Despite the high educational value that exists when tomes of writing are dedicated to very specific areas, textbooks are often no longer treated like the powerhouses of knowledge that they were once known to be. Especially given the plethora of other mediums over which that knowledge is now available – journal articles, niche websites, blogs, podcasts, online forums, social media, etc. The reasons for this are of course varied. In a fast evolving field like intellectual property, classic textbooks may simply not have sufficiently up-to-date or relevant material, whereas blogs and the like, can get in-depth views out on new developments within days. Several of these online mediums also come with the added advantage of being easier to understand, more easily available, and include disability-friendly options of accessing the material. However, one of the biggest factors for preferring non-textbook options is simply, and unfortunately, that of price. While students may now have unencumbered access to course-packs (compilations of prescribed portions) thanks to the DU Photocopy case, textbooks are still frequently a price issue for many students. And unfortunately, good and well stocked libraries are still few and far-between. While Indian IP books may sometimes be priced on the higher end – if a student (or, anyone really) needs a reference book on foreign IP law – its pretty much guaranteed that the only legal means that the student has available will be that of seeing what the google gods grant them!
The Open Access movement, thankfully, has led to some hope on this front. A few years ago, Vasundhara had carried a post mentioning a few titles. We’re very happy to now say we’ve compiled a whole list of Open Access IP Books! There are currently more than 50 books listed there, and this page will continue to be periodically updated. Unfortunately, very few of these deal directly with Indian IP law – though readers who aren’t fussy about ‘books’ as the medium may have a lot more luck searching through the Digital Library of India’s database. And the Hathi Trust Digital Library is another amazing resource that tends to have more scholarly content than others, though this is not specifically focused on Indian content. And as most readers interested in this area might know – its always worth taking a look at the Internet Archive. Nonetheless, this list will still hopefully have a bit of something for everyone. Do take a look and let us know. It’s also definitely worth mentioning at this point, that the MHRD’s e-PG-Pathshala website has open courses on Intellectual Property (from an Indian standpoint) and can be a very useful resource as well. You can access it over here: e-PG Pathshala.
While we were at it, we also went ahead and created a list of non-Open Access IP Books. If nothing else, this will hopefully serve as an index of IP books to consider for when one wants to research upon a particular IP topic.
Publishing in Open Access format – not has hard as one might think
Given the very low numbers of Open Access books on Indian IP – it is also worth mentioning that it is not as difficult as it may seem for professors / academic authors to publish in Open Access formats. As readers will note from the Open Access IP Books list, there are a number of publishers who are open to this. However, some of the bigger publishers require a very hefty fee for authors wishing to take the Open Access route. Nonetheless, unfunded authors too can take the Open Access route if they wish, such as through Open Book Publishers, or some of the various university publishing houses. Authors who may be considering this route may find this guide from OBP useful in understanding the process and steps involved. Similarly, Virginia Tech has put together a guide on Open Access Textbook publishing, and so has the Foster Open Science website, including a few options of publishing houses. Law professors in particular should note that Harvard has an H20 platform that anyone can use to create Open Case Books.
Are there more Open Access textbooks or libraries that cater to scholarly works (books) that you know of? Do let us know in the comments below. And in the mean time, we’ll aim towards putting together a similar list of non-textbook resources some time in the near future as well!
A recap of the important links in this post:
- IP Books – Open Access list
- IP Books – Non Open Access list
- Digital Library of India
- Hathi Trust Digital Library
- Internet Archive
- e-PG Pathshala
- Open Book Publishers
- OBP’s “An Academics Guide to Open Access Publishing“
- Virginia Tech’s “Open Education: Open Textbook Authoring and Editing“
- Foster Open Science’s guide on Open Access Publishing
- Harvard’s H20 OpenCaseBooks platform