Reviewing Open-Access Books


The increase in electronic publishing and open access books raises a number of questions, some of which concern the practices of reviewing books. Along those lines, David Velleman writes in with the following inquiry:

  • How should open-access books be submitted to journals for review? These books are published in hard copy as print-on-demand paperbacks, but they are also accessible online at no charge for reading, and little or no charge for downloadable digital copies. (For examples, see www.openbookpublishers.com and www.maizebooks.org.)
  • To journal editors: Would you accept review copies of open-access books in digital (pdf) format, or do you require printed copies for review? If you require printed copies, would you take the trouble to request one if the publisher initially sent only a pdf? 
  • To book reviewers: Would you agree to review a book for a journal that provided only a pdf? 
  • To editors and reviewers: If you accepted digital review copies of open-access books, would you do the same for books that aren’t open access?

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