Open as in… doors, arms, ended?

With a fanfare and much waving of pompoms, I can announce that the open access version of my book is now online, via the good people at Bloomsbury Academic. It is available online in plain HTML format, broken down by chapters. I'm excited about this because now I can point people at it and pass it around freely. 

A couple of people have requested other formats, eg epub, pdf, etc. I could do these, but my feeling is that what's significant is the Creative Commons Non-Commercial licence. If anyone wants to take the HTML version and create an Egyptian hieroglyphics version delivered via 1988 version of HyperCard – well, they can.

In open source communities they often make the distinction of free as in free speech (meaning that you have freedom to alter the code), and free as in beer (meaning gratis, zero cost). This set me thinking – I wonder what the open in open access means: 

  • open as in arms – it is welcoming, friendly even, particularly given the network around it (eg you can twitter me and tell me it's rubbish), it is not a product in a vacuum.
  • open as in doors – you are invited in, like an open door policy to look around
  • open as in ended – this is not to say I have an ongoing commitment to update it, but that the possibilities of the licence allow it to be open ended in terms of format

One I'm not sure about is whether it is open as in minded – it is not a co-constructed text, a wiki-book, it is still a one to many broadcast model. Which is appropriate sometimes, I want to hear what, say Clay Shirky, has to say on a subject, not 10,000 people around him, but I wonder if there is more that can be done around the open-minded angle.

On that note I am running a week of the Siemens/Downes/Cormier MOOC extravaganza, starting 26th September, and I'll be using my book as the basis. So maybe this is a way of being open-minded, constructing a course, or event, around the open access version so it can be discussed and interpreted.To this end I would like people to vote on the topics we'll cover in the week – choose three from this list.  Anyway, I hope you can join in the course, or failing that, get a chance to check out the OA version of the book.

Meanwhile here is Elbow singing Open Arms, which I think is all about open access publishing…

 

4 Comments

  1. I’m reading this while attending a JISC conference on the OU Campus on Creative Commons and OER. This means I can release my notes on ‘The Digital Scholar’ should people feel my 3,000 word version with quotes and notes are of value. My interest is in reversioning until you have the 1, 10, 100, 1000, and 10,000 word versions, as well as the illustrated, the cartoon book and the TV documentary.

  2. Hi Martin, I’d like to know what kind of response you’ve had to the invitation to choose the topics for next weeks presentation. I put my three choices in.
    I’d agree letting your audience guide the conversation that follows a reading of the book is one way of being open. I hope it provides you with some interesting perspectives.

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