Knowledge Unlatched asked authors who took part in the KU Round 2 Collection about their experiences of Open Access and the KU approach. Here is an interview with Adrian H. Hearn, author of Diaspora and Trust: Cuba, Mexico, and the Rise of China (Duke University Press)
What were your hopes for your book, and do you think Open Access has played a role in achieving them?
My main goal was for the book to have a wide readership; yes, I think OA has supported this goal.
Do you think that making your book available on an OA licence has increased its reach and impact? – Have you seen any concrete indications of this?
I do not know if OA has increased the book’s “impact” in the traditional sense of journal citations; but I expect it will. I know that colleagues around the world (particularly in Cuba, Mexico, and China) are reading the book and may not have been able to otherwise.
What other benefits have you seen from participating in Knowledge Unlatched?
Students have requested the book’s OA link, and are unlikely to have read the book if it had to be purchased.
I always supported the concept of OA, and seeing my book as part of the program strengthens my support.How have you been promoting your OA book?
I have included the link to the book’s OA page in Powerpoint presentations for seminars and conference papers around the world, and in university classes in Australia and China. I have also emailed the link to colleagues, and added the link to my email signature. I have shared the link in an online (Facebook) forum that I am a member of.
Has your opinion about OA in general changed since your book was published through the Knowledge Unlatched collection? If so, how?
I always supported the concept of OA, and seeing my book as part of the program strengthens my support. It is very useful to simply email a URL to friends and colleagues so that they can freely download the book without having to register or join a group.
What do your friends/colleagues think about your decision to allow your book to be made available for free under a CC licence? Has their opinion changed following publication through Knowledge Unlatched?
Several colleagues are puzzled by KU’s business model – and I confess I am not completely sure how it works – but nobody has suggested that OA is a bad or unwise decision. On the contrary, several colleagues have contacted me to ask how they might also include their books in a future KU list.
Adrian H. Hearn is Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Melbourne and the author of Cuba: Religion, Social Capital, and Development, also published by Duke University Press.