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Re: Need to promote open access

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  • Chris Weimer
    Open access (or Open Source in some circles) is especially critical in ANE and related studies where the discovery of an inscription or pottery shard forces us
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 16, 2006
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      Open access (or Open Source in some circles) is especially critical in
      ANE and related studies where the discovery of an inscription or
      pottery shard forces us to re-evaluate our entire understanding of
      what happened. It is crucial for us to support this, for the
      betterment of all archaeologists and historians, but for all of mankind.

      Chris Weimer
    • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
      To: ANE-2 On: Open Access From: Bruce Open access is one of those ideas that sounds great, like motherhood, but like motherhood, there are some problems in
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 17, 2006
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        To: ANE-2
        On: Open Access
        From: Bruce

        Open access is one of those ideas that sounds great, like motherhood, but like
        motherhood, there are some problems in practice. I mention a couple that occur
        to me, in hope of comment and clarification from those better acquainted.

        1. Discipline. So far, activity on the "open access" frontier is apparently
        confined to the sciences. The developing nations seem to be willing to wait
        indefinitely for the latest on Shakespeare, or for that matter, on Gilgamesh.
        Are there current exceptions?

        2. Money. Open access means that somebody else pays. Has a funding pattern
        emerged so far? Who is behind the money, and what is their agenda, including
        their list of people not to offend?

        3. Printout. Open access journals should in fact be printable out. I can do
        that with a test article from the Public Library of Sciences, but I don't find
        that the Indian Academy of Sciences journal Proceedings (Mathematical
        Sciences) prints out satisfactorily. Probably a case of lousy web design
        (frames), but lousy web design is incompatible with the basic concept, and
        somebody should catch it before it goes too far.

        4. Prestige. At present, online publication is limbo publication, whether for
        books or articles, and it thus severely disables those without academic
        tenure. So far, I see no real trend in a different direction. The fluidity of
        any online text (the good side of which is that the Indian Academy of Sciences
        can still catch up with its proofreading), and the tenuousness of electronic
        media as such, are probably the chief reasons for this. I don't see this
        prestige cost to authors as going away anytime soon. Does anyone?

        5. Double Publishing. The forwarded message mentioned that a scientist (and
        let's also think of the humanistic sciences) "can publish in any journal but
        places the full text in an interoperable public access archive." Doing so
        would void the monopoly of the standard too expensive journals, and I imagine
        any author doing so (with, say, an article published in an Elsevier journal)
        would provoke a hostile reaction from the publisher. Does anyone have
        experience with this angle?

        6. Typography. The Internet is the medium of most open access plans, and the
        Internet is not hospitable to fancy symbols. Math is already a problem, and
        then we have linguistic diacritics. PDF is supposed to be a solution in the
        humanities, and I suppose the long download time for PDF is reasonable given
        the free access (free to those with $1,500 computer plus printer plus online
        access platforms). Has anybody found a better medium? As one about to launch a
        journal in "Chinese and Comparative Philology," I would be more than casually
        interested to know.

        E Bruce Brooks
        Warring States Project
        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      • Niels Peter Lemche
        Well, Isn t it time to limit this discussion to our field? How relevant is it to ANE studies? What do we have, and can we get? As editor of an international
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 17, 2006
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          Well,

          Isn't it time to limit this discussion to our field? How relevant is it to ANE studies? What do we have, and can we get?

          As editor of an international journal, SJOT (the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament), I am linked to a major publishing house -- Taylor & Francis. This is business but it is also ensuring that things published here are easily available worldwide (or should be).

          SJOT is published in two versions, a traditional paper one, and an electronic one. It demands subscription. A lot of other journals follow the same tendency.

          As I see it, the possibility would be to have paper versions and electronic versions of books and journals. My generation will normally ask for the paper version, but will it necessarily always be like that?

          Young people download music from the internet, also from legal sources. More and more they don't care for CD- or DVD-versions.

          So my question will no be to get this back to ANE: What do we have (ABZU is probably the best source of information and resources available)? Is it good enough, and how can we do it better. Jim Spinti from Eisenbrauns must have something to say here.

          At the end it boils down to money. ANE scholars are generally not related to Croesus, and printed books and journals in our field are expensive (apart from for some unknown reason Eisenbrauns and a couple of other N. American publishers). Some journals have special prices for institutions -- but neither are they generally well funded, so it will soon become a dead end. Central libraries (like our Royal one) more and more go for electronic publishing.

          A fine beginning would be to have elderly literature available electronically. ETANA at ABZU has some, but simply to be able to access from one's computer say everything before 1950 would be great. The fee could be reduced to almost nothing -- covering the expenditures.

          Same with journals. Personally I have everything related to SJOT in an electronic form. Not all is available through Taylor & Francis, but it could be made available.

          But back to the beginning: What do we need and how do we get it?

