Interesting article in Inside Higher Ed this morning about a new JSTOR program, Register & Read. The program allows any visitors the opportunity to check out 3 items fromt he JSTOR archive. Here is an excerpt from the article:
“The new program, called Register & Read, will soon let anybody read articles in the JSTOR archives at no cost. Under the new program, unsubscribed visitors will be allowed to check out three “items” from the JSTOR archive every two weeks, which they will be able to read for free. In order to prevent piracy, the texts will be displayed as image files (so that text cannot be copied). Users will not be able to download the files. The depletion of the traditional professoriate has produced a new demographic of unmoored scholars who might not have “the consistency of access that they want,” says Heidi McGregor, a spokeswoman for JSTOR. The goal of Register & Read would be to better serve that population as well as others that the organization might not have even known about. Seventy journals are participating in the pilot, including Ecology, American Anthropologist, PMLA, the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Finance, and the American Historical Review.
An article in Inside Higher Education today discusses the Student PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) call to action for open textbook solutions. It’s an interesting piece, demonstrating the need for cheaper textbook alternatives and the lack of faculty interest in open access books due to lack of quality and reliability. The author compares the situation to health care stating, “Student PIRGs’ pushing for a plurality of professors to adopt open textbooks is like a health care lobbyist pushing for a plurality of doctors to adopt herbal medicine: interesting, maybe even compelling with the right evidence, but ultimately impractical.”
Inside Higher Education featured an article this morning, The All E-Book Diet. The article discusses the eTextbook plan from Daytona State College which is to “eliminate the used-book and rental markets on campus and have all students buy e-books.”
From the article: Here is how it will work at Daytona State, beginning in January: Instead of having professors tell students what books to buy and then letting them try to find the cheapest option regardless of medium, Daytona State will buy a license from publishers to grant students access to electronic versions of the texts and charge them a “digital materials” fee. The college would require publishers to provide e-books that can be read by multiple types of e-reader, including regular computers; students would have to buy a device if they do not already have one, but the college says even then the new system would save them so much on course materials that they would still be paying 50 to 70 percent less than before (the college also owns 4,000 computers that students can use).
Great article today in Inside Higher Education, All in the Delivery, that discusses the rise of eBooks in higher education, specifically for textbooks. Kindle, iPad, CourseSmart, FlatWorld Knowledge, and of course print, are discussed in the context of the best method for delivery of academic ebooks. The author, Steve Kolowich, offers a nice overview and variety of stats and links. The comments thus far are nice as well.
Inside Higher Ed reported today that Rice University Press, who had been experimenting with an all digital publishing format, will shut down next month. The article, Abandoning an Experiment, discusses the situation at Rice and a handful of other university presses who are struggling or have announced closures.
Each week the number of blog posts and articles relating to eBooks, publishing, and eReaders is on the rise. This week was no exception. Articles I am linking to focus on the use of readers in elementary schools and higher ed and how fast/slow reading is on devices, future of publishing and business models, textbook costs, and the new SONY reader library program.
Some good reads about digital textbooks and eBooks in higher education.
Interesting article on E-Library Economics in Inside Higher Education. Discussion surrounds Syracuse University’s plan for a more digital library and transformation of the physical library to student study space, which met with resistance from faculty and students. The author, Steve Kolowich, sites various studies on the economics of digital libraries and the design of the future library. “Taken together, these studies point to twin conclusions: The sooner professors and students embrace e-books, the sooner their libraries can start saving money — but that might not happen for a while.” Kolowich goes on to discuss issues with eBooks, eReaders, and standard formats like EPUB.