looking at everything.) - Angel R. Rivera
Oh yeah, it'd definitely involve *planning* to budget such-and-such for it, rather than hoping to have money left over at the end. - Deborah Fitchett