Daily Archives: June 1, 2005

The rise of the publishing gazelles

Larry Lessig points out the case of the HSRC (Human Sciences Research Council) in South Africa. They offer content for free on the net, and we’re talking about complete books here, but also offer print versions for those who want it. Apparently, making their books available for free has increased the sales of the printed versions.

Unfortunately, the HSRC does not seem to offer books directly related to my research interests. If it did however, its authors would benefit from an advantage of visibility over those of their colleagues that are not available for free on the web. I’m speaking intuitively here, but I think plain visibility is half the battle when it comes to ensure the propagation of one’s research (the other half being the quality of the work itself). If no one sees a treatise, no one will read it. The harder it is to get – because it costs money to obtain, because forms must be filled to get it, because it requires a trip to the library, etc – the less visible it is.

The gazelles are rising, are the dinosaurs taking notice?