Open Access e-books at University of Oslo

January 16, 2009, [MD]

I came across a newsflash at the University of Oslo website, published January 14th, about their new open access electronic book-series called Oslo Studies in Language.

Here are some translated sections from the news brief (from Norwegian): – Now we hope that language researchers and lignuists from the four relevant departments at the Faculty of Humanities will use this series, and come up with relevant book projects. All the articles will be sent to peer-review...

The editors admit that many researchers still have a nostalgic relationship to paper. – Therefore we are publishing 25 copies on paper which we send to all the contributors in the first book in the series "Structuring information in discourse: the explicit/implicit dimension.” The book was edited by Bergljot Behrens and Cathrine Fabricius-Hansen.

Ensures quality

Our desire is to contribute to the growing family of freely available electronic publications that are distributed to the entire research world. Through the establishment ofOslo Studies in Language we guarantee the control of both the academic content, the typographic presentation and storage for the future, without having to go through the traditional publishing houses, state Grønn and Haug. Both refer to the important power that lays with the traditional publishing houses.

– Today researchers and universities actually have to pay to have books published with international publishers. The peer-reviewers and editors are usually not paid. Then, the publishers charge good money for the journals and books. This happens, even if it is the universities and the state has has paid for the research. With this service, the researchers only have to send the content to us, before we pass it on to peer-review. If it is accepted, it will immediately be published in our electronic book series.

What is interesting is that this great project was the result of pressure from one of the academics involved: Both give credit to a member of the editing committee, Östen Dahl from Stockholm University for sowing the seed about launching an electronic book series. – The only demand he had for joining the editing committee, was that the book series should be made available through a  publishing channel that was electronic and freely available. It is said that Dahl is the most cited linguist in the Nordic countries.

I visited Östen Dahl's homepage, and see that he has a number of his publications available in electronic format, as well two book manuscripts available for download. I think is a great example of how people can push for and educate about open access in the different academic projects they are involved with. (If he really is the most cited linguist in the Nordic countries, I am sure that didn't exactly hurt either).

The book series is hosted using Open Journal Systems on a site called Free Journals from University of Oslo, which offers free hosting for peer-reviewed journals at the University of Oslo that are starting up as OA journals, or older TA journals that would like to convert to OA. This news, together with the self-archiving of metadata policy, and mandate for archiving of student theses are all very good news coming from the University of Oslo.

On a final note, I tried downloading one of the chapters, and I like how all the references are linked to the sources at the bottom, so that if you mouse-over the reference (at least in my PDF reader), you see the reference in a small pop-up.

Stian (Significant content in this article is translated from a Norwegian article in Uniforum, the newspaper for the University of Oslo.)

Stian Håklev January 16, 2009 Toronto, Canada
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