          Niels Peter Lemche



          -----Oprindelig meddelelse-----
          Fra: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] På vegne af brooks@...
          Sendt: 17. juli 2006 17:16
          Til: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
          Emne: Re: [ANE-2] Need to promote open access


          To: ANE-2
          On: Open Access
          From: Bruce

          Open access is one of those ideas that sounds great, like motherhood, but like
          motherhood, there are some problems in practice. I mention a couple that occur
          to me, in hope of comment and clarification from those better acquainted.

          1. Discipline. So far, activity on the "open access" frontier is apparently
          confined to the sciences. The developing nations seem to be willing to wait
          indefinitely for the latest on Shakespeare, or for that matter, on Gilgamesh.
          Are there current exceptions?

          2. Money. Open access means that somebody else pays. Has a funding pattern
          emerged so far? Who is behind the money, and what is their agenda, including
          their list of people not to offend?

          3. Printout. Open access journals should in fact be printable out. I can do
          that with a test article from the Public Library of Sciences, but I don't find
          that the Indian Academy of Sciences journal Proceedings (Mathematical
          Sciences) prints out satisfactorily. Probably a case of lousy web design
          (frames), but lousy web design is incompatible with the basic concept, and
          somebody should catch it before it goes too far.

          4. Prestige. At present, online publication is limbo publication, whether for
          books or articles, and it thus severely disables those without academic
          tenure. So far, I see no real trend in a different direction. The fluidity of
          any online text (the good side of which is that the Indian Academy of Sciences
          can still catch up with its proofreading), and the tenuousness of electronic
          media as such, are probably the chief reasons for this. I don't see this
          prestige cost to authors as going away anytime soon. Does anyone?

          5. Double Publishing. The forwarded message mentioned that a scientist (and
          let's also think of the humanistic sciences) "can publish in any journal but
          places the full text in an interoperable public access archive." Doing so
          would void the monopoly of the standard too expensive journals, and I imagine
          any author doing so (with, say, an article published in an Elsevier journal)
          would provoke a hostile reaction from the publisher. Does anyone have
          experience with this angle?

          6. Typography. The Internet is the medium of most open access plans, and the
          Internet is not hospitable to fancy symbols. Math is already a problem, and
          then we have linguistic diacritics. PDF is supposed to be a solution in the
          humanities, and I suppose the long download time for PDF is reasonable given
          the free access (free to those with $1,500 computer plus printer plus online
          access platforms). Has anybody found a better medium? As one about to launch a
          journal in "Chinese and Comparative Philology," I would be more than casually
          interested to know.

          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst








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        • Chris Bennett
          Ancient Near East 2 ... From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com Posted by: Niels Peter Lemche npl@teol.ku.dk nplemche Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:57 am (PST) SJOT is published
          Message 4 of 5 , Jul 17, 2006
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            Ancient Near East 2
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Posted by: "Niels Peter Lemche" npl@... nplemche
            Mon Jul 17, 2006 8:57 am (PST)

            SJOT is published in two versions, a traditional paper one, and an electronic one. It demands subscription. A lot of other journals follow the same tendency.

            As I see it, the possibility would be to have paper versions and electronic versions of books and journals. <snip>
            At the end it boils down to money. ANE scholars are generally not related to Croesus, and printed books and journals in our field are expensive (apart from for some unknown reason Eisenbrauns and a couple of other N. American publishers). Some journals have special prices for institutions -- but neither are they generally well funded, so it will soon become a dead end. Central libraries (like our Royal one) more and more go for electronic publishing.

            A fine beginning would be to have elderly literature available electronically. ETANA at ABZU has some, but simply to be able to access from one's computer say everything before 1950 would be great. The fee could be reduced to almost nothing -- covering the expenditures.

            --------

            >> I completely agree with this, ANE is a field where papers that are years or even over a century old still have real utility. In addition to ETANA, BIFAO has put its archives up to 1980 online for free, and ZPE is also available from free for 1980-2000. The Oriental Institute Press has recently put up some just-published monographs online for free, which is truly a noble gesture.

            I also think that its not unreasonable to be asked to pay a small amount for access to more recent publications. The problem right now is that the business model for electronic publication is insane. Most academic journals seem to be applying their print business model (which is based on sales to libraries) to their electronic editions. The result is that the charges for access to electronic copies of recent publications are utterly extortionate, working out at $1 a page or more. When the competition for the pocket of the individual user is the cost of making a photocopy -- typically 5-10 cents a page -- there is no reason on earth to buy the online copy, if you can access a library, and usually no ability to buy it if you can't. Such costs are especially outrageous when one considers that there is essentially no material cost involved to the publisher and that none of this money goes back to the author or his/her institution.

            Until publishers can persuade themselves to publish material online at reasonable prices, I don;t see electronic publication living up to its potential.

            Chris Bennett

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