Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Monday, February 09, 2004

Cornell launches OA university press for books

On January 30, Cornell University launched Internet-First University Press, an open-access book publisher built on Cornell's DSpace institutional repository. Quoting from the press release: "Just when the recording, music and publishing industries are going all-out to stop people from making their products available on the Internet, a new publishing venture at Cornell University is challenging traditional scholarly publishing by taking the opposite approach: Make the full text of a new book freely available on the Internet, and give readers the option to buy the printed book. The new "open access" publisher, known as Internet-First University Press, launched recently with a catalog announcing four original manuscripts and several titles that have been out of print. Soon to be added are monographs, Cornell graduate student theses and, eventually, an online scholarly journal. The project also is publishing multimedia materials, including videos and collections of photographs....'What this model does, I propose, is reduce the financial risk for the publisher by eliminating the need for a large inventory,' says J. Robert Cooke, Cornell professor of biological and environmental engineering and former dean of the faculty, who is principal investigator for the project....'Faculty members value having their scholarship read, and the open-access approach provides immediate, worldwide access,' Cooke explains. 'Our first authors are all distinguished faculty with no need to build up their résumés. They have no pressing financial need or were smart enough to know they weren't going to get much money anyway.' Mostly, he points out, books written by academics and published by a university press have a narrow audience."

Also see Elizabeth Thomas, Schools make scholarly texts available on Web, The Daily Pennsylvanian, February 6, 2004. On the Cornell project and related digital library projects at Penn.