As Chairman of the National Science Board, President Emeritus of the
University, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Ray Bowen is
one of Texas A&M’s most distinguished faculty members. Based on usage statistics from the Digital Repository,
he is also one of the most downloaded. President Bowen’s textbooks,
Introduction to Vectors and Tensors and Introduction to Continuum
Mechanics for Engineers are the most frequently viewed items in the
Texas A&M Repository. Every month, each of these titles garners
several hundred downloads from around the world.
It is no surprise to President Bowen that his textbooks, written some 30 years ago, are enjoying worldwide popularity today. He placed them in the Texas A&M Repository for that very reason. After discovering that his widely used two-volume textbook, Introduction to Vectors and Tensors, was out of print and no longer available to interested readers, he began the process of digitally republishing it. He reacquired the rights to the volumes from the original publisher, Plenum Press, and converted each one to digital format.
President Bowen was pleased to discover the Texas A&M Repository as a natural solution for digitally republishing his books. Once deposited in the system for free online access, the two volumes were quickly discovered by Google and other search engines and accessed by scores of appreciative users. Aside from use in his own classes taught at Texas A&M, the book has appeared in syllabi from numerous courses at universities elsewhere in the US. The success of this first ‘experiment’ led the author to also republish another of his books, Introduction to Continuum Mechanics for Engineers, online in the Repository. President Bowen’s books can be seen online at: http://repository.tamu.edu/handle/1969.1/2500
In 2009, Dover Publications approached President Bowen about a new printing of Introduction to Vectors and Tensors. The author agreed, but insisted that the book remain available freely in the Texas A&M Repository alongside the new printed addition. Students and other potential readers are now able to choose between a freely available electronic copy of the book, or a low cost printed copy for use.
President Bowen’s digital republishing project demonstrates the power of the Texas A&M Repository to make academic and scholarly works more readily available to interested readers, and to find new generations of users unfamiliar with the older printed versions. In this way, Texas A&M authors can extend the reach and impact of their works while advancing Open Access as a practical and powerful alternative to traditional book publishing.
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