(23 Aug 2022) The author of a popular organic chemistry textbook is making it freely available to students after learning about a loophole in his copyright agreement with the publisher. John McMurry’s Organic Chemistry has been one of the best selling chemistry textbooks since it was first printed in 1984. Under his agreement with Cengage Learning, the book’s publisher, McMurry realised he could ask for the book’s copyright to be returned to him 30 years after it was first printed. Without copyright of the first edition, the publisher is unable to produce any more new editions, McMurry notes.
Now McMurry is writing the book’s tenth edition, releasing it for free next summer on OpenStax, an educational technology nonprofit run out of Rice University, US. The book’s ninth, 2015, edition is currently sold for around £70 in the UK and $80 in the US. The upcoming edition – and likely any future editions – will be freely available worldwide as digital download.
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