Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources

Announcing Construction Contracting, second edition: A Rights-Reversion Project

by Anita Walz, posted on August 30, 2022

The Open Education Initiative at the University Libraries at Virginia Tech is pleased to announce Construction Contracting: Business and Legal Principles, Second Edition by Stewart H. Bartholomew as a CC BY NC-SA 4.0 open textbook. Construction Contracting is the third rights reversion project undertaken by the Open Education Initiative.


Construction Contracting: Business and Legal Principles, Second Edition by Stuart H. Bartholomew is a 400+ page university-level introduction to construction contracting as it applies to typical, every-day situations. It explains “theoretical” ideas in terms of what really happens in practice, and emphasizes the more common case law holdings and industry customs that help avoid troublesome legal issues during the completion of a project. 

The text is freely available in PDF and online in Pressbooks. Instructors reviewing or adopting this book for a course are encouraged to report their interest at: 

The book is released with permission of the Bartholomew Estate by the University Libraries at Virginia Tech under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 international license. Rights were reverted from the previous publisher to the estate prior to Virginia Tech’s agreement with the Estate. The book was previously published by Pearson Education, Inc. under their Prentice Hall imprint in 2002 (ISBN: 1-13-091055-4) Any derivatives of this work must comply with the requirements of the Creative Commons license and include the following statement, “This material was previously published by Pearson Education, Inc.”

The Open Education Initiative at the University Libraries at Virginia Tech is grateful to the Estate of Mr. Bartholomew for their willingness to pursue rights-reversion of the book and permission to release it under a CC BY NC-SA 4.0 license.


Rights reversion — when copyrights are returned to the original author(s).

Why are the University Libraries involved in Rights Reversion?

The Open Education Initiative (OEI) supports and advocates for faculty to select materials that best fit their students’ needs. Faculty members contact the University Libraries when they realize there will not be enough copies of their selected book for a course. The Office of Scholarly Communication (the unit in which the Open Education Initiative resides) explores options for continued use in a course and determines whether a book is indeed out of print. Most out of print books are the result of publishers deciding that a book is no longer in their scope or no longer profitable to them. While fair-use digitization and very limited sharing of portions of books are options, they are limited, short-term and local options. Using copyright-related tools such as rights reversion, open access publishing processes including open licenses, and the equipment and services of the University Libraries we can provide public access and openly-licensed versions which not only aid students and faculty, but are helpful for students and faculty from other educational institutions as well as the general public.

As many authors sign away their copyrights at the point of publication, rights reversion is necessary for those authors who wish publish open access via a different publisher. Rights reversion can happen in three main ways: First, automatic rights reversion occurs when the terms of a publication agreement with a rights reversion clause is operationalized. (For this reason, we encourage authors to negotiate for a rights reversion clause before signing a publication agreement. We also encourage authors to retain copies of their publication agreements.) Second, for published works that are at least 25 years old and published in the U.S. after January 1, 1978, authors/heirs may be eligible for termination of transfer of copyrights. And third, also the option leveraged for Construction Contracting, the author or estate may contact the publisher to request and obtain rights reversion. (This helpful guide from Author’s Alliance provides further information, tools, and templates for authors and estates.) 

The Open Education Initiative cannot legally represent authors or estates. However, we are happy to advise on strategies for authors and estates approaching a publisher when the author/estate is planning to release rights-reverted works freely and publicly under an open license.

Why do Authors or Estates Choose Rights Reversion, then Open Access publishing?

Most authors are interested in reaching new audiences and extending the availability of their works. This is especially true when a work, even though published years ago, has recognized value in the eyes of a subject matter expert such as a professor who wishes to use it as course material. In the case of the estate of an author, making a work freely and publicly available can further acknowledge and enhance an author’s legacy and is ultimately a way of honoring their loved one. One estate representative has said, “this is what he would have wanted,” which makes the free access and sharing especially meaningful for friends and family.

What is Involved in Moving from Out-of-Print to Open Educational Resource?

In the case of Construction Contracting this project involved the author’s estate, the former publisher of the work, and university libraries’ open education initiative. The OEI coached the estate (who obtained external legal counsel) regarding approaching the publisher. The open education initiative worked with university legal counsel and the estate on a publication agreement. The OEI worked with the Libraries’ Technical Services Department to create a scanned and OCRed version of the textbook, handled re-creation of all of the graphics including a new cover, typeset and formatted the book in Pressbooks and for PDF with attention to enabling accessibility for readers who use screen readers, conducted multiple rounds of proofreading, including proofreading rounds with the Virginia Tech professor who plans to use the book in his course, and arranged to share the PDF through the University Libraries’ Institutional Repository, VTechWorks. 

About the Author of Construction Contracting

Stuart “Bart” Bartholomew (1925-2013) joined the Navy as an engineer after enrolling at NROTC programs at the University of Washington. He earned bachelors and master’s degrees in civil engineering from UC Berkeley and made his post-Navy civilian career in heavy industry. He worked for legendary dam builder, Harvey Slocum on Bull Shoals Dam in Arkansas; Bhakra Dam in Punjab, India; Karnaphuli Dam in Bangladesh; port and rail facilities in Port Hedland, Western Australia; several segments of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in San Francisco and the East Bay; and numerous marine, bridge, transportation and tunneling projects in the Midwest and on the East Coast.

He joined Fruin-Colnon Corporation, becoming a vice president and member of the board of directors before his retirement in the early 1980s. He was a Fellow and Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of both the Moles and Beavers heavy engineering construction associations for over 25 years and was honored by the Beavers with the annual Engineering Award for outstanding achievement in Heavy Engineering Construction. After retirement from industry he pursued a second career as a professor of Construction Management at California State University, Chico, during which time he wrote Construction Contracting.

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