Open access is now: Good news or bad news?

open signAt the TAA Conference in Philadelphia this past month, I heard many comments about open access. They varied widely from support, to derision, to misunderstanding, to apathy.

First, what is open access? In its purest form, open access is offering or publishing material online, free of cost or barriers with an open license that removes most restrictions on use and reuse. The open access or OA movement has been around twenty plus years with its roots going back much farther than that. [Read more…]

Traditional vs. open textbook authoring: An interview with Steven Barkan

Steven Barkan

Steven Barkan

Steven Barkan is a Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Sociology Department at the University of Maine. He is the author or co-author of six textbooks published by large and small traditional publishers. Barkan has also published one textbook with open textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge and is under contract to author a second textbook.

Here Barkan talks to TAA about his experiences authoring for both traditional publishers and open textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge:

TAA: How did you get started in textbook authoring?

Steven Barkan: “In the early 1990s, I was about to be promoted to full professor status, and decided it was time to write a textbook. I had always enjoyed my conversations with textbook company representatives about their books and the textbook industry. I realized there was a need for a criminology textbook emphasizing a sociological approach, and later published this book with Prentice Hall. It is now in its 5th edition and was a Texty winner in an earlier edition. I enjoyed that initial experience in textbook writing so much that I sought out other projects and wrote additional books in the areas of sociology and criminology/criminal justice for Allyn & Bacon and Wadsworth. My newest book, an introductory sociology text, is with Flat World Knowledge.”

[Read more…]