Archive for May 8th, 2008

Publishing books under open access

May 8, 2008

Kim Christen at Long Road brings some good news about the more nuanced author agreements that some lucky authors get to sign for some real smart publishers:

Last year I signed a contract with the School of Advanced Research Press to publish my book Aboriginal Business: Alliances in a Remote Australian Town (forthcoming winter 2009-yeah). It was a very standard contract and I was happy with it because one of the deciding factors for me going with SAR was their willingness to seek an Australian press to publish the book in Australia in tandem with the US publication. I wanted the book to be more easily available in Australia (and thus less expensive for those purchasing the book there). SAR has worked hard at this, but still we are unclear what our options are. So as this has been unfolding (the back and forth with Australian presses and distributors) I floated an idea to the publisher about a month ago: let me publish a pdf of the final book on my blog for people to download. I argued (as others have) that this would be good for the press, good for me, and good for the circulation of the book (which is what we both want). To their credit, SAR decided to allow this alternative, companion publishing. The letter I received states my author rights clearly:

This letter confirms that you have SAR Press’s permission to post the complete, final pdf of your book, Aboriginal Business: Alliances in a Remote Australian Town, on your blog, after the book has been published and made available for sale. To protect SAR Press’s investment in the print version, we ask you to include the following on your blog, in close proximity to the link for the pdf version:

1. A copyright notice reading “© 2008 School for Advanced Research Press”;
2. A link to your book’s page on our website, with text stating that viewers can purchase the book from SAR Press by clicking on the link.

SAR still maintains copyright, but my goal of allowing more distribution is met by facilitating electronic circulation of the final book. By linking to SAR we can track the direct traffic and I can keep track of downloads as well. I believe that most people will still buy the book. In fact, for University courses this is a plus, Professors can check out the book without having to order a desk copy and then decide on the book. Most students will still buy the book–it would still be pretty expensive to print off a 300 page book. It’s a win-win, especially for younger scholars such as myself who have little reputation to go on.

Link via Open Access Anthropology.

Magnetoreception in animals

May 8, 2008

Arunn at nOnoscience has a very interesting post about magnetoreception in animals. He begins his post with a cat story:

You step out of the house on an important errand, and a cat crosses your path; you (are made to) promptly stop, turn around and get back into home. You wait for sufficient time inside your home, drinking a cup of water before some one elderly checks the road and prompts when everything is auspicious again for you to get back on the road.

The “reasons” for considering cat crossing your path as a bad omen are many, with new ones given on the spur everyday. Let me give here the “scientific” one given to me some years back. It goes like this: Cats sense magnetic fields and since they do, they should be magnetic or at least capable of influencing magnetic fields. So, when they cross in front of you, cats influence the local geomagnetic field, which in turn manifest as a bad omen for you.

Then goes on to describe some interesting sensory biology research. And, ends with the good news, namely, unless the cat is moving real fast, you are in good shape 🙂

Assuming that cats possess such electroreceptive organs (which is yet to be established) like sharks with similar electric thresholds (highly unlikely) and their 2 miles/hour travel speed, cats crossing my path should do so at about a meter per second.

An interesting piece; take a look!