More on OA and university presses

Sarah F. Gold, Academic Publishers Debate The Digital Future, Publishers Weekly, November 24, 2008.  Excerpt:

The tension between the digital world and the world of the printed book was highlighted during â??Why Books Still Matter,â? a one-day symposium on scholarly publishing held November 14 at Yale University. The conference was sponsored by Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and Yale University Press to mark the press’s centennial….

Michael Heller, an expert on property theory at Columbia Law School, challenged the current publishing business model, emphasizing that all forms of culture today, from music to news, involve assembling information from various sources….Heller said…universities and their presses â??shrink fair use, clamp down on copyright ‘pirates,’ monetize every shard of an idea. I’m all for the survival of university presses, but let’s not fund them by crushing the leading edge of art and science.â? …

The final panel, â??Whither the University Press,â? featured four heads of pressesâ??Donatich of Yale, Peter Dougherty of Princeton, Ellen Faran of MIT and William Sisler of Harvardâ??who dealt with the nuts and bolts of experiments in digital and openaccess publishing and surveyed other ways of expanding their readership. Faran reported on MIT publishing books simultaneously in print and openaccess formats. In areas of business and economics, she said, the model has worked. â??What I mean by ‘work,’ â? she explained, â??is that we sold 4,000 to 6,000 copiesâ? of the print edition.â?

Sisler reported that Harvard’s press is working on an openaccess journal with the law school and is seeking ways of collaborating with various arms of the university….